Friday, June 26, 2009

The Leaving of Liverpool

I went to Liverpool today to be a panellist on a debate about the direction the city is going in. The chairman and host was Frank McKenna of Downtown Liverpool in Business (pictured, tieless) and a man with the eye on the prize of being Mayor of Liverpool one day. The debate was recorded and will be broadcast on CityTalk radio soon.

My role in proceedings, I suspect, was to be the gobby Manc who dares to criticise the dignity of This Great City of Ours. Anyway, I have a bit of a thing at the moment about Manchester's complacency and a crisis of confidence. So to hear people in Leeds and Liverpool spend so much energy worrying about "that lot down the M62" seems strange. Odd isn't it, how internal and exernal perceptions can differ so widely?

I also like the Scouse spirit and am not overly given to sneering Manc superiority - not actually being a Manc and all that - so they should have booked Terry Christian if that's what they wanted.

Anyway, I've been so busy rushing to get home through mad traffic, and enjoying curry, beer, kids, Twitter banter and warm weather, I've only just thought about the debate. I managed to say most of the above, and get away with saying - "get your chip off your shoulder" - and not get chucked down the fire escape. I also suggested a single stadium for Everton and Liverpool would be a potent symbol of the city's cultural maturity - adding, "and those Everton fans who say they refuse to share a purple seat with Doctor Fun should grow up."

There seemed to be a consensus that the European Capital of Culture year in 2008 was about the city feeling good about itself, but with little culture and hardly anything European. Unless anyone from the national media (or Manchester) says that, to which the response is that it was a terrific success. It feels like a great big Scouse wedding. Now they're having the scrap in the car park afterwards.

I also seem to remember predicting during the discussion that the Conservatives won't win the next election outright. I think I ought to expand on that sometime soon, but I'm tired and want to listen to some gentle music as I wait for my woman of the hearthfire to return from her girls night out in Burnley.

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