The Great Manchester Debate


Manchester, so much to answer for. That’s what Morrissey said, and, for the second time in recent weeks, The Daily Mail too.
Much to The Guardian and Manchester Confidential’s displeasure. But first let’s start from the beginning.
The aforementioned right-leaning publication had a bash at Manchester City Council over plans to close leisure and other public facilities, while refusing to axe high paid public sector positions. Then that local lifestyle website we namechecked responded by picking apart the rather spurious points made in the initial argument.
The very same paper also renewed its anti-BBC moving to Glasgow and Salford stance, by reporting through gritted teeth on the £1billion moving programme, to be paid for by license holders. This was met by a piece in The Guardian defending the move, which made some worthy comments, including the fact that the relocation cost quoted above was actually spread over a 20 year period, and the same facility in London would in fact prove more expensive.
But it would say that, because the response piece was written by Mark Thompson, Director-General of the BBC. Still, we think the northern expansion can only be a good thing. The British media needs to start recognising there are burgeoning creative economies outside the M25, and there’s even the potential to reduce outgoings considering  the cost of living, wages and rents ‘up here’.
Political motivation is afoot all over the country right now, and nowhere more so than in the stories surrounding the country’s second economic city. Cameron and the Coalition say the cuts Manchester City Council recently announced go over and beyond what is required, claiming the local authority is acting in an attempt to demonise its Government.
In contrast, the representatives of Mancunia say what they are proposing is necessary in order to efficiently, and effectively get spending back to where it needs to be. Funny how two seemingly unconnected stories can be linked so easily. Whether you’re a hardcore conspiracy theorist or not, it’s hard not to believe there would be no renewed furore from the Tory-friendly paper over the broadcaster’s move, if it weren’t concerning an organisation the Conservatives are non to fond of, and a sub-region widely regarded as a Labour stronghold.
That’s not to say we’re foolish, though. To believe Manchester City Council’s each and every word is probably not the best idea anyone’s ever had, so we keep our distance. But from our point of view these two subjects should be kept separate. Big bucks for public employees and deep cuts to services never makes good reading, but neither does a media obsessed with just one place. Factor in the creation of new jobs, and it would be nice to think people could concentrate on the positive aspects of this momentous move out of London.
Image (C) Doug Johnston