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Manchester Today - State Of The City

Jonathan Schofield ponders where the city and region stands as 2015 dawns

Written by . Published on December 29th 2014.


Manchester Today - State Of The City
 

One party state

Politics in Manchester has never been so meaningless and so important.

In May 2014 council election results gave the Labour Party in Manchester all the seats in the council chamber, all 96. It seems, as the expression goes, if you put a red rosette on a monkey in the city it’ll be elected. So if a Labour victory is inevitable why bother voting? Surely politics has become meaningless in the city?

It's ugly in some ways this mono-system, but it seems effective. 

In November 2014, the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced he was going to devolve powers to Greater Manchester Combined Authority. So in 2017 elections will be held for a regional mayor on the London model taking in the whole metropolitan area of 2.7m people. Decisions will soon be taken at a macro level on transport, planning, housing, skills, training and policing rather than piecemeal within the jigsaw of local authorities.

Politics is reborn, but at a more rational regional level.

This is probably the biggest political news regionally since before WWII. As Sir Richard Leese, the Manchester council leader, said: “Greater Manchester has been in the vanguard of the national devolution debate. It was clear that an over-centralised national system was not delivering the best results for our people or our economy. We are extremely pleased that we can now demonstrate what a city region with greater freedoms can achieve and contribute further to the growth of the UK.”Neil Dimelow's graphic view north east from City Tower

Neil Dimelow's graphic view north east from City Tower

Greater Manchester has been singled out for this treatment ahead of other cities because the government clearly believes it has demonstrated a willingness to pull together and show vision.

This is partly down to that one party security of tenure in the main administration of the region. With an overwhelming council majority and now a complete redwash of seats, the administration of the city of Manchester can make long term strategic decisions without fear of them being overturned because no other party will replace Labour. It's ugly in terms of democracy this mono-system, but it seems effective. 

It's the economy, stupid

There was more good news from the government in 2014 with again the Chancellor referring to Manchester as the centre of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ and grand talk of HS2 and HS3. These are, of course, the proposed high speed rail links between, respectively, Manchester and London, and across the north through Manchester.

Hiph speeding through the crowd

High speeding through the crowd

Private enterprise has joined the mood of probable post-recession buoyancy with major city centre schemes such as Allied London’s St John’s Quarter and the Cooperative’s NOMA and on Deansgate. In the south of the city the proposed Airport City was given a boost when during a trade mission to China a partnership worth £800m was announced with Beijing Construction Engineering Group set to create 16,000 jobs. Meanwhile local developer Peel Group has delivered schemes such as MediaCityUK bringing more than 2,000 BBC jobs to Greater Manchester. Conventions and exhibitions at Manchester Central have performed well in the same period and look set for growth. 

One element of investment has surprised everybody; that of a football club. Not only has Manchester City, through the Anglo-Arabic holding company, Abu Dhabi United Group, set about winning trophies and extending the stadium to more than 62,000 seats but also built a ‘campus’ linked to the main Etihad stadium worth more than £200m with its own 7,000 capacity reserve ground, sixteen pitches, an accommodation block and a sixth-form College.

Abu Dhabi United then announced a £1bn partnership with Manchester City Council to build 6,000 homes for rent between the city centre and the Etihad Stadium. Jaws dropped. Never has a football club moved so far from its core activity.

Higher education and health care has pumped millions of pounds into the economy too. By the end of 2015 the so-called ‘knowledge corridor’ along Oxford Road made up of the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and other institutions, such as the hospitals, seem set to bring in £400m of investment, providing scientific, health, educational and cultural facilities. These will include the National Graphene Institute worth £61m. The world’s thinnest material bringing fat material gains.

Then as the year fizzled out the £235m longest title anywhere for an institution arrived with the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials Research and Innovation creating a headquarters in the city.

Whitworth Hall - University of Manchester

 

Whitworth Hall - University of Manchester

At the same time Manchester City Council and Spinningfields developer Allied London unveiled plans for The Factory Manchester - a new £78m arts space in the former Granada Studios. In the first half of 2015 the culture chasing classes will gain HOME at the cost of £25m. 

All good news - resulting in Manchester’s ranking in the top sixteen of European cities in which to start a business and to live, one of the few non-capital cities in the top twenty. On radio shows there are debates about why Manchester feels like it is the second city when technically that's Birmingham. 

The Factory

 

The Factory

It's society, stupid

The positives have to be viewed with the negatives: the awful, bleak, shocking, seemingly intractable negatives. The evident progress and wealth can mask the desperate conditions, particularly in the north and east of the City of Manchester and in large areas of the other Greater Manchester boroughs.

There are hundreds of thousands of people, established residents and recent immigrants, who feel excluded from any upswing in the economy, trapped in areas with some of the worst indices of health, well-being and employment in the country and across Northern Europe. 

Len Grant's feature 'Her first year' about a low income family featured here

Len Grant's feature 'Her first year' about a low income family was featured here on Manchester Confidential

By many measures the City of Manchester is the 4th most deprived local council in England – a situation not helped by the city falling victim to some of the harshest funding cuts as the government attempts to balance the UK books. If predictions of the loss of another 600 jobs in the City of Manchester are borne out, then levels of privation will only rise. 

Education, training, skills surely are the key here. This is, as has been stated by local leaders, one of the objectives of devolved powers so instead of 'an over-centralised national model – imposing ‘one size fits all’ – there's greater local control over certain budgets and powers'. It seems clear that when the money is released it's within training and skills much of it should go.

Something has gone deeply wrong, not just in Greater Manchester of course, but across the country, with a widening sense of us and the very excluded them.  

A few years ago I conducted a free tour from Harpurhey as part of programme of events tied to a city centre exhibition. The coach was filled with local residents from 20-70 years-of-age. The tour covered the central areas of the conurbation.

Nobody - not a single guest - on the coach had been to The Quays, the University area, Chorlton, Didsbury (although I doubt whether many of the latter suburbs' residents have ever been to Harpurhey), Fletcher Moss Gardens, Rusholme, Sportscity or indeed much of the city centre such as Chinatown, the King Street area or the Castlefield basin.

Their Manchester lives seemed to revolve around seven streets close to their homes, Manchester Arndale and Piccadilly Gardens. They made occasional jaunts to the airports for Med resorts. As one of the group said as we finished the tour, "I had no idea my city was so big. I feel stupid now. I didn't realise it could be so grand."

I felt humbled but I also felt angry. Why aren't people's eyes open to the city and what it offers? What keeps them closed to the opportunities available?

Why did a person from another deprived area say this to me in November when I talked about the HOME arts centre? "But it's always the same, these places aren't for us. They'll have programmes to get us in and schools will go and they'll try their best, but it'll be condescending and we won't go back 'cause there'll be nothing for us."

I asked the same person whether they'd be voting in any Elected Mayor ballot in 2017. The reply was a sarcastic laugh, an expression of almost an active nihilism, a scoffing sort of deliberate self-exclusion probably fed by idiot vox-pops saying all politics is lies and politicians are in it for themselves. These dangerous distortions are creating a vacuum extremist parties are trying to fill.

From Collyhurst, Manchester city centre can seem much further than a mile

From Collyhurst, Manchester city centre can seem much further than a mile

The fault lies both ways of course.

Schools, local authorities can only do so much, if people lock themselves into narrow lives despite all attempts at opening their eyes then what can anyone do? But education and skills if they lead to jobs, work, pride, spare money, changes all that. It pries eyes open. That this is a commonplace doesn't make it any less true: jobs, economic growth, is the path to improvement. 

Immigration is important too especially for the inner suburbs. Immigrants driven with the desire to succeed add energy to an area. Nobody who has looked at the development of cities can fail to understand the importance of new blood, new ideas. Inward looking cities decline history tells us. 

What is reassurring is that throughout the areas with the highest level of unemployment there are people who stay and battle on, lift spirits, help out, who are not nihilistic. The good souls behind the Moston Miners Community Arts and Music Centre with its small cinema are representive of these. There are thousands of these people across the region. 

But there's a long way to go before we have a more equal society. It’s typical of this contrary region, that while unemployment rates in the city are stuck around 11% (regionally 8%), Greater Manchester is said to be home to more multi-millionaires than anywhere outside London. Occasionally it seems the divide between rich, comfortable and poor is as wide as it was in the 19th century, although the experience of poverty might be very different.

A few kilometres south west of the city of Manchester is the Tatton constituency which records the highest average UK income outside the south-east.

Let's hope the spin-off from advanced material and graphene projects, the hospital schemes, even maybe the prestige given to the city by cultural projects such as The Factory, MediaCityUK and HOME help drag investment to the poorest areas. Let's hope the infrastructure changes do the same. Crossed fingers and all that.

Decay still characterises many inner suburbs

Decay still characterises many inner suburbs

Regained Confidence

Bad and good. Good and bad. Isn't that just cities?

Yet there is much still to praise in Manchester as it enters 2015, there is much to be positive and optimistic about. The city has changed hugely, especially in its central areas, especially in its confidence - although we have to look at a longer period than the last twelve months to appreciate this. It's even changed for the better, physically, in many of the suburbs although the effect has been much less even.

Clever initiatives such as Manchester International Festival (MIF) have helped morale and image. This is an undoubted success story, a biennial showpiece of new ideas in the arts that has made headlines and got heads turning across the country and the world. 

A walk across the city centre today reveals a city more open and accessible and enlivened with new buildings and squares. Despite some people - often ranting on Confidential - who can't see what is palpably before their eyes, the city centre is a cracking place to stroll, look up, look around, eat and drink, visit theatres, galleries, libraries and museums.

Walking the modern city

Walking the modern city

We might smirk at the first line here, but as Max Davidson wrote in 2010 in the Daily Telegraph: 'Because Manchester has never blown its own trumpet, it has never featured prominently on the tourist map of Europe. If Manchester were in France or Germany, we would visit it in droves. In fact, in many ways, it is the perfect city-break destination: accessible, reasonably compact, but blessed with a bewildering variety of attractions. Architecturally, Manchester is a mess, but a glorious mess. Get on the next train.'

In terms of on-street activity the city centre is becoming more and more the regional leisure destination, more festivals, more markets, more everything; activity coalescing in the city centre just as it should. Hotel occupancy is up. 

Manchester Day 2014

 

Manchester Day 2014

Nor should the rise and rise of the blessed trinity of Chorlton, West Didsbury and Didsbury be overlooked. It'd be very welcome if one of the North Manchester suburbs - it should be Prestwich but maybe it's too strung out geographically - could start to show similar movement.

Another fairly recent report stated, ‘Manchester has been at the cutting edge of innovation over the last years. It is a model for a city with a great past, combining traditional and revolutionary architecture, giving its citizens a fine and stimulating environment for work and leisure.’

As discussed above these words need to apply to many more of its citizens before Manchester and Greater Manchester can take things for granted, but the underlying confidence is welcome with public and private sectors demonstrating the ability to work together. The remarkable announcements of the last few months have bolstered this. As always this city is better when it attempts to live up to the expansionist liberal tradition that made it one of the global players.

Back to politics. Within the city the council needs to be careful it doesn't become too high-handed, too know-it-all. The scathing and stupid way it has dealt with the Library Walk protest, its blindness to the errors of the Piccadilly Gardens redevelopment, the obstinacy of some aspects of transport policy, shows there can be closed thinking and a resistance to accept criticism: typical behaviour of the One Party State.

Meanwhile in the suburbs with high levels of immigration Labour will have to watch out for resentment over that sense of exclusion expressing itself in support for the dangerous UKIP. 

Brian Katz is the darling of urbanists at present and has lectured in Manchester. He is the author of The Metropolitan Revolution and boss of an American think tank focussed on cities. His mantra is that 'metropolitan areas know themselves better than anyone and the key to making stuff happen is private-civic partnerships delivering key infrastructure. 'Proximity is key'. In other words, city regions are better than central government in enacting real change locally.

Let's hope in the near-future we'll find out whether proximity delivers and whether a degree of devolved local governance closes the distance between Harpurhey and Didsbury?

As journalist Jim McClellan wrote some years back: 'Manchester’s size makes the social processes more visible. You can see how things are developing. Where they might end is another matter. Perhaps it’ll be the first place to show us whether our new cities work. Manchester, as the Mancs love to tell you, is ahead of the game.'

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+ This article was adapted from one first published in Manchester: The Complete Guide 2015.

It's still hard to make out how things might developIt can be hard to make out how things might develop in Manchester

Striding forwardStriding forward

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92 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

You mention that city dwellers live their whole lives in the city centre. Why not do some none city features. A few I can think of: 1) Chorlton pub crawl 2) Monton & Worsley pub crawl 3) Best independent store of Greater Manchester. 4) Walking tours of some of our districts. I read one on the crescent on here one time and it was ace. But definitely more of Salford, It's on the up right now.

13 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

The only part of Salford 'on the up' as usual is the the BBC concocted Media City. The surrounding areas and suburbs are still poorly and neglected. Salford Precinct is a fine example which should be the starting point of any such regeneration.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Sick of the so predictable jibes at SALFORD....The Shopping City is so very much improved & IMPROVING...Have those who have a go seen Broughton Park, Worsley etc etc? Way BETTER than many places in the ever so favoured SOUTH MANCHESTER.....More tat within the city of Manchester's boundaries than within ours, I feel....

Nick NameDecember 30th 2014.

There's more to Salford than the shopping centre. I'm sure lots of people would swap where they live for a property in Worsley or Monton. If it's good enough for successful multi millionaires then it's good enough for the snippers on here.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

If you think the only part of Salford on the up is media city, then it is clear to me you haven't been here for some time.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Salford is a dump run by an utterly incompetent set of buffoons. The Monton resurgence has had nothing to do with anything that they have done, they have spent sod all on the high Street, when a little investment could make it one of the nicest streets in the area. They have made a complete dogs arse of Chapel Street and the Shopping Precinct must be one of the least desirable places to walk around in Britain. Their only solution to anything seems to be to build supermarkets, Swinton anybody? There is potential for Salford to catch on to the coat tails of Manchester but they are too insular, too much seeing themselves as the victim and too unwilling to try and change things. The derelict land off Regent Road speaks volumes, stand on there and across the river you can see office blocks and apartments. What is Salford doing with that potential area of prime real estate? Yep, building a supermarket...right next to another supermarket. And then there is New Bailey, first building on the river bank ffs is a bloody travel lodge! Right on the river! A riverside bar? A riverside restaurant? Apartments? No, a budget hotel, what a joke. I suppose at least it,s not a supermarket but a bet that was mooted by the planning department.

SquirrelitoJanuary 2nd 2015.

Other than the developments at One Greengate, 101 Embankment, City Suites, Fred Done's Trinity/ Blackfriars scheme, the offices at New Bailey, Adelphi Wharf, The wholescale rebuild of Lower Broughton, Alto, Chapel Wharf, Downtown, Clippers Quay, Middlewood Locks, Wilburn Street Basin, Water St Tower, and the land earmarked for the Ordsall Chord railway line, the latter schemes all on that derelict land by Regent Road, you're absolutely bang on the money. Nothing happening on the Salford side of the river & canal.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Planning departments process planning applications put forward by private developers. If it fits with planning policy, much of which is prescribed by national government then local authorities have little choice but to approve what's put indent of them. People don't realise actually how little influence local councils have to shape development. Only where they own land or are in a position to contribute to development costs do they have much leverage.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Funny how those Mancs who want Salford to be part of Manchester always have to start by insulting people there and telling them they live in a dump.Thats really going to encourage them to want to be part of Manchester which of course does not have a incompetent council or lack of democracy or it's own slum areas.But it has lots big mouths who want to throw insults at rest of areas in Greater Manchester just because Manchester is wealthier and more powerful,something they themselves had nothing to do with.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

By the way the Manchester resurgence had by that argument nothing to do with the council there either.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

There is nobody more insular in Greater Manchester.They are just as ignorant about what is going on in the towns around Manchester as Londoners are of everything North of Watford.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Which towns? And why is it up to Greater Manchester to look after those towns? Do they want to reap the benefits of Manchester, have they proposed things that have been knocked back? Quite an odd comment. And as for Salford, I live there, it's a hole, a world renowned hole, a by word for everything bad about an urban environment.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

You numpty without the two million plus people in the rest of Greater Manchester ALL those nice restaurants and shops you have in Manchester would not survive. By the way when Manchester was a post industrial slum back in the 1980s,with a council almost as mad as the one in Liverpool,the likes of Bury and Bolton and Stockport were far nicer and safer places.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Also anonymous you ask why it necessay for Greater Manchester to look after those towns,which proves you must be very thick,because those towns are Greater Manchester.You know nothing of the rest of the towns in Greater Manchester,I doubt you even know which towns are in Greater Manchester.

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

'Meanwhile local developer Peel Group has delivered schemes such as MediaCityUK bringing more than 2,000 BBC jobs to Greater Manchester.' The relocation of 2,000 public sector jobs from a rich city to a poor one is hardly a measure of success. It demonstrates that the government thought it important to move these jobs to a poor and depressed part of the country. And it was the government behind the move. The BBC would not have volunteered for such a measure in a thousand years, but it has put the necessary brave face on.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

I thought the BBC's then Director-General, Mark Thompson, was behind the move? The BBC is meant to be a "national" broadcasting organisation anyway you know, not "merely" a London one. A statutory corporation with a royal Charter, funded by "British households" and headquartered in London, ALL BECAUSE of the government!

DavidDecember 29th 2014.

Manchester is a one party state but Greater Manchester most definetly is not,and never has been,which is why Osbourne is smart in looking to a regional structure,as it offers a way back for the other parties to break Labour monopoly of power. The trouble with Manchester is that the city council reflects only the will of those who live in the city and at that a minority who vote,and not the many hundreds thousands more who work or shop in the city but live outside in the wider region. Only a paid up member of the Chinese communist Party and Mr Schofield see the merit of the one party state.Plus your inability to criticise the Dear leader Leese,beyond your pet hates of library walks and Piccadilly Gardens.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Devolving more powers over education, training & skills to someone like Sir Dickie (if heaven forbid, he becomes Greater Manchester's new mayor) is a truly frightening prospect. Yes MC & MEN, how about some articles on the generations of Mancunians left uneducated & unemployable, simply because they were doomed into attending "local authority controlled" Manchester schools???

DarrenDecember 30th 2014.

Well all the more reason people use the vote they have to make sure he doesn't get control.

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

A one-party state is where there is no choice. In Manchester there is choice. Therefore it's not a one-party state; it's simply that since the ConDem coalition formed no party other than Labour has attracted sufficient votes to be elected under the current system. This is probably only a temporary situation.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidDecember 29th 2014.

Your analysis fails to explain why Labour was practically as dominant even before the ConDem government.Its got absolutely nothing to do with that. A city with only Labout councillors fails to reflect at all the many many thousands who don't vote for them at all.It would be the same if it was a council compromising only of Tories,it fails totally to represent the views of people in the city,only the battle interests of one party,whose councillors like Kevin and Joan are totally incapable of acting independently from the interests of Leese and the leadership .

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Local proportional representation is the answer to the lack of democracy in Manchester.

Calum McGDecember 30th 2014.

Which won't ever happen.

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

'Why aren't people's eyes open to the city and what it offers?' TV, the internet, smart phones, online shopping, pound shops, takeaways and benefits. I'd say they were good enough reasons to stay indoors and stay local. Not everyone is interested in great architecture, the arts and dining out and it doesn't mean you're closed minded if you're not interested in those things either.

6 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkDecember 29th 2014.

You sound like a bundle of laughs...

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

I think you'll find that it does....

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

@Rinkydink Sounds like 'Fake Yank v Real Manc' to me. Like...totally get over yourself.

rinkydinkDecember 30th 2014.

I like it...! Fake Yank/Real Manc - thanks! Tosser

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

We had back in the 1990s Plastic Paddys,Rinkydink is ultimate plastic Manc

rinkydinkJanuary 2nd 2015.

Oh do bore off

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

'Dangerous UKIP'? Errr...does someone need a hug?

9 Responses: Reply To This...
Mark FullerDecember 30th 2014.

Yes, Jonathan has written a very fair and thoughtful article, but I think that he's conflating UKIP, a party in tune with the majority of the public on immigration, and the BNP, a more hard-line National Socialist party. On foreign policy UKIP, have a non-interventionist stance to the left of Labour, oppose TTIP{unlike Labour}, and disagree with the creeping privatisation of the NHS, instigated by Labour via the disastrous PFI contracts.So yes UKIP are dangerous to Labour, if their policies become widely understood.I'm unlikely to vote for them, partly because I want to see the delivery of HS2 and HS3 which UKIP oppose.The Tories are the most likely to deliver on infrastructure and devolution of decision making powers to the Manchester Region. But if UKIP shake up and enliven the moribund Manchester political scene, that can only be a good thing. The silent majorities views on immigration, must now be heard.

Mark FullerDecember 30th 2014.

The French cultural theorist and sociologist Buadrillard once said that " mass education has been superseded by mass stupidity". It's tempting to agree with him and to despair at the limited horizons and superficiality of so many in society. But as Jonathan stated above, education is key- but not education as we know it. The mass of people are not intrinsically stupid, as Buadrillard implied, rather, in many cases they have been dumbed down, not only by cultural factors, but also by a stiflingly dull educational environment, that does not engage on an emotional level, which often fails to fully value creativity, individuality and the spiritual dimension, all of which are essential for the developing child. Young children, especially in the early school years need to develop the foundational qualities of being a rounded human being. This is primarily about cultivating freedom of expression, play, creativity and positive emotions like empathy via music, art and drama. School can feel like incarceration for some children. Therefore, more time should be spent outside of the classroom. Where possible schools should have a vegetable garden, small wooded areas and a wild flower meadow. There could also be small animals and chickens for children to pet and learn to care for. Trips to local beauty spots and The Peak District should occur in the spring and summer. The dire poverty of consciousness which prevails in the home lives of too many of our , particularly working class children, must not be replicated by uninspiring teachers or a tedious curriculum. The early years are key for children and for a reinvigorated Manchester and beyond. Future governments need to give parents, teachers and schools the freedom to go their own way and truly help children and young people to fulfill their potential.

Calum McGDecember 30th 2014.

"a party in tune with the majority of the public on immigration" - REALLY?

DavidDecember 30th 2014.

UKIP like other far right paries such as the National Front have been bought by Rusdian money,hence their constant support for Putin.

DavidDecember 30th 2014.

The National Front in France have received millions and millions f Euro in loans from Russia.I find UKIP supposedly non interventionist foreign policy highly dangerous,as it smacks of 1930s appeasement and I don't think its in the interests of this country to let Russia act like Hitler by using the excuse of the presence of Russian speakers,to acquire territory from other countries.

Mark FullerDecember 30th 2014.

Yes Callum, I know that the MSM portray UKIP as beyond the pale, but polling does indeed show that a majority agree with UKIP'S immigration policy. Many countries, including Australia, have a similar points based system to that advocated by UKIP. In other news that may leave you incredulous; more people want to leave the EU than remain within that undemocratic behemoth, according to recent polls. If virtually the entire establishment are for something,[i.e.the EU] it's probably a bad idea.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

HEAR, HEAR, Mark. 'But if UKIP shake up and enliven the moribund Manchester political scene, that can only be a good thing.' My thoughts exactly. 'The silent majorities views on immigration, must now be heard.' I wonder how many Mancunians on here that accuse people of being ignorant etc. for having negative views about too many immigrants too soon, or believing that some immigrants aren't integrating, actually live next door to a 'fresh off the boat' Nigerian, Pakistani or Romanian. British politics and politicians are pathetic. They are detached from 'our' world and don't represent the people, so if voting for UKIP shakes the corridors of Westminster then I'm all for it. I'll be voting UKIP but that doesn't mean by doing so means I'm a xenophobe, want a civil war or suggest we invade Poland, FFS!

DavidDecember 31st 2014.

As opposed to Farage 'fresh of the boat'German wife?.Are Germans more acceptable these day?. If Farage so detests the EU why does he take every salary,pension,expense going of them?,that includes employing his own wife at E U tax payer expense. Let's face it Manchester has always been a racist city,you only have to go back to the comments you would hear about Moss Side up until the late 1990s and the total absence of black clubs in the city centre then,and the refusal to license any black radio station.These people are now in the lare Middle age and retirement,and have a comforting home in UKIP where they can hide their bigotry behind legitimate concerns about the effects of European immigration on the job market and housing.

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

David, black clubs? What are those? Friday nights at the Hacienda in '84 to '87 were more popular with blacks than other nights and Pickering did play early house music then, although initially an unpopular music, but the Moss Side folks always had Reno's. Despite embracing early house music, I did prefer Saturday nights as the DJ's played an ecelectic mix of music and Fridays could get a bit rough.

AnonymousDecember 29th 2014.

We need better transport links, especially to the hospitals in North Manchester.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkDecember 29th 2014.

Any particular reason?

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Maybe to get there?

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

That was very dumb for you, Rinkydink!

rinkydinkDecember 30th 2014.

Any particular reason?

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

I was born in Hulme, not the trendy suburb it is today or the concrete deck access 60s and 70s flats that it replaced. I grew up in the warren of red brick terraces that both these incarnations replaced. I was quite happy there. But looking back I had a happy but deprived childhood. I now live in an affluent suburb bordering on Cheshire. What got me here was education. I was taught well in the basics at my primary school (Webster Street off Greenheys Lane) and they fostered my interest in finding things out. I then moved on to a school where the attitude was 'you are here because you are good, you will work hard for the next seven years and when you leave you will have your pick of universities to go to.' And so it turned out. On my educational journey my eyes were opened to music, art, architecture, theatre, opera, ballet, books.. I was encouraged to explore. I wanted more of these things and to get them I realised I had to develop myself. I did it and have a satisfying life as a result. My life is completely different from my parents and my children's are richer in all senses of the word. It seems to me that the education system we have now in deprived parts of the city doesn't allow children like I was to develop and thrive and to do so politicians are going to have to lose certain attitudes and long held ideas. At present the education system seems to hold back the very children it would try to help.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkDecember 30th 2014.

What a nice, positive and constructive post. You should speak to Anon from yesterday at 6.55pm

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Both of you...better parenting is key. State education comes a distant second.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Whilst we may not all agree with everything said in this post, thank god someone is writing thoughtful articles about the city, as opposed to the moronic guff spewed out by the poor old MEN.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Totally agree. I think Trinity Mirror must have sacked all the MEN's columnists when they took over? Yes thanks GMG and you Scott Trust trustees for "betraying" Manchester and selling our local newspaper down the river to this City of London conglomerate.

Calum McGDecember 30th 2014.

I've lived here since 1996... in all that time, the MEN has always been a dreadful paper. Wouldn't wipe my **** with it.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Manchester has some of the worst health services in the country. This will always put us at a disadvantage.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
brxDecember 30th 2014.

Not true, when my daughter had a serious car crash a couple of years back, the Emergency Paramedics, Wythenshawe A&E, in conjunction with Hope Hosp were ALL SUPERB!

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Mancunians have unhealthy lifestyles. You cannot expect to smoke,drink and eat junk and be healthy. The fat underclass are everywhere you look in Market Street.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Comparing different parts of the city is not healthy. All cities have run down areas and Posh bits. London has Kensington and Hackney. Manchester's problem is it does not have a middle class residential area centrally. Unlike Liverpool which has beautiful Georgian houses ripe for re-populating Manchester does not. This is why people like to live in established areas. There may be some hope with the St Johns Quarter and this new Islington,but these areas need houses not just flats so we can get some families in them. An area that is now looking good is the New Broughton area of Salford. They have built houses there and a park.

rossiDecember 30th 2014.

Forgiving Mark Fuller for mis-spelling the name of the philosopher Jean Baudrillard, since Mark was posting at 02:08 today, I must point out that we need much more than better education to keep things moving. It's worth remembering that two thirds of the men who attended the Wannsee Conference, possibly the most unlawful meeting of the twentieth century, had doctorates in law from respectable universities.

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

SECOND CITY title mentioned....Even in terms of population now, the Manchester CONURBATION is said to pip Birmingham and surrounding districts to the post.....Compare LIKE with LIKE maybe?...CONURBATIONS..If ONLY comparing populations of local authorities BIRMINGHAM would be FIRST since city in Uk snce BIGGEST city local authority area.. Greater London is Westminster, The "City" plus 30 + London Boroughs.....

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Yes, but only because Birmingham is broadly the same area as the majority of it's City Region. If MCC was the same, we'd be bigger. And who cares?

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Size does not matter!

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

Speaking as a gay, it most certainly does.

rinkydinkJanuary 2nd 2015.

Speaking as an ant, I can assure you it does not

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Do NOT understand above posting...

AnonymousDecember 30th 2014.

Having a single party running the city is not healthy and reduces the amount of discussion and debate within the town hall. I love living in the city centre but do not understand why the council's city centre spokesperson does not even represent an actual city centre ward. I travel a lot for both work and leisure and whislt I see Manchester has many many qualities it remains one of the dirtiest cities I have visited with the main central square of Picadilly Gardens (where most visitors will pass through as it is a key route from all transport links) a disgrace - and even though the council know this no action is taken.

DavidDecember 31st 2014.

Manchester has for decades crap schools,low life expectancy etc and various other social ills for which it was rewarded by additional funding from governments.After such funding leads to no improvement they ask for more and then more and then when nothing improves it will then blame the government,if it's a Tory one.It will never be the councils fault for this.Unfortunately there are still plenty of gullible Labour supporting journalists like Mr Schofield willing to believe this nonsense.

15 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

Interesting to learn that back in the 1980s Oliver Letwin was advising Thatcher to make state schools "independent" of local authorities. He then accused her of failing to give people more responsibility for their own lives within the education system. "You were elected to give back to individuals a greater degree of responsibility for their own lives," he wrote. "In education, you have so far failed. Letwin did acknowledge though that radical restructuring would not be popular in some quarters. "It would provoke intense hostility" from the LOCAL AUTHORITIES and the teaching UNIONS, he wrote. However, he saw it as the only way to improve the "quality" of schools. Things are now changing I know, but if only Thatcher had listened back then eh David? Because historically, apathetic Labour run LEAs are "responsible for so much" of the inherent social problems we see in particular cities like Manchester today. More likely to be uneducated, unhealthy & unemployable - if you were unfortunately born in Richard Leese's Manchester?

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

most recent analysis of the free schools initiative unsurprising shows they are performing no better than local authority schools overall. The main factors, as they always were, are the quality of staff and leadership. Wht the current reforms have achieved however is to divert resources and school places from deprived areas to well off areas and removed any kind of local oversight of education provision. Centralisation by the back door for no tangible benefit. Gotta love Gove.

DavidDecember 31st 2014.

When we had grammar schools we had state educated PMs,like Heath,Thatcher,and Major.Its no coincidence that since they were largely abolished that politics has become domination by ex public school boys like Farage and Clegg and apart from Brown we had a ex public schoolboy as PM for nearly the last 20 years. It's no coincidence that that the abolition of grammar schools,or their becoming private like Manchester Grammer has coincided with a decline in social mobility in this country.We live in a country increasingly dominated by those whose parents were wealthy enough to send them to private schools.

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

Omg David get a life.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

But if only Manchester LEA had been bothered, had fought, to ensure the quality of staff and leadership in those DEPRIVED AREAS (such as Harpurhey) eh Anon8:19? They just didn't, because Manchester's abysmal school record speaks for itself - and Leese, Stringer & the local Labour Party have so much to be ashamed of here.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

Sounds like you had a rollicking good night David. Happy New Year, peace and best wishes to ALL Man Con trolls. :)

DavidJanuary 1st 2015.

The sad fact is so many of new jobs created in Manchester have to go to people educated out of this city,because of the poor schooling Labour has provided for decades.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

Charming. No new year wishes for me? Don't you love me David? :(

Mark FullerJanuary 1st 2015.

Anon. above is not surprised that recent research shows that the new Free Schools are performing no better than mainstream state schools. As if if it goes without saying that they are a waste of time and resources. This may of course be the case, but the early evidence does in fact show that Free Schools are in general performing better than state schools. Only a minority of the 300 hundred new Free Schools have been inspected as yet, but of these, twice as many, in percentage terms , have been rated outstanding as in the state sector. 70% of the 1.1 billion pounds allocated to enhancing Free Schools is allocated to the poorest areas. Free Schools can only arise where there is a demonstrable demand for them. There is a strong demand for these schools, and not as Labour predicted only in middle class areas. Free Schools in Bradford and Tower Hamlets[East London], both of which have been deemed outstanding according to the New Schools Survey, are testament to this. Labour, the B.B.C, Guardian, M.E.N, etc, would have you believe that every government department has been viciously cut for doctrinaire reasons. In fact , the government have allocated 5 billion pounds to local authorities for new school places, more than twice the amount Labour spent in their last 5 years in office. Between 2003 and 2010, Labour axed 200, 000 primary school places despite being repeatedly told that the population was rising rapidly, largely due to mass immigration. At present, Free Schools are popular and over-subscribed.There are 3 applications for every place. I wish them well, I like the fact that they can employ teachers with a rich life experience, who may not have been indoctrinated at a left-wing teacher training college. But I fear for them if Labour are re-elected.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

Contrary to the information put out by the ministry, many free schools are in fact under subscribed. m.bbc.co.uk/…/education-19909369… And though the following articles refer to academies rather than free schools, the principles are the same as both suffer from a lack of local oversight and both have been heavily subsidised at the expense of the local authority, maintained sector. What these reports indicate is that an ideological, dogmatic approach to education provision such as is being persued by the current government is likely to be both wasteful and ineffective to the extent that in aggregate, results would probably be little different had they done nothing at all. www.theguardian.com/…/ofsted-sir-michael-wilshaw-struggling-schools-academy-neglect… And www.independent.co.uk/…/academy-chains-worse-for-disadvantaged-children-than-local-authority-schools-9624191.html… As the programme of co-operation and peer coaching in London shows, co-operation is much more effective than competition or rigid persuit of ideology.

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

The BBC, The Guardian and The Independent eh? Any links to articles (on their particular sites) explaining why Manchester LEA has so badly let down the children of Manchester over "so many" years then?

AnonymousJanuary 2nd 2015.

Eeer have they though? Perhaps you could furnish us with data that compares educational attainment in Manchester with other similarly deprived authorities across the country to support your assertion. Then it might be worth taking this discussion further.

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2015.

Comparing educational attainment in Manchester to similarly deprived authorities? Oh simply read any article about "London Challenge" for that. A Tory Blair inspired policy actually (as were academies) - proving when Labour politicians "have the will" they can intervene and turn around failing schools, in even the most deprived boroughs of the country.(Much to the chagrin of their local Labour LEAs & teaching unions probably?) With respect to GCSE league tables, Manchester LEA has gone from the bottom 4 performing LEAs in the country (back in the 1990s) to the bottom 15 performing LEAs in the country today. A slight improvement with City Challenge I know, but nothing compared to that overseen by Labour politicians in London - and yes, believe it or not again, in similarly deprived areas.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2015.

Rather proved my point there didn't you? Not only have you been unable to provide comparative performance data with similarly deprived authorities, you have also admitted that Manchester schools have improved. Furthermore by highlighting the London Challenge programme - the clear outlier in performance trends - you agree with me that the best way to improve standards is not some rigid persuit of an ideology as you initially tried to suggest, but in co-operation, peer coaching, local oversight and sharing good practice between schools of all types and locations that are the hallmarks of the Challenge programme. Access to extra funding and the vast, highly specialised labour market in London also undoubtedly helps.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2015.

Hmmm m.bbc.co.uk/…/education-30780126…

Anthony FallonDecember 31st 2014.

A few months ago, a mate of mine from Landon Tairn came up by train & departed at Piccadilly Station. I was supposed to meet him but as frequently happens, i ran out of petrol, this time on St. Stephens street near Mulvaney's pub , which borders the inner ring road Trinity Way. He had to walk all the way down from Piccadilly to Trinity Way to meet me. When he commented how huge the City centre is, i explained to him that part of Manchester City Centre (eg. Lowry Hotel, Mark Addy Pub, new NCP Carpark, new Premier Travel Inn etc etc etc. areas are all in the CITY of SALFORD and coupled with the huge student population based mainly in south central areas (which stretches the city centre  along Oxford Rd. & Princess Rd.) the City has the feel & infrastructure of around 1 million people. According to adjusted census figures from 2011, if Manchester & Salford were to amalgamate, the new population would be slightly short of 800,000, comfortably making it the UK's 3rd biggest city by population. ♥♥♥

7 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkDecember 31st 2014.

Salford is in Manchester anyways. Just a suburb

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

*anyway

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

Why do you frequently run out of petrol? Most cars have a small thing called a petrol gauge :P (nice post by the way).

AnonymousDecember 31st 2014.

Rinkydink thinks everywhere in the North West is a suburb of Manchester,whether they like it or not,except for some reason Liverpool.

Nick NameJanuary 1st 2015.

Salford is in Greater Manchester as Westminster is in London. The postcodes in Salford start with an M for Manchester. Why people constantly bang on about this? We have bigger things to focus on as a region.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

Lancashire Cricket Ground is in in Manchester and Bernstein has one of his other jobs there,does that mean Manchester is in Lancashire?.

AnonymousJanuary 3rd 2015.

Pre '74, Manchester was in Lancashire and still is AFAIC.

DavidJanuary 1st 2015.

Manchester now has its own version of Hazel Blears in Lucy Powell,who seems to spend all her time representing Ed Miliband rather than the people who elected her.A typical opportunist,spineless Labour careerist who disappears to London not to be seen again just as soon as she is elected.Its time we had some politicians who put the interests of this city first.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

Happy New Year David.

AnonymousJanuary 1st 2015.

How was your evening, did you get up to anything good?

Poster BoyJanuary 1st 2015.

Can. Worms.

EdwardJanuary 2nd 2015.

Please feel free to like my article on Facebook and tell your friends. Next week I will explain what's wrong with the world and how to solve it. Thanks guys.

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