MANCHESTER CITY COUNCIL
Ladies and gentlemen, what do you think are the main issues facing Manchester at the moment? Homeless people in every doorway? Zillion pound apartments going up, while there's no affordable housing? Zero hour contracts and low pay in crap Mcjobs?
While you contemplate this, also contemplate the focus of Manchester City Council which, apparently, is all centred on rollerbladers. Yes, rollerbladers.
Back in May, there was a Built Environment Network conference titled Greater Manchester Development Plans 2018, with speaker Eddie Smith, who is Strategic Director at Manchester City Council.
The place was packed with developers and council folk who heard yo Eddie tell them that all Manchester's regeneration is seemingly aimed at attracting rollerbladers, and that the jobs priority "just doesn't echo in the room any more"...
Yo Eddie began by telling the audience he was giving "a very clear overview about what our philosophy and approach is to development" and the "central importance of having the right lifestyle offering for our city...
"For me the test is, if I want to go rollerblading in Manchester would it be really easy for me to do it?" he asked "I'm 58 and I don't rollerblade but it's quite an interesting test, and I don't think Manchester would pass that test if I wanted to go rollerblading.
"You see the occasional one or two people rollerblading in Manchester but not a lot" he pined "If you go to North American cities, the Seattles and the Portlands, these are places that have a lifestyle offering that really appeals to talent and, ultimately, we're in this talent attraction role as a city.
"...When I first started working for the City Council twenty years ago it was 'jobs jobs jobs'; that was the priority that came from the people of Manchester" he added "Today that doesn't echo in the room any more because everyone's assuming that jobs are already here and are actually going to come. And we're seeing different expectations on the city. Younger people have got an outlook which we're now having to adjust to...That's how our thinking is influenced..."
So, sod the jobs, sod the homelessness, sod the affordable housing...sod the indigenous community...rollerbladers are what matters. Which might explain why so much public money is being pumped into things like the new £multi-million Factory, Home, and the Manchester International Festival...
"We've created a lifestyle offering that's attracting talent to our city" yo Eddie remarked "and our strategy has always been to attract that talent to come and live within our city."
Oh, and what is also prioritising around Eddie's mind are fast trains like HS2, so southerners can get the hell out of Manc-land in double fast expensive time...
"What's occupying my headspace, and stuff that's really important I think to all of us in the room" Eddie decided "I'm always asked what is the most important development regeneration project within the city...and that is getting the investment right for High Speed Two and Northern Powerhouse Rail."
Affordable housing did pop up in Eddie's speech, just the once...
"It's not helping matters that the twittersphere is saying we're not building affordable homes within the city, which is tosh" he insisted "We are building significant numbers of affordable homes in the city...but not within the city centre."
While Manchester central becomes the Mecca for rollerbladers and southern fat cats, the working class shall be banished to the Siberia of Eastlands and other Manc gulags. Salford residents take note that our Council has the same ethics – you're more likely to find a diamond in a pig's arsehole than a new affordable house in Greengate or Chapel Street.
Ladies and gentlemen of Manc-land (and probably Salford), if you don't rollerblade, you are out of the social equation. So, pack up your urban backpack, slip on your skates and eat pavement for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns International Award...
Manchester City Council!!!
If someone from Manchester City Council would like to make an acceptance speech, please use the comments box below...
See Other Winners of the 2018 Salford Star Mary Burns Awards...
The Donald Trump Award For Media Dissing - Charlie Winstanley - click here
Disappearing Salford Award – Urban Splash/Alliance Investments – click here
Feed The Rich Award - Fred Done - click here
Universal Catastrophe Award – Conservative Government – click here
Real Digital Council of the Year - Salford City Council - click here
Cuadrilla Award for Attempted Protest Stifling - Bellway Homes - click here
Uncle Joe Stalin Award for Open and Democratic Government - Salford City Council - click here
Grenfell Tower Memorial Award - Salford City Council, Pendleton Together and the Conservative Government - click here
Art Appreciation Award - Salford City Council - click here