Storey claims “This will bring more than 14,000 jobs” this isn’t true, it is wishful yuppie thinking coming from “The consultants, worthy people…” as Mike called them in a TV interview. While those of us on the outer estates have heard all these empty promises before from middle class politicians of how million pounds of funds will make our lives better, the trickle down of European Objective One funds never reached us. The reality since Merseyside was granted Obj-1 status in 1993 is that the gap between rich and poor is even wider in Liverpool. So where did £600+ million pounds go then? Can you see an improvement in council housing? No…! Can you see any new and much needed facilities for our children and youth in Liverpool or Merseyside? No…! So where did it go then, certainly student accommodation opposite St.George’s hall got Euro funding to renovate it, yet council housing wasn’t given Euro Obj-1 funds, a simple case of class prejudice. Working class housing didn’t get funding to ensure all tenants got double glazing and central heating, yet temporary middle class residents get renovated and new built luxury accommodation in the city.
Let’s look at our the ‘cultural’ background. Liverpool doesn’t have an ice skating rink after the one in Sheil Road was closed in the mid 1980’s, we were promised we’d get new one at the Albert Dock, it never happened! Unlike the ‘competing’ cities Liverpool doesn’t have a large purpose built entertainments venue, like Newcastle/Gateshead, Cardiff or Manchester, therefore we don’t get the big acts or bands that attract large audiences. During 2003 Liverpool lost Brookside from the television screens of Channel Four, a small part of Liverpool culture on TV and it provided some walk on parts and a little income for locals. Liverpool and Merseyside lost the Merseyside Arts Board office in 2003 which provided information and advice to local artists and writers. Also under threat in 2003; Quiggans a small slice of alternative consumerism in the city centre, not the clone-like corporate designer label stores which will replace it, former Merseyside Trade Union Centre on Hardman Street has lost funding and is now up for sale along with it the Flying Picket bar, the performance venue and pinball recording studio. Additionally the council cut the funds to local arts groups in 2002. So the background and future for the real producers of ‘culture’ doesn’t look promising!
While evermore yuppie bars and restaurants open and close with increasing regularity the heart and soul of Liverpool is dying. To further class clense the city centre the City Council now want to privatise the city centre streets, this is extremist ‘capitalist’ politics. So where will this suggested £2000 million pounds of investment go? It’ll go into demolishing ever more working class homes and neighbourhoods in communities from Gillmoss, Dovecot, Norris Green to Toxteth, Edge Hill and beyond. To create more living space and ‘luxury homes’ for the feather nested yuppie friends of the LibDem council.
While Capital of Culture funds will again benefit those who financially benefited from Obj-1 funds it’s money that’s denied us by our class enemy in power who control everything in this city and have left us very little cultural, creative or political space. We the working class of Liverpool face further marginalisation and lose out even when the city gets funds simply because we don’t have a political party within the council that truly represents working class interests.
Secretary West Derby Socialist Labour Party
I wonder if this will make this week's Merseymart Letter page? ie 22nd January 2004