Only the most London-centric (and I’m a Londoner) will be most surprised at Manchester’s winning the super casino. Manchester has a proven track record of making convincing bids for major event and leisure driven regeneration projects that are delivered on time, within budget and leave lasting legacies.
The industrial revolution started here in Manchester, enabling Britain to become the workshop of the world. Manchester is also first to deal with the hangover now that party’s over. East Manchester still has a long way to go; it lost 60 per cent of its jobs between 1975 and 1985; today 52 per cent remain benefit dependent; 20 per cent of its housing lies empty; many who bought their properties under right-to-buy now find that what they own is worth less than the mortgage they owe.
A few thousand miles away in China, the world’s workshop today, graduates struggle to avoid factory jobs because they’re better than that. In truth, we wouldn’t want to go back to being an industrial nation working long hours in poor conditions for low wages. So hurrah for the super casino and the lottery win it represents to east Manchester… but spare a thought for Blackpool.
Having said all that, I always thought Blackpool was a dead cert and they’re justifiably gutted. The town’s regeneration strategy is now in tatters – ‘“a huge blow” which leaves the ageing resort facing “an uncertain future”’ reports the Blackpool Gazette – and it’s hard to see what they’ll do now.