11/09/2007

Labour's answer to Manchester's problems - Gentrification

I had the misfortune to hear the Labour candidate for Manchester Withington on Radio Five live earlier, and what a prat she made of herself.

They were talking about the run down nature of parts of Manchester, the fact that it is two cities in one, the low attainment in schools compared to other areas, and they spoke to locals who live in the more deprived and run down bits of Manchester.

Then they spoke to the labour candidate, whose answer was to repeat that they were moving lots of people in, building expensive flats in the centre of town, had lots of lovely shops, and in short seemed to me to be suggesting that gentrification of Manchester was the answer.

So there you have it. To solve a town or city's problem, just move richer people in. That's Labour's answer.

4 comments:

Andy Mayer said...

Er... as opposed to what, concentrating poverty?

Bluntly Nich if we look at what Labour got wrong in the past, particularly in the north and urban areas it was precisely the opposite of what you suggest. Gerrymanding the 'Labour vote' into Labour-run Council areas by building more social housing and public services than the local economy could sustain without outside help.

The net result is large areas of concentrated poverty without hope, aspiration or opportunity.

Creating opportunities to mix communities is how you start to break that cycle, create jobs and break down some of the softer barriers of communication and misunderstanding between people of different backgrounds as well as cultures.

'Gentrification' in a political context is just a lazy piece of class-hate spin, usually put out by the left to describe any threat to their self-assumed right to lord it over destitute areas that generally their policies have helped keep poor for generations.

Norfolk Blogger said...

I am suggesting that more should be done for the people who live there rather than saying that the answer is to move nicer people, richer people and brighter people in. This is why Manchester has become two cities in one, a city of haves and have nots.

Andy Mayer said...

"more should be done for the people who live there"

which means?

"rather than saying that the answer is to move nicer people, richer people and brighter people in."

who surely, by creating businesses and jobs, spending money in local shops, working as teachers in local schools, doctors in local surgeries, and lobbying the Council for more better services and greener spaces in that awkward way smart middle-income familes tend to do will mean precisely that 'more will be done for the people who already live there' and break down the barriers between "haves and have nots"

The alternative is to entrench the division and try and plug the gap with a raft of government and local government initiatives. That's not exactly trusting people is it?

lady macleod said...

Perhaps something that incorporates the people who already are in residence with moving in new business and other residents with more means to contribute to the community? It is a difficulty as I do see your point (one that Fez is facing to rescue the Medina) - it is not an easy answer. The integrity of the community is not maintained if all the residents are forced to leave, but neither can you attract businesses or residents with means unless you clean up the community and make it safe. I think it is important to consider both sides. If I were clever enough to know how to work it all out, I would take that Queen-job.

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