Liverpool and the built environment

There’s an interesting blog on the Daily Post’s website by Peter Elson concerning a book by Anna Minton that looks at the built environment in the UK, taking in a look at Liverpool One and its effects in Liverpool.

GROUND Control: Fear and Happiness in the Twenty First Century investigates ownership of various projects around the city, most notably the mass demolition of houses down Edge Lane and Liverpool One.

These projects are funded and owned by private money and the potential ramifications of leaving town planning to people for whom the bottom line is the, er, bottom line.

There are clear pros and cons to these huge investments of private cash into the city, but the clear danger is in building estates that pander to commercial needs, rather than the needs of society.

Julian and Cynthia Lennon at press launch for White Feather: The Spirit of John Lennon

I’ve just returned from The Beatles Story’s White Feather: The Spirit of Lennon press launch at The Beatles Story Pier Head, where Julian Lennon gave the closest thing to an interview he’s provided in years.

Lennon and mother Cynthia were answering questions on the exhibition, created with mementoes and artefacts they’ve largely collected themselves over the years.

A such it’s an intriguing and invaluable insight into a man frequently described as ‘difficult’ and ‘infuriating’ – it’s hard not to come to the conclusion having read various accounts of John Lennon that these were not simply euphemism for ‘nasty piece of work’.

Of course, behind every nasty piece of work is often a rather vulnerable character, and the anecdotes and notes from the Lennons paint a portrait of John as man equally difficult and easy to love.

They go beyond what one might generally expect to see at an exhibition: beyond the Beatles memorabilia; beyond the obvious anecdotes; beyond myth and legend.

Liverpool, the North West, Europe and the BNP

So, the BNP is sending an MEP to Brussels in the shape of leader Nick Griffin following last night’s election results.
It’s a small crumb of comfort that Liverpool returned a smaller percentage of votes for the hateful party than other boroughs, but only a small one.
It goes without saying that this is terrible news. The BNP are racists, whether they deny it or not, but it’s the awful stupidity I’ve witnessed from BNP supporters over the last few weeks that it is really galling.
I’m not sure whether they actually know it or not, but the popular recent claim by BNP apologists that Hitler was a socialist goes to show just how screwy they all are. Until you’ve been patronised by a thick racist you haven’t lived.
I guessed at the time this was some sledgehammer sleight of hand to deny the obvious links between Nazis and The British National Party, namely the bit about disliking people of different race, sexuality and religion.
Then again, I think the majority of them really are daft enough to peg Adolf as a New Labourite.

Is a Liverpool/Everton groundshare the least worst option?

Despite the fact that seemingly no-one in Liverpool – including either club or either set of fans – want Liverpool and Everton FC, Councillor Warren Is-This-My-Best-Side? Bradley is still dead set on the two clubs joining forces, now using the 2018 World Cup bid to convince the two teams to form what’s likely to be an uncomfortable joint tenancy, assuming it happens.

The situation is not straightforward. Everton is keen to press ahead with a rather unloved proposal to build a new stadium in Kirkby, South Merseyside, on which the government will have the final say.

Meanwhile Liverpool – deeply in debt and owned by warring entrepreneurs George Gillet and Tom Hicks – favours building a new 60,000 stadium in Stanley Park, though a date for leaving Anfield seems no closer than it did five years ago.

Bluenose Bradley is keen on the groundshare idea, and the North West Development Agency is thought to pressuring both teams to accept the groundshare proposal, waving the carrot of a healthy injection of cash if the two clubs obey.

Muddying the waters is the fact that Liverpool, via Gillet and Hicks, owes a significant chunk of cash to RBS, which is itself essentially owned by the government.