Magazine article Public Finance

All Eyes on Manchester

Magazine article Public Finance

All Eyes on Manchester

Article excerpt

I never thought I would be quoting BBC radio DJ and pop culture pundit Stuart Maconie in the pages of PF but his reflections on Manchester's heritage strike me as apt and timely.

In his 2007 book Pies and Prejudice, a nostalgic and somewhat romantic voyage through northern England, Maconie makes the brave case that, beyond football and Factory Records, Manchester nurtured every radical idea that ever shook the world, from communism to feminism to trade unionism - and one might toss in free trade, canals, railways, nuclear fission, computer science and television soap operas.

"Manchester changed the world's politics," Maconie writes. "Every upstart notion that ever got ideas above its station, every snotty street fighter of a radical philosophy, was fostered brawling in Manchester's mills, pubs, churches and debating halls."

There could be something in that. Certainly the city's civic leaders have been keeping that radical tradition alive. A formidable alliance of councillors and officers have, with energy and doggedness, succeeded in persuading chancellor George Osborne to loosen the Treasury's fiscal reins and devolve an unprecedented package of powers and money, including £6bn in NHS funding, to the city. As Wigan council leader Lord Peter Smith tells PF this month, all eyes are on Manchester.

Our cover feature (pages 20-25) unpicks some of Manchester's plans to smash silos and join up services, all under the stewardship of a powerful metropolitan mayor, identity to be confirmed. …

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