Think I'm blogging to myself at the moment
as problems with the Council's computer systems mean that none of my recent attempts have been posted yet so this will probably come as part of a simultaneously posted string of entries. The MIER, Manchester Independent Economic Review that is, team are currently touring Greater Manchester Councils telling us about what is the largest independent review ever carried out into the sub-regional economy, indeed it is probably without precedent anywhere in the UK. Today they are in Manchester telling us about the baseline study and the outcomes from the first two of a number of reports commissioned as part of the review, these two dealing with investment and skills. The good news is that although like everywhere else we are suffering from the recession, our economic performance has improved significantly over the last decade and Greater Manchester does have the potential to be an alternative growth pole to London and the South East, although nowhere near on the same scale. This won't happen by accident and the conurbation is going to have to work together even more effectively and show real leadership if we are to approach the potential that exists.
Was in two minds whether or not to mention the crest as hopefully a full history will be appearing soon on the Council's website. But I've started now so just a quick word. I've traced the story back to 1301 and the township of Manchester, a bit further back than the 166 years since the borough of Manchester was awarded a coat of arms. At any given time many versions of the crest have been in use - just look at those used in the building of the Town Hall for example - and it has been modified on many occasions, the last significant redesign being in 1978. The horrible simplified version used currently on Council letter headings came some time after that. We are not doing one of those major image redesigns so popular with many other places. We are looking to build on the historic design to devise a version suitable for everyday presentation of twenty first century Manchester, a version that would be instantly recognisable, which the current blodge isn't. A traditional version, or more accurately versions, would remain for formal and civic use eg we won't be changing the coat of arms in the Council Chamber. We will experiment with this and will phase any changes in over time. We aren't spending lots of money on it and we aren't going to dump lots of existing materials to make way for it.