Manchester City Council

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

ignorant - lacking in knowledge or awareness in general, uninformed about or unaware of a specific subject or fact.

Second day back and at 7.20am I'm talking to that lovely Allan Beswick on Radio Manchester at various character assassinations of parts of Manchester carried in other parts of the media over the last couple of weeks. I talked about Fergie ( not the singer in the Black-Eyed Peas either ) a couple of weeks ago and I've nothing much more to add other than to ask the questions how much does she really know about Northern Moor, the people who live there, and what their key issues are, and what does she really know about the support different communities need to ensure their health and vitality ? I will talk about the Shadow Home Secretary, Mr Grayling who seems to have demonstrated ignorance on at least three counts. He clearly doesn't know much about Moss Side, an area with problems but also an area that has been growing in population and popularity over the past few years as evidenced by the growing waiting list for the Alex Park estate. An area with a proud population committed to working with the Council, the police and others to sort their problems something they have made great strides in . Not sure that he's ever seen The Wire but he perhaps ought to understand, brilliant though it is, that it is a work of fiction, not a documentary, and is probably as representative of everyday life in Baltimore as Coronation Street is of life in today's Salford, and has he ever been to Baltimore anyway. He's also ignorant in the discourteous sense, discourteous to the people of Moss Side by using sensationalist language to exploit past accounts of a much changed neighbourhood to make political capital in other parts of the country. I don't want to be accused of having my head in the sand so I do want to remind readers that a few weeks ago the City Council published its third annual State of the City giving a warts and all account of what's going right in this great city and equally if not more importantly what's going wrong and what we need to try harder on. The difference between that and Mr Grayling is that first of all it's based on hard evidence, and secondly it will be used to make the city better, not for cheap headlines.

Talking about making the city better, I spend the afternoon in Central Salford looking at creative industries in the Chapel Street area. A fantastic afternoon consisting entirely of positive stories of really interesting and dynamic work happening in dozens of locations in what according to the statistics is one of our most deprived neighbourhoods.

There are 3 responses to “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”

  1. Stringer-Bell Says:

    The Mule did a great rebuttal to Grayling's comments. Worth a read, and a different perspective than the grand leader's:

  2. Jim Mogg Says:

    The Moss Side and Hulme area of Manchester is a community, like Wythenshawe, that has had a massive amount of money thrown at it - much more than say Newton Heath or Clayton. The fact is that after all of this investment it still has a poor reputation - no matter whether or not I say it or a silly season Chris Grayling says it or anyone who has been in the area after 8pm on a cold Winter's night says it. There could be any number of reasons why the Alex estate is attracting massive interest - the lack of social housing being built, an increase in families trying to move closer to relatives in the area, the proximity to Didsbury, Chorlton and the City Centre. To simply suggest that it's down to some sort of magical transformation misses the mark. If you said to all of the people on the list they have a choice between Didsbury or Moss Side what would be the outcome?

    Manchester is great at completing regeneration and setting really good projects up - it's in our blood and history. It should be commended. The problem is continuing the good work and building on it - like places such as Hebden Bridge and Skipton have. Until you can say that people would like to live in Didsbury, Moss Side and Northern Moor because they are all exceptional areas to live, it's probably unwise to, albeit admirably, kick up a fuss when people from outside point out the obvious.

  3. Michael Armstrong Says:

    I went to Baltimore about 10 years ago, and took a bus journey through parts of the city that were similar to those depicted in The Wire (they may have been the same places)Comparisons between Moss Side either then or now are hugely wide of the mark. Unfortunately for Moss Side, to people outside Manchester it's name has become shorthand for 'rough area'. It's an image that we all, as citizens and workers of the city, have a duty to try and shift.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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