Compare and Contrast
It's a long time since Wednesday evening when I had an enjoyable hour at Lower Crumpsall Tenants and Residents Association. They have a small but dedicated group of active members, really committed to improving their neighbourhood. They have a good working relationship with Northwards Housing, other Council departments and the police, calling for support from their Councillors when necessary. They are already making a difference through the greening of the area and are a welcome reminder of what local politics is all about.
Everything since then has been a bit different, Manchester : Knowledge Capital Board, a meeting with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Airport, addressing a workshop on European funding, the MEN Business Awards. This morning started formally with the regular meeting with Salford when John Merry and I were at last able to sign a Memorandum of Understanding which will allow them to get on with a new pedestrian bridge over the Irwell and us to pedestrianise Victoria Street in front of the cathedral. We are also going to be doing some joint work in the North of our Cities looking at how we can more effectively use mainstream money across the full range of public services to tackle deprivation.
Then it's visits from the men from Whitehall. First Anthony Vigor who works in Number 10 on transport and local government policy, and then Andy Westwood who works for John Denham in Communities and Local Government. Both have Manchester connections having studied here, and Anthony will be staying at least long enough to watch City tomorrow. Anthony is very interested in the Manchester city-region pilot so we talk through where that is up to. On a similar theme, Andy has a big interest in the Employment and Skills agenda and we spend some time talking through Greater Manchester's developing plans for 16-19 Education and post-19 education and training. In between I'm trying to sort out paper on my desk as the office is being painted next week. I'm away but I do intend to keep posting with the help of my Blackberry.