Hungary and Holland

Going to take brief excerpts from three different days this week. On Tuesday, the Lord Mayor and the Hungarian Ambassador unveiled a plaque celebrating the visit to Manchester of Lajos Kossuth in 1851in a ceremony in the Sculpture Hall. Unless you're Hungarian suspect you're now asking Lagos who? Lagos Kossuth was a Hungarian statesman and fighter for democracy who led a failed revolt against the Hapsburg Empire in 1848 seeking to introduce a British style constitutional democracy to an independent Hungary. When he came to Manchester he was greated by tens of thousands of people who lined the streets all the way from Piccadilly Station to near Strangeways all trying to get a glimpse of him. Difficult to imagine now!

Yesterday we held the last Council meeting of the municipal year which began with an important presentation on how we build houses Manchester people can afford, and was followed by debates on health and on Piccadilly Gardens, the latter I might return another time. After Council I went over to Central Library for the launch of Read Manchester. Got there to catch the end of a session where performance poet Dom Berry was working with kids from Plymouth Grove Primary School, a session that was a lot more fun than the Council meeting. Read Manchester is a new campaign between the City Council and the National Literacy Trust and anybody else who wants to join in to promote reading in the city including regular reading to our youngest citizens and you are never too young to be read to. Literacy is a fundamental building block in anybody's future and hopefully the campaign will help thousands of families in Manchester make a better future for themselves.

This morning I spent forty five minutes talking with a large group of Dutch regeneration experts who are here to look at the regeneration of Manchester. Learning from each other including internationally is tremendously important. When Northern cities produced their One North transport report in 2014, one of the examples we used as a model was the Rand Stadt networking of Dutch cities. A lot of that idea exchange takes place, much of it facilitated, and some of it funded, through our membership of the European Union. Living in a global village, we are in danger of losing practical partnership for mythical sovereignty.

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