Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Manchester Labour's mixed up priorities

This morning I had an interesting twitter conversation with twitter user @urbsmanchester. They tweeted praise for Manchester City Council in house agency’s recent “Plans for tonight?” campaign for contraceptive usage.

My response is a little nuanced so maybe needs more than 140 characters. I did reply to @urbsmanchester about whether Manchester City Council’s Labour bosses should be proud that only 29% of kids in Manchester get grades A-C at GCSE.

The response was “they probably think it would be worse with more teenage pregnancies”

This was exactly what I said to my boyfriend when I tweeted a reply in the first place – only I was being ironic. The response, and the response to Manchester’s issues which Manchester City Council have (i.e. nothing of any note) have something in common – seeking to treat another issue than the original problem. Marketing is one branch of what needs to happen, but it seems MCC spend a lot of time and budget on marketing Manchester, and not much on behind the scenes work to improve the lives of Manchester residents.

I’m sure the marketing dept of Manchester City Council is staffed by able and helpful individuals and m not saying for one minute that contraceptive use shouldn’t be promoted, it should. Teenage pregnancies may influence the literacy of both the children and parent(s), though I doubt that’s across the board.

BUT, to quote this article "“If you are running education in one of these cities then you should be deeply ashamed, because you have betrayed your cities and you have betrayed your young people growing up in your cities.”

Surely we should be looking to improve education through the pupil premium (which Manchester Labour opposed, by the way) and early years intervention.

If the strategy is wrong, what hope do we have to improve Manchester’s poor performance in these essential areas? It is my opinion that this is what Manchester Labour want – people to ignore the clear problems in Manchester with health, crime and education and stay in poverty, but be told everything's fine, Manchester's doing well, nothing to worry about.

It’s my belief they arrogantly assume people will still vote for them. Manchester’s going great guns in terms of private enterprise – when do the residents, and children of Manchester get to enjoy the benefits of this? Rather than more jobs about improving the image rather than the services they provide