Monday, May 01, 2006
If you're of a certain age and were brought up in the North West of England, Tony Wilson was probably a big part of your formative years. Not only was he constantly on the local TV news, he also ran one of the coolest record labels of the time and owned the hippest nightclub. Well now he's going to try to help regenerate the rundown parts of East Lancashire. This part of the world is close to my heart and it certainly has some things going for it, it has beautiful scenery, it's very cheap to live there and, OK, I can't think of anything else. Tony certainly has a bit of a challenge on his hands. The towns around East Lancashire have never really recovered from the industrial decline in the latter half of the 20th century. I went to school in Blackburn and of the people I've remained in contact with, only one still lives in the area. My family have also all moved away, so it's no wonder there's a problem with negative equity. I went to a pretty decent school, so all my friends are well educated and probably just the kind of people the area needs to help regenerate it. But they've all moved to well-paid jobs in the South East (except for one friend who's moved to Lancaster, one part of Lancashire that does seem to be doing quite well for itself). That's the main problem Tony needs to solve, getting these kind of people moving back to their roots. Manchester and Liverpool managed to recover from their apparent terminal decline, so I'm sure it will be possible.