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We need more aspiration.

THE most noticeable aspect of Michael Heseltine's imperious, designer tour of Teesside was the apparent total lack of substance in findings consisting mainly of soundbite and patronising platitudes.

His primary answer to Teesside's woes (Gazette, 07.06.16) was to suggest what we already know in that we desperately need another river crossing and better transport links. But surely that would include a vibrant airport which the players Heseltine waxed so lyrically about sold out for a pittance? Heseltine also brought failing education into the equation as another expedient reason for Teesside's decline and named schools considered inadequate - thus adding to stigmatisation without identifying cause. To use a football analogy that Steve Gibson and invited guests at the Riverside reception would surely have understood - if your star players are poached, then relegation becomes a near certainty!

Heseltine was right in one respect, though, and that is that we need to be more aspirational and not settle for safe mediocrity our "leaders" myopically seem to favour. We need sensational attractions such as an international sports arena, a performance venue on the scale of the O2 arena and visible structures as inspiring as the Angel of the North.

If we want to be a real city and not a fragmented backwater we need to be imaginative and punch our weight. We are Teessiders and need a Teesside City rather than imposition of a "joint authority" and a poor deal shamelessly brokered by local councils with Government which equates to being mesmerised by a bag of shiny beads.


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jun 14, 2016
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