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Liverpool rising: all the upheaval’s been worth it

Has Liverpool joined the top Conference table with Labour in 2011?

Published on August 25th 2009.

Liverpool rising: all the upheaval’s been worth it
Yes: - 75%
No: - 25%

Maybe Liverpool’s been building to this.

Maybe Derek Hatton will give a first speech to Conference since his one-sided ‘row’ with Neil Kinnock in 1985.

Yippee, the Labour Party Conference will be held in the city's Arena and Convention Centre (ACC) in 2011. The Lords of the Left have chosen us.

Liverpool can expect 20,000 people to attend the conference, including delegates, journalists and lobbyists. This means - using last year’s Manchester conference as a model - up to £20m may be spent in the local economy. Although post-expenses row this may well be less - de-selection concentrates spendthrifts’ minds.

The decision to award the Conference to Liverpool follows a joint bid to stage the event which was submitted by ACC Liverpool, the council and The Mersey Partnership. It will be the second party conference in a row after the much smaller Liberal Democrats come a-calling in 2010.

The Labour decision must have put the Council Leader in a spin. Warren Bradley is a Liberal Democrat who now has to be officially in love with Labour. “This single event will be worth millions for businesses throughout the city," he gushed.

"The billions of pounds invested into making the city an attractive, vibrant and welcoming destination,” he continued, “has been a major factor in securing one of the country's biggest conferences. (There are) not only the excellent facilities which the Arena and Convention Centre offers, but also a large number of high quality hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues for the thousands of delegates, visitors and media.”

Liberal Democrats, Labour. Let’s have the Conservatives next. We need to bag the full unholy trinity of the major parties. And then go for the big business conferences and conventions that presently go to other places.

Back to Warren for a minute, because he does make some good points. These lie at the heart of the upheaval of the past few years, when the biggest building programme in the city for a hundred years, together with its biggest event (Capital of Culture) transformed Liverpool.

Liverpool Arena: photograph courtesy of Helene Binet

As that period of dismay and delight comes to an end we can now begin to assess the results. Liverpool it would appear has built itself the infrastructure to be a major player once more. It can again take its place among that tier of European cities which sits behind the capitals. We have the critical mass, rather than a criticised mess. Fanfares all round please.

A couple of brief caveats to all this though.

Central Manchester around the Convention Centre was placed under siege in 2008. It wasn’t pretty and it probably wasn’t necessary. In fact it was horrible, a paramilitary (armed police everywhere) occupation. Of course the conference area of Manchester is smack bang (wrong word, perhaps) next to the Town Hall. Liverpool’s Labour Party Conference will have its water defences. It should be easier to secure the area without recourse to Manchester’s miles of ugly fences, but let's hope it doesn't put off the visitors to the Beatles Story next door.

A bigger shame is that Labour will probably be out of power by 2011 - if the opinion polls are anything to go by. In which case we might not need that level of security. Without a PM in town, the threat to a new leader (David Miliband? Harriet Harman?) will be considerably reduced. Of course the security might return if our lad Derek H tries to break into the main hall, to make a few points he’s been bursting to make for twenty six years. The problem is that with Labour out of power will we get the same number of delegates and fringe events and therefore the same spend?

That aside. We think this Conference is symbolically a very big thing indeed for the city. Do you agree?

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Stanley StreetAugust 14th 2009.

A conference bringing 20,000 people all spending money for four days is far better for the city than one-night flash-in-the-pan tripe like the MTV Awards. Perhaps a chastened Bradley can get his party of oddfellows to hold their conference here too?

William GladstoneAugust 14th 2009.

The Lib-Dems will come with tents and their own sandwiches.

talacrebeachlighthouseAugust 14th 2009.

Lib Dem Spring confeerence 08 conference was held at ACC Liverpool as will the Lib Dem Autumn coference 2010. Scarcasm as above is proof that some of us are more equal than others!

fightintalacrechipshopAugust 14th 2009.

Ha ha!

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