manchester Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Manchester staat een prachtige toekomst te wachten

MANCHESTER – Ik ben een trotse Mancunian (zoals inwoners van Manchester genoemd worden) ondanks het feit dat ik er sinds mijn 18e, toen ik naar de universiteit ging, niet permanent gewoond heb. Ik werd geboren in het St. Mary’s hospitaal vlakbij het centrum, werd opgevoed in een aangename buitenwijk in Zuid-Manchester en ging naar een normale lagere school in een naburige ruigere wijk voordat ik naar middelbare school Burnage ging. Achtendertig jaar nadat ik Burnage bezocht deed Salman Abedi, de verdachte van de bomaanslag in de Manchester Arena, dit blijkbaar ook.

De gruweldaad van Abedi, waarvoor Islamitische Staat de verantwoordelijkheid heeft opgeëist, is waarschijnlijk nog erger dan de verschrikkelijke bomaanslag door de IRA die eenentwintig jaar geleden delen van het stadscentrum verwoestte, een gebeurtenis waarvan velen denken dat die een sleutelrol gespeeld heeft in de renaissance van Manchester. Toen gaven de terroristen ten minste nog anderhalf uur van te voren een waarschuwing die het verlies van mensenlevens heeft helpen voorkomen. De barbaarse daad van Abedi echter doodde tenminste 22 mensen, waarvan velen kinderen.

In recente jaren ben ik diepgaand betrokken geweest bij de beleidsaspecten van de economische revitalisering van deze prachtige stad. Ik was voorzitter van een economische adviesgroep voor de Greater Manchester Council, en was daarna Chair of the Cities Growth Commission die zich hard maakte voor het ‘Northern Powerhouse,’ een programma om de steden van het Britse noorden tot een coherente economische eenheid te smeden. Vervolgens was ik kort onderdeel van de regering van David Cameron om de vroege fases van het Northern Powerhouse te helpen implementeren.

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