manchester Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

O futuro radioso de Manchester

MANCHESTER – Tenho orgulho em ser mancuniense (assim se chamam as pessoas de Manchester), apesar de não ter permanecido lá desde que acabei a escola e fui para a universidade, aos 18 anos. Nasci no hospital de St. Mary, perto do centro da cidade, fui criado num subúrbio agradável de Manchester Sul, e frequentei o ensino primário e preparatório num bairro vizinho e mais complicado, antes de frequentar Burnage no ensino secundário. Trinta e oito anos depois de eu ter frequentado Burnage, também aparentemente o fez Salman Abedi, o presumível bombista da Manchester Arena.

A atrocidade perpetrada por Abedi, e reivindicada pelo Estado Islâmico, é talvez pior que o terrível atentado à bomba do Exército Republicano Irlandês, que destruiu partes do centro da cidade há 21 anos, num acontecimento que muitos acreditam ter desempenhado um papel central no renascimento de Manchester. Pelo menos nesse caso, os bombistas deram um aviso de 90 minutos que ajudou a evitar a perda de vidas. O acto bárbaro de Abedi, pelo contrário, matou pelo menos 22 pessoas, muitas das quais crianças.

Nos últimos anos, tenho estado fortemente envolvido nos aspectos políticos do renascimento económico desta grande cidade. Presidi a um grupo consultivo económico da Junta da Grande Manchester, e fui Presidente da Comissão para o Crescimento das Cidades, que defendia o “Motor Setentrional”, um programa para ligar as cidades do norte Britânico numa unidade económica coesa. Depois, participei brevemente no governo de David Cameron, para ajudar a implementar as fases iniciais do Motor Setentrional.

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