January 16, 2014

Words Are Important

This year Liverpool is hosting a big business shindig, the International Festival for Business. Today, art and culture blog The Double Negative had an article about it, IFB 2014: What's In It For Me? Part One, which bugged me enough to write this blog post :-)

What annoyed me were the comments from Nick Birkinshaw, who works for local-regeneration-quango Liverpool Vision. When talking of his aspirations for the city, all of his language is about how the city is seen.

"The challenge is to make sure we’re now (and continue to be) seen to be a vibrant, diverse and distinctive welcoming 21st century city" (emphasis mine)

He doesn't care whether Liverpool is a vibrant, diverse and distinctive welcoming 21st Century city, just that it is seen to be one.

Initially I wondered if I was being overly sensitive to it, but he uses it on three occasions so either it's an unfortunate crutch word, or the culture he's operating in is more interested in style over substance.

Sadly there are definitely groups within the city who seem to worry all about appearances, rather than execution. It's definitely much easier in the short-term, but it distracts attention from those of us trying to improve the city in the long term.

It's doubly frustrating as the people who should be helping the city's businesses and organisations find out about each other and work together - Liverpool Vision, the council, etc. - end up as a barrier between them as I don't believe any of their pronouncements about the world-class work going on. He who praises everyone, praises no-one.

I don't mean to single out Nick Birkinshaw, he was just unlucky to be the person quoted who demonstrated my point. It's something the NWDA was guilty of, and this isn't the first time for Liverpool Vision either.

We should be focused on delivery, not appearance, lest we fall foul of the old Liverpool phrase and appear all fur coat and no knickers.

Posted by Adrian at January 16, 2014 05:58 PM | TrackBack
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