“If you’re in this city, the competition can be Everton versus Liverpool. If you’re in my city its City against United. In business terms we often see the competition as Manchester versus Liverpool. But then if the cockneys start make disparaging remarks about the North, we all bond together and have a go back at London. Then if the French slag off England, we unite with London to fire back at France.”
The delivery of this excellent observation came from Mr Deansgate, Nik Maguire, addressing the digital forum which was part of the series of excellent Liverpool Business Week events hosted by Downtown this week.
It was a point that was well made at a time when, in trying to compete in a global market and establish a Northern Powerhouse, the necessity for us to identify common goals rather than focus on traditional rivalries is increasingly obvious.
The good news is that, a few notable parochial internal spats in Lancashire and Merseyside notwithstanding, our regional business and political leaders have taken note.
The degree of co-operation taking place between Leeds, Manchester, Lancashire, Liverpool and the other core cities of the north on transport infrastructure is significant.
Equally, arguably the greatest of city rivalries between Liverpool and Manchester, has been put aside on many occasions over the past eighteen months, with the cities sharing platforms, marketing collateral and policy development in a whole range of areas. The London based MIPIM UK property festival in October will see Manchester and Liverpool share exhibition space for the second consecutive year.
And, as Liverpool gears up to host the UK International Festival for Business in twelve months’ time, the man tasked with making a success of this unique three week jamboree, Max Steinberg, is reaching out to the rest of the country, in particular other parts of northern England, to help showcase what is the best of British.
The festival is a great opportunity for businesses from across the country – but also a chance to show that we can genuinely establish a Northern Powerhouse where our great cities and counties work together when needed for the greater good.