Blunders of joy / That Thatcher non-story

There but for the grace of God, and all that, but I can't resist sharing this classic of the genre of media inadvertently (thinks) undoing their own good deeds with a slip of the finger.

MEN calendarThe GM Business Week 2012 calendar sent out by the Manchester Evening News chose this image shown left of Spinningfields for January. Not just any part of Spinningfields' millions of square feet, but vacant floors in an office building on Hardman Street. Floor vacated by the Manchester Evening News in 2011, choosing to relocate their newsgatherers from the city centre to an industrial estate in Oldham.

The ladder in shot was presumably there during the fit-out of the space for current occupier, lawyers DWF.

The question is: was it an honest mishap or a deliberate gag by the calendar designer, a bitter-sweet gesture from a sub-editor harking back to their former home? I do hope the latter.

  • The bizarre New Year non-story about Cabinet advice from Geoffrey Howe in 1981 to set Liverpool adrift, advice that PM Margaret Thatcher ignored, was a bit of silly season tittle-tattle best left to pub analysis than serious coverage. If you want to add some muscle to your bar-stool debate, you could do worse than read Liverpool on the Brink, a fascinating 1985 book subtitled One City's Struggle Against Government Cuts and written by Prof Michael Parkinson, erstwhile academic on urban policy. Parkinson sets out the economic context of post-war industrial decline and claims Thatcher tried to appease Liverpool's hostile council leaders by outsourcing government back-office departments to the city, leading to today's oft-cited abundance of public sector jobs.

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