Angie Robinson, chief executive of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, went to the resort for the Tory Party conference, and came back proclaiming that it would take more than a supercasino to sort out Blackpool’s problems. She helpfully suggested that ‘Jeyes Fluid, a wire brush and a few gallons of paint’ might be more useful.
But she wasn’t finished there. The newly-appointed least popular person in Blackpool went on to add: ‘The streets were truly filthy, the alleyways full of rubbish being besieged by seagulls and most of the buildings were tatty and the paint flaking’. It’s no wonder the political parties are deserting in droves for the delights of Manchester, she said, revealing a tell-tale trace of vested interest.
Robinson didn’t mention the hordes of hen nights and stag dos lining the streets and bars of the town on Saturday nights, but we’re guessing that probably wouldn’t improve her opinion of the place. ‘Whilst I am pretty disgusted by the state of Blackpool, more than anything I am deeply saddened,’ she intoned solemnly.
Naturally, Blackpool dignitaries are up in arms at this slur on their town’s good name, pointing to the various regeneration and investment programmes currently under way. And although the resort may perhaps have seen better days, like many of Britain’s seaside towns, it does at least still have its famous Illuminations – last switched on by Doctor Who star David Tennant, no less.
Robinson may have a point in suggesting that Blackpool compares unfavourably to Manchester, which has been given a major face-lift since an IRA bomb ripped through the city centre in 1996.
Still, we hope she wasn’t planning to take her kids to see the lights again this year – or she might find herself being strung up from them.