I live in Manchester, and I love my city, but sometimes I have to scratch my head in amazement at what my fellow Mancunians get themselves all worked up about. Take this story for instance.
The council have decided that they don’t have the funds to pay for the “annual” fireworks party to see in the New Year and so have “cancelled” the event this year. Sounds like a sensible economic decision especially in these straitened times doesn’t it? But as with most things these days there seems to be a polarised response to it. On the one hand you get the pubs and clubs wailing that without the fireworks Manchester will be deader than dodo and it won’t be worth their while opening their doors on New Year’s Eve because the crowds simply won’t go into town. On the other hand you get those that applaud the council’s decision because there are millions of other things to spend £20k on and it would be a total waste of money.
The complainers argue that Manchester is Britain’s second city and we should “put ourselves on the map” by having a firework spectacular and without one we would be the laughing stock of the rest of the world.
The supporters argue that fireworks are a menace and keep children awake in the wee small hours
The arguments roll on and on but the way I see it is like this:
1. Manchester’s “annual” fireworks display has only happened in the last three years – hardly a monumental tradition is it?
2. People who go the pubs and clubs in Manchester on New Year’s Eve won’t be taking to the streets on the stroke of midnight to see the fireworks because the cost of getting IN to these places is prohibitive and once in there they are not likely to be leaving again until they have to.
3. The council are quite right in taking into consideration the safety aspect of it and having the fund the policing of any sort of public event.
4. How can an event like a fireworks display be planned then cancelled at the eleventh hour? Surely the fireworks themselves would have been purchased by now, and the security and technical staff booked to run it. There can’t possibly be an “eleventh hour” cancellation – it would have either not been put in place to start with or else it would have been cancelled months ago.
5. Why do we have to have fireworks for everything now?? The beauty of fireworks is that they are special and a treat. If we begin to use them to celebrate everything then the element of specialness is lost.
6. Manchester city centre is hardly a residential area so to have fireworks in the city centre would mean people travelling in especially to see them. At midnight? With kids? No public transport? Taxis charging double fare because it’s New Year’s Eve? Children being kept awake because of the noise…?
7. Why do we feel the need to “compete” with every other major city in the world??
It seems to me to that people love making an argument out of nothing and the City Council are damned if they do and damned if they don’t do the fireworks this year. What happened to common sense these days? Is it really not as common as it used to be??! Well done MCC for having some and having the strength to stand up to the bleeding-heart do-gooders that are starting to poison our city with their reactionary rants and foot stamping episodes.