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28 October 2014

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You are in: Liverpool > Capital of Culture > Features > 'Wine and Canápes'


Are enough community events planned?

'Wine and Canápes'

Labour group leader Cllr Joe Anderson has branded Capital of Culture too much ‘wine and canapés’ on his resignation from Liverpool Culture Company board.

‘Token efforts’ to involve the community, and ‘wine and canapés’ for VIP’s, were cited by opposition Labour group Cllr Joe Anderson as some of his reasons for resigning from the board of Liverpool Culture Company.

In his resignation letter Cllr Anderson says he is concerned by the lack of community involvement, "Sadly, I now feel that 2008 is very little about the people of Liverpool and community involvement and I am increasingly alarmed at the vast sums of money that have been spent and that are still required, with very little to show for it so far."

Cllr Anderson also questions the spending of the Culture Company, "I believe it is elitist and far too much prominence is given to organising elitist events. I know that too much taxpayer’s money has been wasted so far on a bloated and obscene corporate entertainment budget in which the same city faces are treated to VIP reception after VIP reception, ostensibly in the name of promoting the Capital of Culture."

Referring to the legacy of 2008 Cllr Anderson says he isn’t convinced that the year will contribute anything to Liverpool’s regeneration, "I am concerned that after a total spend of £94 million the legacy will not be a lasting cultural legacy or improvement in the cultural industry of our City. The legacy will be one of debt and quite frankly one of missed opportunity.

"Those that tell you that the Capital of Culture is responsible for the regeneration of our City are misleading the people of Liverpool.

"The renaissance was kick-started with Objective One funding, supported with Government money through agencies like the NWDA, and will be sustained by private sector investment like the Paradise Street scheme."

In response Cllr Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council told BBC Radio Merseyside, "Councillor Anderson's attendance at the board meetings has been sporadic.

"When he's been there he's never raised any of the issues that he's raised today."

last updated: 25/06/07

Have Your Say

What are your feelings about how plans for Capital of Culture? Is the community involved enough? What events are you looking forward to?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

What a laugh. 08 is going to be a failure. That's like telling a pregnant woman her baby will be ugly. Face facts. No one knows what 08 is going to be like. Unless of course your mystic meg - and have a crystal ball. I hate to say this but CALM DOWN. There's plenty of good community stuff going on - it's just not s*xy and doesn't get the headlines.From what I can can glean, what we know about 08 event wise is not the full picture. I think we should hold our opionions until the full programme is out, which is apparently this autumn. Otherwise all you knee-jerkers,

I hope the people from the vulture company are reading these comments, we cant all be wrong!

The only culture known by Liverpool City Council is the one of "What's in it for me personally"?Ask anyone that has tried to put on anything that has a cultural/creative/promotional activity attached to it what help they have been given by the Corpy, nearly all wil tell you - "Nothing".

I have been anticipating such a denouement since all the cracks first started appearing in the Liverpool Culture Company. It seems that despite all its self-generated hype, a high-profile public body is doing what it often does best - absolutely nothing. The output that I have seen from the Culture Company thus far, in my opinion, has seemed more than pedestrian and I am completely sad that this great of city of ours is missing out on 'its deserved moment' due to the ostensible incompetence of an organisation that really is failing to deliver. The only sign we'll have of 08 arriving where we live is the ill-fated bunting that is due to be strewn across the city. What an unnecessary farce!

City of Culture can only engage with those who want to be engaged and isn't going to come down every street in Liverpool. People are going to have to make a bit of an effort to get out there and take part in it. Let's have a reality check -not every organisation is going to be funded because Capital of Culture is not a bottomless pit of money for every single one of the thousands of arts group that wants to put on a project. I heard someone from the culture company say the shindigs only account for half a percent of spending and that doesn't sound unreasonable to me. My organisation spends far more than that on wining and dining clients.

David E Lowes
20 years ago 47 Councillors were surcharged and barred from office for allegedly costing the people of Liverpool £106,000, because they wanted to create jobs, build houses and improve services.Today, Councillors and unelected officials have created an 08 budget deficit of £20+ million and the people of Liverpool are told they will have to foot the bill. How times have changed.

Tom Grayson
Another day and yet another desertion from the sinking CofC ship. How many more before the Council finally admits that the whole project is in meltdown? Capital of Culture was never intended to be about jobs and regeneration - that was what the hundreds of millions in Euro funding was supposed to be for. CofC should have been about involving the people of Liverpool in a celebration of our cultural riches showcasing the city in a positive way for a change. Sadly - as usual - our useless, clueless council has squandered another chance of a lifetime! The resignation I'd really like to see next is Warren Bradley's but I don't suppose we'll see that any time soon.

Dave Friar
What was supposed to be a celebration for everyone living on Merseyside now appears to be turning out to be a party for the priviedged few and their mates. There was masses of time to organise and publicise events (even taking the Robyn Arcger debacle into account). How many 'ordinary' people are aware of what's happening. Who knows what has been organised, where at, what time and at what cost to us.I think Cllr. Joe Anderson has proved himself to be an honourable person in leaving the Culture (or should that be Vulture)Board. As usual it seems that Liverpool is lurching towards another huge embarrassment. How many major things have received massive publication over the last two or so years only to flop and leave everyone with egg on their faces. The fourth Grace? Trams? the list goes on. Whatever social success that occurs in 2008 will be down to the hard work and dedication of the people who have a certain pride in the area and not by the likes of the ones that Joe Anderson has left behind.

I agree with councillor Anderson,the usual pigs with their snouts in the trough.If you see the guest list at any special occasion/opening.same names appear.

ben diaz
culture is about about a mix of communities having the ability to express their culture through the politics, arts, and any available medium.Is a big shopping mall and more fancy coffee shops really going to achieve that?

Craig Charlton
It will be like the old Garden Festival, a year or 2 later and no one will care, and who will pick up the cost for all this exesssive showman ship and ideas...... US the TAX payers , I'll be glad when its over, but be a good excuse to get out the city while it's going on

It'll need something really special to make up for the interminable road works with no, you know, work going on. Fat chance.

simon williams
RichD, looking forward to the big biennial? is that it? correct me if i'm wrong but that happens anyway. as dave pointed out they are trying to take credit for things that are happening anyway, especially all the building work and shopping centres which WAS HAPPENING BEFORE WE GOT CAPITAL OF CULTURE. it is an excuse for freeloading for a group of people who seldom normally need an excuse.

Neil Batley
I feel compelled to express my feelings regarding the Liverpool Culture Company’s refusal to fund the Mural project proposed by a group of people from Liverpool. I read about the project in The Liverpool Echo and also heard one of the group on Roger Phillips phone-in on Radio Merseyside recently. From what I understand of the project it involves inviting Ulster’s mural artists from both traditions to work together with Liverpool groups on murals in Liverpool, and that the murals would depict scenes of Liverpool culture past and present. I have lived in Liverpool with my family for nearly ten years having been in Buckinghamshire until then. When the city was awarded the European city of culture award 2008 a few years ago I was overjoyed that Liverpool would have these extra cultural aspects to compliment the existing development. So far however, I have been uninspired by the performance of The Culture company. When I became aware of the Mural project publicised by local media last week I was appalled to hear it had been rejected. This project would bring colour and surprise to many areas of the city not just the centreIt would also embrace the obvious cultural links Liverpool has with Ireland by using the artists from both sides of the reconciled Ulster divide. These artists would further more involve young Liverpool people in the project by showing them how these marvellous pieces of non-political art are constructed. As a proud Englishman I personally have no political axe to grind with the previous Ulster problem. I do however have a passion for art projects and totally support this Mural project.I hope the Culture Company will reconsider their refusal to fund this project.

Liverpool Vulture Co. Of course it's just an excuse for the selected few to backslap each other in the latest bar/hotel. At least some of the empty flats (apartments!) in town may be occupied for a few months. It would begood to see some money being spent in the areas that need it most... croxteth, dingle, everton etc.. it's hard not to be cynical

Capital of Culture is NOT and never was just about arts/creativity etc. It is more about jobs, rebranding the city as a place to live and do business.Primarily though, it is about getting people into the city to see how it is changing. This will encourage them to spend here, invest here, recruit here and possibly move here.Small arts project won't achieve this. This is why most of the money is being spent on expanding the larger events and adding other one off ones e.g. Turner prize/Royal Variety Performance.I think the culture company have got a good line up of events so far. I'm particularly looking forward to the Big Biennial (which IS getting extra funding in 2008) and the Turner Prize.

Ian Cartledge
I'm glad the events are city centre based, anyone fancy a wine tasting festival down county road, no me neither. Can everyone be realistic and see this year as a rejuvenation of the city centre, bringing in private companies, cleaning the place up that will hopefully in five years time filter through to the inner cities.

Jeremy Hawthorn
My fear is that our 2008 show will be 'lions led by donkeys'. There are a whole host of festivals here every year - comedy, African music, Arabic culture, black history month to name but a few - and a cultural year could quite easily be fashioned out of these. Alas the corporate donkeys are not building on these. They would do better to stand out of the way.

Matthew Brown
Well said yet again Joe, Capital of Culture is yet another example of Liverpool somehow missing the boat "yet again". As with the Festival Gardens, Fourth (dis)Grace and Tram fiascos we have wasted our oppurtunity "yet again". Why have we not used it to give us something to aim for and aspire to such as making ours the worlds Greenest/Cleanest City? Why instead have we allowed our politicians to use it as an excuse to run chimps tea parties for themselves (obviously with copious amounts of champagne instead of PG Tips), to plough new and unnecessary roads through our beautiful streets and build "luxury apartments" for the benefit of Southern property developers to make a quick buck on. After 2008 is over and true scousers remain to pick up the bills and the litter we need to ask ourselves what the legacy of it all will be. One suspects a look at the old Festival Garden sight will provide all the answers we need.

Kev H
I believe it should be called The European City "Center" of Culture, because there is nothing here for the people of Liverpool, other than thing's going on in the city center. if i'm wrong will somebody let people know so we can all get behind this before it becomes a mess!!

I live in the city centre and there are often events going on that no-one knows of. His comments are right but should we expect anything more from this council. The true cultural diversity places are stamped with corporation and capitalism

Well at last Joe Anderson has finally realised what the majority of Liverpool people saw; that the Capital of Culture held nothing for the ordinary people and more to do with business and councillor's egos. Joe Anderson has had his fair share of junkets on the back of the council tax payer, so it's a bit late to start talking about VIP party's. Why he has decided to start griping now is a pointer to how badly the project is being run. Rats and ships spring to mind

So £94 million spent and the Culture Company has arranged,is trying to take the credit for the Grand National/Mathew St festival/Liverpool Biennial/Maritime Festival/Chinese New year/Brouhaha/tennis Tournament/Hub festival/Splatterfest/Africa Oye/Cream fields/Hope St festival/Irish Festival. What did we ever do without them.

Liam Fogarty
“A CULTURE OF FAILURE”Today’s broadside by Council leader Warren Bradley, accusing local businesses’ of a reluctance to support Capital of Culture, is clearly heartfelt.It also takes the breath away.Business people survive by backing winners. They value leadership, creativity and a sense of purpose. Given the serial ineptitude of those responsible for Capital of Culture who can blame Liverpool’s entrepreneurs for keeping their distance?The people who brought us the Robyn Archer debacle, the Summer Pops fiasco and a long list of delayed projects and cancelled events are now begging, borrowing and taxing to bridge a £20m budget gap. Business people who’ve stuck by Liverpool through many lean years have every right to feel affronted at appeals to “chip in” to rescue Liverpool’08.It’s easy to dismiss Cllr Joe Anderson’s resignation from the Culture Company board as a party political “stunt.” But his analysis of the Company’s failure to engage local people, to support creative industries and to leave a positive legacy is widely shared.Now that the blame game has begun, those pointing the finger at the business community, the Government or at honest critics should take a look in the mirror.

I have a feeling Joe Anderson is right and as a Liverpool resident I'm going to foot the bill. The more money and power politicians have the more they waste. On local and national level. I got a feeling the Olympic bid will cost me too!!!

I agree with the comments, the culture work seems to be city centre based and the wider community are not involved. The city council seem to be more interested in pleasing the tourists than the people who live here day in day out.

Simon Williams
Joe Anderson is right. Capital of Culture will be one big party for those in the loop and a massive let down to the people of liverpool. almost £100 million and on what? It is a disgrace.

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