Liverpool – How great thou are!

It’s always interesting to look at your own area through the eyes of others. Yesterday I was able to do so when I was joined in the city by victors from Mexico.

The visit was a high level one composed of the equivalent of the Deputy Permanent Secretary of DCLG, A state Environment Minister and the Director of Development of thee of the most progressive states in Mexico.
They came, they saw and we conquered! They did not have time to see everything. Most of the time was work and we didn’t take them necessarily to the prettiest bits. The Water Treatment works at Sandon Dock were….. interesting!

But they did learn from that. They saw ARUP methodologies in place through 3D blue prints bringing to life an incredibly complex scheme to process zillions of gallons an hour of waste water and make it safe enough to put into the Mersey. United Utilities were excellent hosts in showing not only how the water industry worked but also how the water industry work as an industry which is private sector but heavily regulated. The speed with which they are creating the new facility but the agility of mind which has enabled them to conserve so much of the docks heritage of that area is a wonder to behold.

Then on to more normal ‘tourist’ territory. We started at the Pier Head. Admittedly this was a little cold for people from Mexico or even for me for that matter. We looked at the 3 Graces. Pondered whether the Liverpool Museum would really be accepted as 4th Grace. We strolled to the Albert Dock where they were amazed not only by the quality of the architecture but also by a warm welcome from fellow Mexican Carla Morrison, Cllr Tom Morrison’s wife.

We looked across the way at the L1 shopping centre and joined the bus again to go past three of Liverpool’s 4 cathedrals (Cain’s Brewery, The Anglican and the Catholic) before visiting the 4th. (Yes the Cavern of course).

Then back to the offices of ARUP for the first class presentations from Arup and Andy Snell from Liverpool Vision talking about Liverpool generally but also the Global Enterprise events next year.
Liverpool showed itself at its best yesterday.
• A first class city to visit (four family members had a whale of a time whilst the rest of us worked).
• We showed how new and old can merge to create something that is proudly Liverpool and not a bland metamorphosis of every other city from Memphis to Moscow.
• We showed well how the public and private sectors can work together.
• We showed how Liverpool has great companies based here like United Utilities and Arup who can compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world.

There are only two types of people in the world. People who were lucky enough to be born in Liverpool and people who wish they had been born in Liverpool. Yesterday we added 7 more people to the latter category. We have not heard the last of Mexico. Liverpool Vision and Arup have been asked to participate at a major conference in Vera Cruz in September and they are clearly thinking of sending people to the Enterprise Conference next year. One is even going to suggest that his son comes and studies here. The Mexican Ambassador wants to visit and meet our Universities and look at how we provide social housing.

All this is important. Mexico’s economy is growing at the rate of 5% a year. This is a market that we should be in and a market that the Mexican Government both central and local wants us to be in.

Next week I have the head of research from the Japanese LGA here and the following week I am meeting a senior official from St Helena (just a little difference in size there!)

Big or small it does not matter. Let them come, let them see and let them all become Liverpool’s Ambassadors to the world!

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. UK representative on UCLG Finance Committee, Executive Bureau and World Council. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperon on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and three grandchildren.
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