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Why can't we have a Leeds Day?

As Manchester cheers its second annual parade, Paul Clarke asks - when do we get a go?

Written by . Published on June 22nd 2011.


Why can't we have a Leeds Day?

OUR swaggering cousins down the M62 don’t need much of an excuse to blow their own trumpets so their latest wheeze - Manchester Day - is typical of their bombast.

But even more galling, it was hugely successful with 3,000 people on 90 floats marching though the city centre last weekend, watched by at least 70,000 people.
 
So that raises the obvious question – why on earth don’t we have a Leeds Day?
So what’s stopping us?  The naysayers will say we can’t afford it. Maybe so, but Manchester estimates that their parade brought in £4m to the local economy which we could do with here.
 
Is Leeds somehow an inferior city to the home of Shameless and Madchester?  Of course we aren’t…we are just as good, if not better?
 
So let’s look at what Manchester Day offered and see what we can do to match it.
 
Manchester has two Premier League teams.  We don’t, but we have a team that is so legendary it's had a film made about it. I can just see Mssrs Lorimer and Hunter marching behind a massive papier-mache head of Don Revie, along with the current first team and fans.
 
We have the mighty Leeds Rhinos; what do they have? Swinton Lions? Definitely another one up to us.
 
Manchester has the industrial revolution but we have the best banking and legal sector outside London. I can imagine a gaggle of QCs, barristers and lawyers marching along side bankers in bowler hats.
 
Communities enduring awful deprivation, but still proud of who they are were on the Manchester march. We do share that with our Manc cousins, and I want to see those communities marching down Briggate with their heads held high.
 
LGBT groups marched last weekend and we have plenty of those. 
 
Manchester celebrated its rich musical tradition with a papier-mache double header of Noel and Liam. We’d have to make do with a model of the tiresome Ricky Wilson, but you can’t have everything.
 
So what’s stopping us?  The naysayers will say we can’t afford it. Maybe so, but Manchester estimates that their parade brought in £4m to the local economy which we could do with here.  Plus, can you put a price on seeing kids celebrating their city?
 
I’m sure some of our big institutions would help out with some sponsorship, and the city council could chip in.  Sure, the one party state in Manchester helps them make long-term decisions, but our Labour councillors could talk to their Manc comrades to see how they did it.
 
So what is stopping us?  Nothing that can’t be solved with some old fashioned Yorkshire grit.
 
So here’s what Confidential is going to do to get the ball rolling.  If Leeds Day comes off then we will sponsor a float in the parade, and offer it to a community group to celebrate their achievements.*
 
The ball in your court now Leeds, or are we to be forever the poor relations to a city that invented self love.
*Maybe. We'll have to check the savings account first.

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AnonymousJune 30th 2011.

As someone who has lived in both Leeds and Manchester, it's clear that the inhabitants of the latter have a relatively poor sense of self worth, and a real lack of civic pride.

Perhaps people don't wish to be sucked into the kind of shameless, self-aggrandizing swagger that sometimes epitomises Manchester?

But I am surprised that the good citizens of Leeds haven't managed to summon up the wherewithall to look inward and find something to celebrate. Which is a real shame - because there's a wealth of community, business and arts in the city to be genuinely proud of.

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