THE message that came out of yesterday’s discussions over whether Leeds should bid to become European Capital of Culture was loud and clear – let’s go for it.
This exciting venture is something the whole city can get behind – as long as there’s widespread confidence that the whole city stands to benefit if the bid proves successful.
Winning Capital of Culture status for 2023 would almost certainly be a chance to reap huge cultural, social and economic benefits that touch communities right across the city.
The title has a track record of helping foster urban regeneration, changing the image of the host city for the better and raising its visibility and profile on an international scale.
Previous incumbents such as Liverpool and Glasgow can vouch for the transformative effect it can have.
But if Leeds does decide to make a bid (which it should), it also presents an opportunity to show to the world just what makes this city so special.
It would be a chance to emerge from the shadows cast by the North’s other major cities and firmly establish Leeds in its own right.
The enthusiasm for a bid is already obvious – a welcome sign of confidence in everything our city has to offer and its ability to compete on an international scale. So what’s stopping us?
Task force can give pupils brighter future
News that a task force of education experts from around the country are to target 30 struggling schools in Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire will be met with mixed reactions.
The thought of schools being subject to more tests will fill some teachers and parents with horror. But what else can be done if standards are to improve?
If education bosses failed to tackle the problem of under-performing schools then it would be a clear betrayal of the youngsters who are taught in them.
It is to be hoped that this intervention will ultimately improve the life chances of those pupils whose future prospects might otherwise appear bleak.