Wealth, the Seattle waySeattle, where the rain never gets in the way of creating wealth

Staggering wealth accrues to the few as tech entrepreneurs follow the money

Just a handful of the world’s cities account for half of global venture capital investment in tech innovation.  No surprises: London is the UK’s only representative in this stellar league table.  Merrion MD Dougal Paver ponders what this means for Britain’s provincial cities scrambling to build and sustain their own tech sectors. Get this: the conurbations of San Francisco, Washington […]

How's that pound in your pocket?

How’s that pound in your pocket?

The good folk of Manchester, Liverpool and Wirral have enjoyed steady wage growth over the last five years – but don’t ask Merrion’s managing director why.  He’d only be guessing. Numeracy isn’t my thing, but as the son of a geography teacher maps, charts and graphs most certainly are.  Whilst pootling around my on-line reading list I came across the graph […]

If a city can rise and fall, then it can rise againGrass. There's a lot of it in downtown Detroit

If a city can rise and fall, then it can rise again

The doctrine of ‘managed decline’ still holds in some American cities, but was given short shrift in the UK by Margaret Thatcher and Michael Heseltine.  Good job, too, suggests Merrion Strategy MD Dougal Paver. ‘Right-sizing’ – the sort of euphemism for which Bullshit Bingo was invented.  And when players in Detroit shout ‘house!’ the irony is painful, for right-sizing is the city’s […]

Has Birmingham been knocked off its perch as the UK's second city?Manchester. Is this now the UK's second city?

Has Birmingham been knocked off its perch as the UK’s second city?

A much-publicised suggestion by The Economist magazine that the government should move to Manchester whilst the Houses of Parliament are refurbished has given Birmingham’s cheerleaders a fit of the vapours.  Is it no longer the UK’s second city?  Merrion MD Dougal Paver investigates. In Britain’s Victorian hey-day at least four cities could make a credible claim to be the nation’s […]

Competitive socialising: regeneration's new Golden GooseHigh scores matter more than high alcohol consumption

Competitive socialising: regeneration’s new Golden Goose

When he was a student Merrion Strategy’s MD Dougal Paver well remembers the odd competitive drinking session or two, but ‘competitive socialising’?  That requires some investigating… My first illegal pint was in a pub called the Craven Heifer in Ingleton, North Yorkshire.  Myself and a load of pals had hitch-hiked up there, aged 16, for a week’s camping and fishing on […]

Manchester and Liverpool axis takes a step forwardLook, Steve, if your lot can just beat Arsenal for us...

Manchester and Liverpool axis takes a step forward

‘Best mates’ Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham have landed the plum nominations as Labour candidates for the Liverpool and Manchester metro mayors, respectively.  Does this mean a new axis between the old rivals, asks Merrion Strategy MD, Dougal Paver. ‘Manchester men and Liverpool gentlemen’ is an old saying first noted in the early eighteenth century.   It stuck for a few […]

Johnny Depp for Manchester?  Why not?Deansgate: going up in the world

Johnny Depp for Manchester? Why not?

The UK media is agog today at reports that Hollywood heart-throb Johnny Depp is moving to Manchester.  Turns out it’s a load of codswallop, but does that matter, asks Merrion Strategy MD Dougal Paver. Depp apparently said: “I’m just tired of the L.A. lifestyle and I feel like, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full […]

Southern Powerhouse set to leave the north in its wakeNow that's what you call a powerhouse

Southern Powerhouse set to leave the north in its wake

As research suggests the Northern Powerhouse is anything but, what has the north got to do to close the gap with the thriving south east, asks Dougal Paver. This blog doesn’t do gloom – and it ill-behoves me to start the week with anything but visions of sunlit uplands, much less share caution.  So you will forgive me the premise […]

Only land scarcity and a rising market will improve the Liverpool skylineThrough the fog of commentary rise some great - and some average - buildings

Only land scarcity and a rising market will improve the Liverpool skyline

As tower cranes once again punctuate the Liverpool skyline like a gloriously misshapen comb some are worrying that the standard of new buildings isn’t what the city deserves.  But they forget that the biggest determinant of design quality is the market price for whatever is being constructed. “Buy land,” said the wise old Irish farmer, “they’re not making any more of […]