Sunday 06 July 2014

I get The Observer every Sunday. I often read almost nine pages of it.

I read most of the sport section I’m interested in, I read most of the arts and culture. I get bits of the magazine covered. The news section will often remained unopened when I put it in the recycling twelve days later.

I remember why after reading some of the news today. [Clearly the main reason why is that I don’t ever get around to doing anything – ever.]

One story tells me that Manchester City centre is both dangerous at night AND that is losing 700 police officers as part of budget cuts. While reading this story I check Twitter – you don’t check Twitter while doing everything? I sometimes check Twitter on my phone while I’m on Twitter on my iPad – and see Granada telling me that an investment will see Manchester rail routes is going to get new, cleaner wifi thanks to new funds.

I know it isn’t the money that would be paying the police. It’s overly simplistic to think like that. “We can pay for an immigrant to have an operation but my son can’t have a new textbook?” That kind of thinking. It’s overly simplistic. And naturally appeals to the simple.

But – and I am simple – when you see things like that side by side it feels like it is the same money. Your head automatically sees a man (it would definitely be a man) looking at a box of policemen and a bag of wifi and choosing the wifi. And it seems an outrageous decision when there are people being crimed in Manchester (is there? I don’t know).

It does feel like madness. But then the next time I am on a train and I want to check the scores in League 2 I will be grateful for the wifi.

But will the wifi tell a vomiting 9-year-old to “move on” when he’s thrown, drunken into the Manchester streets at 7am? Will the wifi tell someone who’s been robbed that there’s nothing it can do if it doesn’t fill in a crime report? Alternatively, will an unemployed former policeman send my emails when I am on the train from Manchester to Leeds?

Maybe, just maybe those crazy cats at city hall have the right idea.


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