Anywhere but London

Bids for the Commonwealth Games have been coming in thick and fast from English cities. Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and London have all expressed an interest in hosting the 2022 event, as Durban conceded that it could not afford to go ahead with its commitment to play host city as planned.

There is some talk of Liverpool and Manchester putting together a joint-submission. Both cities have a track- record of hosting major international events in recent times. Indeed, Manchester’s Commonwealth Games in 2002 was regarded as a huge success. With an array of sporting facilities, and an eclectic cultural offer, a Northwest bid would, I’d suggest, take some beating.

Then again, Birmingham, with its regeneration and renaissance making a significant mark over the past few years, will feel that it is its turn to show what it can do on the international stage. A mayoral victory for Andy Street could give the city an edge when it comes to winning Tory government support later down the line.

All these big cities have a strong case to make for the games; each would benefit hugely from the profile, exposure, and visitor numbers. It would provide an economic and marketing boost that is virtually impossible to measure.

London, on the other hand, does not need such a boost. The big structural problem that George Osborne rightly identified in our economy is the economic imbalance between the South East and the rest of the country.

Our capital city is a wonderful place. A global force that we should be proud of. Nonetheless, it has been allowed to dominate the rest of the country for far too long, and is as much in need of hosting another major international event as Simon Cowell needs a boost to his ego.

It would be great to see the Commonwealth Games back in the UK in five years’ time. But they should be held anywhere but London!

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