Growth or grant coalition?

“If the aspect of the Olympic bid [for Manchester] which attracted the greatest publicity was the one associated with spectacle and promotional activities, the practical orientation was targeted more modestly towards the attraction of grants from a range of state agencies. In other words, the bid committee looks more a locally based grant coalition than a US style growth coalition. The approach was not one which aims towards freeing up areas for private sector development, nor was it directed towards developing a strategy aimed at sustaining the position of existing local businesses. On the contrary, the aim was to use public expenditure on a massive scale to construct new ‘partnerships’  between developers and ‘sport’ (i.e. generally state susidised sport). In a neat inversion of mainstream discussions of ‘leverage’ in local economic development (which stress the extent to which public spending can draw out private sector investment), in this case – with the help of seedcorn funding from local firms and infrastructural support from the local authority – the aim was to lever money raised by the public sector into the private sector.”  Page112

“The politics of elite localism in Manchester can be seen then as a response to globalisation, that involves struggles over the role,  meaning and structure of the state,  as well as   straightforward attempts to appropriate more public cash. But they are also a relatively unstable and fragile politics that rely on an extensive insulation from processes of public accountability and even from political debate. The bidding strategy was also about constructing a consensus around the high politics of  ‘the good of Manchester’, rather than the low politics of cash and cuts that had come to dominate the terrain of local government. It remains to be seen for how long this apparent ‘transformation’ in local politics can be sustained, or even if it is – in principle – sustainable. The experience of other entrepreneurial cities would suggest that ‘successes’ are often fleeting and that long-run trends towards economic decline are exceptionally difficult to turn around.”   page114

See: Olympic Dreams: Visions of partnership, Alan Cochrane, Jamie Peck, & Adam Tickell, p95-115. in; City of Revolution, Restructuring Manchester, Jamie Peck & Kevin Ward, eds., Manchester University Press,(2002).

Also: Olympic Dreams, The impact of mega-events on local politics, Mathew Burbank, Gregory Andranovitch and Charles Heying, Lynne Reiner Publishers, (2001), Chapters 1 & 2.