- What do you want to have?
- What will you do in order to have it?
- If you do that what will you become?
In the case of Leeds the answers seem to be:
- We want to have – A prosperous economy based on tourism and retail (finance may still be crucial but is no longer flavour of the month), creating lots of low paid jobs and providing a great playground for those with disposable income
- What are going to do so that we may have it – Pursue ever greater retail and leisure development projects. Allow our city to become a giant retail hoover to suck up capital from across the north and put it in the pockets of retailers and developers who can afford to play the game.
- What will we become if we do this – The ‘Knightsbridge of the North’. A northern simulacrum of a London suburb where the ‘haves’ can flaunt their wealth while the ‘have much lesses’ work the tills and warehouses and the ‘have nots’ are pushed out of sight. A city where the gaps between the rich and poor continue to rise, but GVA, like exam results, continues a relentless rise. Where we rely on trickle down and Victorian philanthropy to retain an air of decency.
Often with personal and professional development the secret to getting a better future is to start the process with question 3.
Then, ‘what we do’ and ‘what we have’ might just serve our dreams rather than sabotage them.
That is why it is so important that we get a Vision for Leeds that works for all of us in the city.