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FRONT LINE FIRST-CAROL GRANT ON GETTING STREET-WISE

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'The Government is looking for towns with attitude,' said The Times. It was reporting on the next scramble for cove...
'The Government is looking for towns with attitude,' said The Times. It was reporting on the next scramble for coveted City status and the new criteria for judging.

'Royal and historical associations now count for little,' the article said, 'What matters is a 'forward-looking attitude' - something young, fashionable and multicultural.'

Brighton & Hove City Council, one of the three recent winners of City status, showed attitude by allowing local hero Fatboy Slim to hold a free concert on the beach.

The council got rare endorsement in the subsequent broadcast on Channel Four when Fatboy said: 'I'd like to say 10 out of 10 to Brighton council for entertaining us with these stupid notions of what we can do'.

Meanwhile the views of music fans in Newcastle were summed up by one such fan who called into a local radio station to say 'brilliant city, crap council'.

Though most papers reported that it was Radio One who finally pulled the plug on the long-awaited Love Parade because of concerns over parking and safety, Newcastle City Council still took the rap in the media.

The youth vote carries a lot of weight these days.

As The Independent pointed out: 'More 18-24-year-olds voted for who to kick out of the Big Brother house than bothered to cast a ballot in the local primary school or church hall'.

So, dear readers, more attitude

is now required. Maybe the secret,

in true Jesuit style, is to get them young.

A story in The Times -'banging words for gonks' - reported on the most popular buzzwords among 7-14-year-olds. Currently, many youngsters probably feel their interaction with councils is summed up in the phrase 'talk to the elbow' - because the face isn't listening.

Perhaps, in future, councils should report that play facilities are savage (very good), the newly-elected mayor is a trev (someone who wears designer clothes) and maybe even go so far as to assert that the council is no longer run by a bunch of bapheads (idiots).

Then, maybe one day, those 18-year-olds casting an e-vote in their first election will do so because they think their local councillor is 'phat' rather than simply the product of one too many town hall lunches.

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