HARTLEPOOL Mail reporter Felicity Hunter tracked down Daniel Knowles to ask him to justify why he put down the town in his article in The Economist. The mum of two has Hartlepool running through her veins and wanted to know first-hand why he attacked her beloved home.
BEING a born’n’bred Hartlepool lass I was Appalled – with a capital A – to read the assassination of our town by a posh business hack in London.
Twenty-five-year-old Daniel Knowles and his nameless section editor wrote a shockingly unbalanced article and a leader column painting Hartlepool as a futureless dump which should be left to rot.
So I was delighted to be given the job of ringing the marble-mouthed Oxford University graduate to politely quiz him about his findings.
I was astonished to learn that Birmingham-born Daniel had literally walked up Church Street, round the shopping centre, the marina, looked at a few houses and then hopped back on his train – probably with a first class ticket – back to his office in the capital (where there are loads of jobs).
When I asked if he had been to the likes of the multi-million pound Hartlepool College of Further Education, our brilliant high-performing schools, hardworking and developing businesses, the historic Headland, West Park, Ward Jackson Park, or even enjoyed a peek at the town’s surrounding villages and pretty countryside, guess what? He said: “No. I didn’t quite get everywhere.”
Didn’t quite get everywhere mate? You’re right there.
Yes Hartlepool has high unemployment, yes there’s the odd school that could do better, and yes people have tightened their purse strings since the recession so a few shops have shut. But so have dozens of other towns in the country.
Our pal Daniel has basically written this article – which has been read by millions of people and discussed on news channels for days – advertising our town as “ugly”, “failing”, and “grey”.
That’s going to help attract business and funding here isn’t it. Leave us all to rot in our “grey box” of a shopping centre and our “ugly wasteland”?
Daniel’s answer to our unemployment problems is to move to places like London to find work. So should we all pack our bags and set off on a Poolie descent to the plush south?
Nah, I don’t think so. One, it’s not physically possible for everybody to squeeze into the already over-populated capital, and most importantly us Hartlepudlians care too much about our roots.
So thanks for the free advert Daniel son, but we’re staying here in our fine, distinguished (and elish) town, to stick it out and prosper.