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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June 2003, 10:26 GMT 11:26 UK
Capital of Culture: Did the right city win?
Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell receives a kiss from a member of the public as she arrives at Liverpool's Lime Street station to confirm that the city has won the European Capital of Culture in 2008
Liverpool will become the European Capital of Culture in 2008, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has announced.

Six cities were shortlisted - the other five were Newcastle/Gateshead, Birmingham, Cardiff, Bristol and Oxford.

Glasgow was the last British city to hold the title in 1990.

The title is said to bring with it economic, social and cultural benefits and is expected to generate 2 billion investment for Liverpool.

Do you think the right city won?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

This title is too ambiguous to be of true merit. Since it is very difficult to get a popular consensus about what the word 'culture' actually means, the title has limited value. That said, I'm disappointed that the judges didn't recognise the huge efforts made by Newcastle-Gateshead, and I just hope Liverpool can gain something from this strange accolade.
Nancy, Britain

I can't understand why Newcastle was not chosen when it has a series of beautiful and ambitious attractions, like the Millennium Bridge, The Angel, The Baltic Arts Centre, the Hilton International, a beautiful and bridge-strewn riverside and breathtaking Georgian architecture throughout the city, to name but a few. The north east is also out on a limb, unlike Liverpool with Manchester and Leeds nearby, and could have really done with being awarded the city of culture. I am from the north west, but still think the north east deserved it.
Chris Howarth, UK

As a exile Geordie, I'd like to say congratulations
John, Bristol/Durham
As a exile Geordie living in Bristol, I'd like to say congratulations to Liverpool for winning the City of Culture 2008 and good luck to them as it's a brilliant city to visit and will get even better as the years goes on. The Scousers are first-class along with us Geordies and they also have a brilliant sense of humour. Well done, you deserve it.
John, Bristol/Durham

Even now negative comments are everywhere. I really think people should grow up and visit the city before stereotyping it. London and most other cities are shabby and crime ridden in places but no one mentions that. Liverpool is a fine city. In a few years time you will look foolish to even doubt it.
Rob, UK

The city has a deep schizophrenic edge
Malcolm Roxburgh, UK
I lived in Liverpool for five years, and learnt that the city has a deep schizophrenic edge. Sure, it has culture in spades, but it is also now a pale shadow of the once great city it was. Forty years ago 1.5 million people lived there - more than three times the number that live there today (I too have joined the exodus).

Maybe this victory will turn the city around - but the regeneration needed there is truly awesome in scale. I have a soft spot for ithe city. But to pretend that Liverpool deserves to be called the Capital of European Culture is a political decision based on the need to revive a dying city with a colourful past, rather than a celebration of the city as it now is. Still, I can't help being pleased.
Malcolm Roxburgh, UK

If the other cities feel aggrieved, they can blame one person - council leader Mike Storey, of Liverpool. More or less every week for the last two or three years he has been on TV, being interviewed about some aspect of Liverpool, and responding with a quiet, considered passion about the city and its people. Pride in the city shines out of him.
John Bulger, England

Liverpool is all about the sixties - the music, buildings, even their attitude reflects this. What it's got to do with culture in the new millennium I don't know. The one foray into modern culture - Cream - has closed and where is hip hop, bangra, garage and house among the all pervading Beatles kitsch?
Craig Fielding, England

Good luck, Liverpool!!
Joe, USA
Having married a Liverpool lass and spent time in the city, I am pleased to see them gain this distinction. What we have now, is a diamond in the rough, it simply needs to be honed to perfection! Good luck, Liverpool!!
Joe, USA

YES, YES, YES. Liverpool is a magical city that is brimming with culture, art and wonderful people. Well done Liverpool.
Laura Doyle, Norway

What a load of old hogwash! London is the cultural capital by miles. Do people travel to Liverpool or Glasgow from all over the world to watch West End shows, the proms, go to the top clubs, the best galleries and museums etc, etc, etc? No they go to London. Get real!
Mark, UK

I think so-called UK culture is too London-centric. Any move away from this should be encouraged. Un-PC comedians, Brookie and so on may frowned upon by the Harriets and Henries down in London but they still represent part of people's lives and therefore their culture.
Brian Steele, Edinburgh, Scotland

I'm appalled by comments about London being the true capital of culture. Why not just turn the M25 into a big moat then we can all get along with our lives in peace? Liverpool is a beautiful city with great character. I was plumming for Birmingham myself but let's face it, anywhere is better than selfish, self-possessed London.
Andrew Hambleton, UK

Don't knock Liverpool culture until you've tried a plate of scouse.
Scott Road, UK

After Paris, Liverpool is the most beautiful city
Jim, UK
Well done Liverpool, I've always thought that after Paris, Liverpool is the most beautiful city - and it also has the friendliest people.
Jim, UK

I have been to Liverpool many times - my head office is there - and while I am glad to see so many happy Liverpudlian faces I would have been happier if I thought that the decision had been anything other than the government trying to avoid having to lay out 2bn of regeneration funds.
David, England

Well done Liverpool, it is a great city and deserves to be recognised. Sorry Newcastle, I am sure you were the Scousers' first choice if we had not won.
John Karran, Liverpool, UK

The City of Culture thing certainly worked wonders for Glasgow so good luck to them. Just a shame it takes a high-profile thing like this for people to start caring about their cities.
Neil, Scotland

With all the fuss and effort going on, I wondered if there was a place for a UK Capital of Culture competition, funded by the lottery, to encourage the same sort of vigour that has gone into the European bids? And by the way, I am sad that my local bid (Cardiff) didn't win, but that doesn't mean I'm going to have a moan or knock Liverpool.
David, UK

You don't have to stray far to see the grot
James Westhead, England
I spent three years at university in Liverpool in the early 1970s. I didn't manage to learn to love the city then, mainly because it was such a dump (though the university was good). I went there again a few weeks ago to attend a concert and was slightly more impressed: it has an excellent orchestra playing in a splendid hall, and a magnificent Anglican Cathedral. Good work has been done on the Quayside, but you don't have to stray far from the main city centre streets to see the grot. I suppose I should not expect the place to recover from decades.
James Westhead, England

Of all of the entrants, Liverpool is obviously the city most in need of regeneration, and therefore deserved to win. I come from Birmingham, and have been amazed by the changes in my city over the last 10 years. Birmingham does not seem to now have much trouble attracting investment, so I think it is only fair that a city more in need should win the title, with all the investment that goes with it. I wish Liverpool all the best.
Tim Pile, UK

There are some very good things about Liverpool. But why do the people revel in the cheeky scally image (Brookside, Liver Birds, Bread, chirpy comedians etc etc etc) and then get a chip on their shoulder whenever anyone refers to these stereotypes? If you're going to welcome visitors to the city you need to lighten up.
Southerner, UK

Liverpool is already European Capital of Culture. Everyday I see Greeks, Germans, Italians and Portuguese who know what a wonderful city this is. Unfortunately after reading some of these comments it seems like our fellow countrymen obviously have no idea.
Christian Nielsen, UK

Come and see for yourself what a wonderful city we live in
Jamie, England
Well done to everyone concerned in the bid and especially the people of Liverpool. While the other shortlisted cities tried desperately to create a city of culture we sat proudly within one. Please, less of the derogatory remarks and come and see for yourself what a wonderful city we live in and what friendly and warm hearted people we are.
Jamie, England

Clearly many of the posters here have never visited Liverpool. Neither had I until fairly recently and I have to say that I never knew that the city had so much going for it. Visiting the city removed the pre-conceptions and bias that I had been brought up with against all things Scouse. The win was well deserved in my book. Well done you Scousers!
Ant, England

We were very disappointed not to win in Newcastle, but if any of the others had to win it had to be Liverpool. I'm really pleased for them, we're doing OK and we'll carry on improving our city. I think the people being negative are just a bit ridiculous, they should get a grip. Yes there are places in Liverpool that could do with improving, but there are in all cities and that's what the money is for!
Susan, UK

Liverpool has great tradition
Iain Crawford, UK
I live in Manchester and I think it's great for the whole of the North West that Liverpool has won. Liverpool has great tradition, a worldwide reputation for all the arts but above all it has "character", which Birmingham and Oxford in particular sadly lack. Well done, Liverpool!
Iain Crawford, UK

Liverpool has always been the capital of culture in my eye and always will. It's something to do with the "Voice" of the people. It is such a powerful, driving voice, that for me as a playwright it is the most flowing and puncturing voice I have come across. If it wasn't for the culture all around me, I couldn't write my plays. Congratulations Liverpool.
Laurence Wilson, England

Congrats Liverpool!!! I moved to the States 25 years ago but have always been a proud Scouser - now even prouder. Was back in April and 'luved' being home. Couldn't help noticing how vibrant and polished the place looked compared to my 70's memories.
Stan Baskett, USA

It was always going to be difficult to decide the UK City of Culture
Dafydd, Wales
I would have liked Cardiff to have won being a Welsh man an all that. But what annoys me is the pessimism and negative comments. It was always going to be difficult to decide the UK City of Culture because all the cities have a case for it. So let's just be happy for the winner and hope the losers win something out of it (which they did in the run up to the competition.
Dafydd, Wales

Having visited Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool and Oxford I can't see how on earth Liverpool came ahead of Cardiff and Oxford. Liverpool has no real history (before the 1900s), just a load of boring museums and shell suits! Definite snobbish Oxford views going on here.
Benjamin, UK

I am pleased for Liverpool, but I just don't get it. Not so long ago I told my workmates that I was going to the ballet. I think they would have looked at me with more approval if I'd said I was going to rob a house. When I was at the venue in Liverpool, the accent I did not hear was the local one. Go figure.
John B, UK

Well I'm originally from Glasgow, and it certainly benefited from being City of Culture, and it is a wonderful city. I've spent many a happy time in Liverpool, and it deserves it too.
G, Birmingham, UK

Please leave your preconceptions behind
Kev Gregory, UK
The city has the Tate and Walker galleries, some of the finest architecture in the country such as the Three Graces and St George's Hall and a creative streak to make the rest of the country proud. Please leave your preconceptions behind as not all of us are permed, shell suited, benefit seeking, militant, Beatle obsessed individuals.
Kev Gregory, UK

Oh dear, how bitter and twisted some people are. To all those who have posted negative comments, hands up if you've ever actually been to Liverpool.
Gary, Chester

Why can't people just be happy for Liverpool? It seems unfair and of poor taste to take apart the city. I what ever happened to good old British sportsmanship and respect for other places and people...shame on you.
Debbie, Birkenhead

We should all celebrate
Anne, England
I am delighted that my home city has won the bid to become capital of culture 2008. It saddens me that there is so much vitriol on this web page. We should all celebrate. Liverpool has an enormous amount to offer and it appears a lot of hard work to do to convince the contributors to this site.
Anne, England

I do think the right city won. Once the main gateway to Europe, we have suffered years of social deprivation plus insults from people who have never even visited this city. Take note Europe, Liverpool is back on the map.
Wayne Garner, UK

Wonderful news! Now at last maybe the REAL voice and people of Liverpool will be seen and heard.
Richard Griffiths, UK

A true, international city of culture with a buzz
Norman, UK
Liverpool is a true, international city of culture with a buzz. I moved here 30 years ago and I still think it has something unique. In recent years I've visited Prague, Madrid, Barcelona and Porto. Liverpool is in the same league for that feeling that you are living somewhere real. Well done Liverpool. A lot of hard work has gone into your success.
Norman, UK

Well the Beatles came from there I suppose (if you must count that as a plus) and scores of unfunny comedians, and I will write back in a few days when I can think of something cultural about Liverpool.
Amanda, England

If Ricky Tomlinson, Atomic Kitten and Jemini are more cultured than the Bollywood industry, JRR Tolkien and Shakespeare in the Birmingham bid, the industrious history of Bristol and the advances Newcastle has gone through in the 90s, then I'm my own father.
Paul, UK

Culture isn't Oxford's spires or Newcastle's grit. It's Liverpool's unique quality and lively wit. We're a civilised society, a city that cares. With traditions and an accent extremely rare. It's our roots, our background, our ethnicity - that's what made us what we are. A world in one city.
Jim Brade, Liverpool 8

Liverpool, Capital of Culture? It should be capital of litter.
Jon Griffiths, UK

Liverpool has always been a victim of press manipulation. We have never been praised for all the good things that go on in the city yet the slightest hint of bad news is always front page news. It is about time the press realised it is a great city.
Alison McCormack, England

Liverpool relied on its history to win
Joshua, Australia
Liverpool relied on its history to win whilst Newcastle has dramatically changed itself from an industrial heartland to a city of museums and modern galleries. Plus the Costa del Tyne looks better than the Mersey any day.
Joshua, Australia

Living in the north west, I think it's fantastic Liverpool has been chosen. All the contenders have gained enormously out of the competition. I now know a lot more about the cultural attributes of all the other cities as a result and plan to visit them. It's a shame there has to be bitterness between contenders - as we should be all be proud.
Catherine, UK

About the only thing that could be cultured in Liverpool is mould.
Duncan, UK

I moved back to Bristol after living in Birmingham for 15 years. Bristol has progressed rapidly in culture, style and opportunity. Diversity in a busy town life, historic Clifton (little London) with the waterfront, and the Mendips only 15 minutes away. Where else can you have countryside so vast against a trendy and metropolitan lifestyle?
Shawn Allan, Bristol

Eh, calm down you lot! Of course Liverpool deserved to win! May their unique culture of perms and shell suits be an inspiration to us all.
Phil, UK

Have you people ever been to Liverpool, or, do you just remember Boys from the Black Stuff and the like?
Tony Jennings, England

Of course Liverpool should be Capital of Culture. This is the city that gave us Jemini after all.
Scott, UK

Good news for Liverpool, but I suspect more than a little inverted New Labour snobbery about Oxford, which loses a chance to show itself as something more than a playground of the rich - and may now become exactly that as people remain unchallenged about their preconceptions. Why not go ahead anyway? A festival unblessed by the New Establishment might be even better...
Mark, Oxford, UK

Excellent - a more than deserving winner. And that coming from an Oxford resident who's more than happy to see the pretentious Oxford snob set get one in the eye. We didn't deserve it whatsoever, the city relies on past glories, has virtually no culture or life outside academia circles and offers little to the youth of today (well, those not at university anyway) - so quit whining!
Gaz H, UK

I have never been so nervous listening to Radio Merseyside in my life. IT'S BRILLIANT.
David Pyke, England

Well, it's not surprising, but it's sad. Other countries give us Krakow, Prague and Salamanca. We come up with Liverpool and Glasgow. I think the point is being missed by us yet again. May I use this forum to apologise to the rest of Europe!
Jonathan, UK

Was this about culture or who needs the money the most?
Andrew Hardy, Northumberland
What a complete joke, was this about culture or who needs the money the most? Over to you for that one Tessa.
Andrew Hardy, Northumberland

Deep down we all knew that Liverpool would win from the start. Just like we knew that Wembley would remain the site of the new national stadium, we knew that all the other cities in this 'shortlist' were only there to make up the numbers. Unfortunately some 'cool' cities get everything (like London, Manchester and Liverpool) and others are only shortlisted for the look of the thing. Good luck with this Liverpool, but (despite living near Cardiff) I think that Birmingham would have been best.
Chris Hollett, UK

Labour heartland city wins - shock. Oxford is miles the best candidate but that would never do for this government.
Jon Cooper, UK

I'm delighted but I am afraid I must put some posters right. This is not a Labour stronghold. We have a Liberal-led council here so the charges of nepotism are unfounded - in this case!
Ian Jones, Liverpool, UK

If it is meeting a fabulous bunch of people then Liverpool is your city
David, England
Yes, the right city won, I'm from London but I have visited all the candidate cities and if it is museums, architecture, history, music, bars or just meeting a fabulous bunch of people then Liverpool is your city. Well done Liverpool!
David, England

The test is, would Liverpool be top of your list of places to visit in 2008? Personally I'd rather visit Newcastle, Cardiff and Oxford in that order (I live in Bristol!). Liverpool has won on its past reputation (Beatles and all that) and the fact it is well known outside UK.
C Collett, UK

Thank God for that. It was a close run thing but with Liverpool being Cherie's home town Newcastle never really stood a chance. Well done Liverpool. I wish you well with what is probably the biggest poisoned chalice after an international sports competition. Stand by to see your council tax double, your services decline still further and a small influx of people you wouldn't ask into your home.
Ian, England

Are you kidding? OK the city needs the money but this takes the mick out of what culture is supposed to be.
Chris Weston, England

There was only ever one winner. Liverpool's bid was the best. As Paul McCartney said "Capital of Culture? Capital of the universe". Now everyone will find out.
Tommy Jones, England

Liverpool is only really famous for scallies!
Si, UK
Hopefully they will do something good with the money. After all, Liverpool is only really famous for a 60s band and a football team - oh yes, and scallies!
Si, UK

Liverpool won because the people of this city have remained loyal and accepted change. The bid team have worked diligently by proving our achievements and what can be achieved in the next five years. So to all of you who think we're still a bunch of scallies: Come and judge for yourself, the city and people of Liverpool have matured and are deserved winners.
Gill Sisson, UK

What a huge, huge disappointment that Newcastle/Gateshead didn't win. Just look at the tremendous changes that have and are being made to the cities. Why Liverpool? It should have gone to Birmingham or Cardiff if Newcastle/Gateshead were not to win. In the lead up to the announcement, the commentary on the BBC indicated Liverpool was going to win by saying they had the most to benefit! Let's hope Liverpool does something to deserve the name.
Helen Cox, England

What difference does it make whether a city is a capital of culture or not? This is nothing more than the designer branding of a city, and serves as much purpose as a soluble lifejacket.
Andy, UK

Good luck to Liverpool. But this just proves that the north east never gets any support from anyone, not even a Labour government the people have supported. I think this was purely a political decision and a kick in the teeth for my region.
Douglas Grant, UK


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