Manchester’s violent night-time culture claims another victim

Michael Flint, an 18-year-old father from Glossop, was found in a critical condition outside the Spar shop on London Road at 10pm on Saturday, July 4. He died in intensive care the following Friday.

Seven men and one woman were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and violent disorder and have been bailed until October pending further inquiries.

I have personally witnessed at least ten violent incidents in recent years, just doing my grocery shopping late at night in the city centre or walking through. That includes a fight in that same Spar shop in which a shop-worker was left bleeding. And two neighbours of mine were robbed at knifepoint outside the shop on two separate occasions. Despite this, I wouldn’t say that particular spot is worse than anywhere else in the city centre. It is all bad.

But while people continue to die in alcohol-fuelled violence and accidents, feeble local politicians and Manchester City Council refuse to face up to the situation they have created.

There has been a phenomenal rise in the number of licences granted for bars over the past 15 years. Instead of the ‘cafe’ culture we were promised, the reality is that a violent low-brow binge-drinking culture has been created in the city at night.

That, in turn, has driven out older people and forced alternative all-night businesses to close. The EasyEverything cafe and Tesco on Market Street being just two of them. Tesco closed after a member of staff ran out to help a customer who was being attacked and the employee himself was beaten up so badly that he ended up needing a metal plate in his skull. Tesco’s windows were being smashed almost on a weekly basis, according to staff.

The powers that be could close troublesome venues or restrict licences and opening hours, but that would risk hitting the profits of the big alcohol-related businesses that create this hellish atmosphere and benefit financially from it. So, instead, vast sums of public money are spent on policing and by Manchester City Council on idiotic schemes like the fence that is going to be built along Canal Street.

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