Winners?

There's a short Brian Friel play beloved of younger actors entitled "Lovers: Winners." I performed in it many times myself until I was far too old to fool someone into thinking I was a schoolboy... Actually "Winners" also has a partner-piece entitled "Losers", but it is often performed on its own... What makes one set of "Lovers" into winners while the others are losers is that in the former, (SPOILER ALERT) the young lovers die early... while in the latter the lovers live on into an acrimonious old age...
Towards the end of last week a news story all over the TV was that 12 town centres were "Winners" of a government initiative aimed at regeneration, dubbed "Portas Pilots", because of the involvement of TV retail-guru Mary Portas. She is now dubbed the "high street Tsar" - boy I loathe the use of the word "Tsar", given that Tsars were autocratic despots - just what you need for a sustainable grassroots mindset change, a few well-targeted pogroms! Well Mary is going to assist them with their plans to rejuvenate their tired old town centres... and presumably make a TV programme out of it! They get around £100,000 each, but it is being emphasised that it isn't about the money, which is a good job since that amount won't go far in this day and age.
But I'm intrigued by the use of the word "winners" - they are only winners in this particular process, where they have had to force their way to the front of a fairly substantial queue of equally run-down town centres... They are the winners of the losers...
It's a bit like the bizarre phenomenon here in Northern Ireland when an area suddenly finds itself in the bottom 10% of electoral wards on a series of socio-economic measures (the unfortunately named "Noble Indices" - has there ever been a more ignoble index?)... When that happens local community, voluntary and statutory bodies are suddenly torn between compassion for the real life impact that such measures represent (which they were probably aware of anyway) and rejoicing that such a statistic will make it marginally more easy to draw down funding... Hence losers, become winners...
Now that may be less true in today's economically straitened times... indeed it may be that there will need to be a competition between groups in such areas now, with each requiring an action plan that might have a TV spin-off (so Jeremy Kyle-esque dysfunctional families may counter-intuitively become an asset)... We're not that far off the Hunger Games at this rate...
Winners?
We'll see...
Cheers

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