It’s ironic that Liverpool football fans sing the Rodgers and Hammerstein song about going through tough times. In fact, as Liverpool people know, it’s only when you smile that the world smiles with you.
People in Britain seem to have turned on Liverpool because it’s a city not afraid to show itself as it really is, a true representation of the pitiful situation in the UK, and we don’t like that.
Liverpool’s close neighbour, Manchester, on the other hand, is a city that shows off constantly. According to the British media, Manchester is how we should all be in the UK, living on credit, greedy, and faking our confidence. Manchester is tough luck Britain written large. It’s the place where the Peterloo massacre took place. It’s the place where Friedrich Engels learned about the condition of the British working classes, and inspired Karl Marx. Manchester has always been saying, “tough luck Britain”. Manchester is proud of its gun trouble. Liverpool made the mistake of daring to analyse, and we really, really don’t like that.
The patronising London view used to be that Liverpool was the last bastion of decent working class English. The lovable cor-blimey-ma’am chirpy chappie was last seen in the 1980s Tell Sid adverts when Thatcher sold off British Gas. In popular mythology, Liverpool did not show its wealth or poverty. It upheld the family unit post-911, post-Diana, post-Thatcher. Mawkish TV shows played on the decency: Bread, and Boys From the Black Stuff.
But everything has just changed with the Rhys Jones murder. Now Liverpool is portrayed as wallowing in self-pity by Member of Parliament Boris Johnson. Actually, Liverpool is outraged by what has happened. But what about the rest of Britain? Will we have forgotten about it by next week?
Liverpool born John Lennon made a film with Yoko, Imagine, a year in their life, in 1970. It’s an avant garde mess of disjointed acting and imagery. At least it only lasts an hour. BBC4 are showing it constantly. I taped it and watched it several times. I was amazed by the vision of the World Trade Centre that appears briefly. Without knowing about the significance 31 years on, John and Yoko reached a pinnacle of artistic prescience. The WTC was completed that year. Maybe John and Yoko knew what lay ahead.