Most people in the North-West won’t have heard of Iain Dale before.
He’s not a leftie or a hat tipping sycophant going on and on about how wonderful Liverpool is, even though it obviously isn’t.
He’s Liverpool’s latest honorary bad man.
Liverpudlians, and those living in other parts of Merseyside, who, for whatever awful reason, consider that somehow means they can also call themselves ‘Scousers’ even when they aren’t, don’t like it when the truth comes out about them or their ways or traditions or habitat.
When an ‘outsider’ tells it as it is, the guns are put down, the hoods are pulled back on the obligatory charcoal coloured Great North attire, and all join together to spit hatred and bile … forever.
They did it about the Sun newspaper, complete with threats to burn-out newsagents stocking it, they blame everything bad on Margaret Thatcher even though we’ve suffered the Blair and Brown years since her reign which made things so much worse in this region, they hate Boris Johnson and Kelvin MacKenzie, and of course anything vaguely Tory.
Iain Dale is not vaguely Tory. He’s very Tory. He’s exactly what Liverpudlians and their faux-Scouser neighbours are inbred to hate. Even more so when recently here to cover the Labour party conference he subsequently wrote this on his blog (www.iaindale.com):
Look, I’m going to be honest. So far, I have found Liverpool to be a ghastly city. The Albert dock area is lovely, but from what I have seen of the rest of it, it makes Gaza look welcoming. It’s now that I understand perfectly why lots of famous people profess to love Liverpool so much they move away at the first opportunity and never return if they can help it. Driving in on Sunday it was quite apparent that what money the council has had has been blown on regenerating the docks area to the exclusion of everywhere else. There seem to be a large number of second world war bomb sites which haven’t been touched in 60 years. It gives a terrible impression to people visiting for the first time. And then there’s the Adelphi Hotel. A shocker. I vaguely remember watching a fly on the wall documentary about it a few years ago. Believe me, it hasn’t got any better. They are charging £189 a night for a room with no internet, no mini bar, a room service menu which has a choice of two things and which is only available for an hour a day (OK, I exaggerate a little on that) and a TV which was built circa 1976. Oh, and its car park resembles a Kevin Webster style MoT bay. But the bathroom does have a set of bathroom scales, so that’s nice. What an absolute dive of a hotel. I know Liverpool has many fans. A good friend of mine loves the place. She regularly comes here for weekend breaks. God alone knows why. If I never came back again ever, it would be too soon. I suspect the feeling will be mutual after this.
As an ex-Londoner searching for more than the usual conversations on the radio discussing all that is inane about Liverpool, I regularly tune to London’s LBC. Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, but mainly it’s because listening to local talking radio in Liverpool is like listening to talking radio or phone-in radio from the 1970s in London.
So, as a random LBC listener I hear Iain Dale’s nightly broadcasts, and I can enjoy them. Hence, how I already know of him way ahead of him daring to tell it like it is about Liverpool.
And, although all the usual haters have started to come out to bad mouth Iain, the fact is he told it like it is.
There are aspects of the riverside developments that are breathtaking and imposing and make the place look excellent. However, nearly everywhere else is, for want of a better description, shit.
There are areas, especially on the approach from the M62 which do look like war-torn Gaza and bomb sites that haven’t been cleared in 60 years. Fact.
The two hugely popular football clubs at Anfield and Walton are surrounded by boarded-up slums with barely lit streets that regularly house the alcies, junkies and prostitutes. How unimpressive they must look to those from around the world on pilgrimages to Liverpool or Everton FC!
There is money around. It gets wasted on ridiculous left-wing pet ‘art’ and ‘culture’ projects that benefit only the wealthy chattering classes, rather than being used to actually clean the place up, knock down the ‘bomb-sites’, and feed and water the non-working classes.
The city centre looks ok, but as soon as you are on any of the approaches to it there’s the dereliction and quite intimidating streets of dilapidation, even in areas that have supposedly been earmarked for ‘regeneration’ for decades now.
That’s the way it is, and that’s what Iain Dale saw.
If you don’t like it, fix it. But, stop your damn moaning about people telling it the way it is.
Get over yourselves, Liverpool.