The centre of the community is the Job Centre

I was sitting in an unmarked van parked adjacent to a North Liverpool Job Centre Plus building.  Next to the van, but not connected with us, were some ‘Scallies’ doing a drugs deal.  When the dealer had left to go inside the Job Centre to sign on, the two others, one of which had just bought the skunk from the signing-on-erer, remained outside to smoke it.

(NOT the North Liverpool Job Centre or the Scallies we witnessed)

There is a level of fear and intimidation, mixed with custom, tradition and knowing nothing else, combined with no local policing of any significance, that allows skunk to be smoked openly and never challenged, so this in itself was nothing unusual for North Liverpool.

We listened to the conversation and were able to deduce that quite a few different dealers bring dope with them to sell as part of their trip to sign-on, with different people being available to buy from on different days.  One guy actually turns up on days when he doesn’t have to sign-on, such is his level of trafficking!

What bemused us the most was one chap moaning about how he could no longer use the free-to-use phones inside the Job Centre in order to co-ordinate with his suppliers and customers.  Apparently, in the old days there were phones on the wall and you could call any number from them.  You just walked into the Job Centre, sat down at one and used it in whatever way you wished, like your own private ‘hot-desk’.

Obviously at some point the Job Centre had noticed a phenomenal phone bill and so it disabled the phones by removing the handsets, only giving them out to those proving they were phoning a potential employer, with Security Guards hovering around waiting for the handset to be unplugged and given back.  This meant that suddenly the ‘Scallies’ were forced to use their own credit on their mobiles, or the mobiles they’d stolen from others, in order to make outgoing calls.   They weren’t happy about this change in their fortunes.

Attending the Job Centre, well, hanging around outside it, is a major convention of drug dealing and trading in stolen goods, apparently, for this wonderful underbelly of all that should be terminated with extreme prejudice in scumbag society.  Indeed, there did seem to be many more milling around and coming and going than were actually entering the Job Centre itself.

A small car-park adjacent to the Job Centre saw most of the action, with any number of fairly recently plated vehicles coming and going and people hopping from one car to another and then getting back out and into their own and driving off again, deal having been done.  Add to these the large number of works vans full of obvious tradesmen (covered in building site stuff or paint, etc.) who would drop a person off and wait for them whilst they went into the Job Centre to, one assumes, sign-on as unemployed.

I suppose that years ago the traditional community ‘centre’ was the church.  It is still the case that the mosque is the community centre for today’s Muslims, with Friday prayers being the most social occasion.  I assume this used to be the case for Christians on Sundays.  However, with Christianity so rapidly declining, and with most of the locals being so work-shy, I can only assume that at some point the local Job Centre, which they are forced to attend far more so than people used to be forced to attend church, took over the role as the community’s centre.

I don’t think this is a good thing!