I listened to a caller on the Pete Price radio phone-in show as he could barely contain himself.
He was seething.
A lot of Pete Price callers seethe.
Usually the more coherent seethe about anything that gives them an opportunity to mention Margaret Thatcher and how wonderful the trade unions were back in the 1970s until she came along and spoiled everything. Seething about decades ago is very important to old fashioned Liverpudlians.
Seething about modern day things is restricted to complaining about ‘the bedroom tax’ and how dare people not give them all the money needed to allow them to continue to rattle around in a huge free house, or how the reason they’ve never ever worked is because all the Polish people have all the jobs.
The Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 Liverpudlian souls were lost by being crushed to death was a terrible tragedy. What followed during the subsequent 24 years was a most peculiar collection of slurs, cover-ups, claims and counter claims, inquests and unanswered campaigns for ‘truth’, all of which, coldly, compounded the paranoia and anger of those mourning the 96. Scousers by their nature are suspicious and argumentative people. Scousers constantly nurse a chip on their shoulder that seems to be against anybody who isn’t Scouse. They hate them all and life is never ‘fair’ as they will tell you in long wordy unstoppable whines.
When it comes to the post-Hillsborough disaster events, the whine is absolutely justified. There are so many injustices, and those who lost loved ones have been repeatedly treated disgustingly.
One of the continuing issues they also have is the newspaper The Sun. Back when things were very very raw, The Sun ran a made-up front page story about Liverpool supporters robbing the dead and dying, highlighting the drunk and drugged supporters who had no respect for the hurt and dying at Hillsborough. Overnight, sales of The Sun stopped across Liverpool, and to this day remain minuscule. Over the years, Liverpudlians usually not associated with any of the families, have used intimidation against anybody stocking The Sun, with shopkeepers being beaten or abused should they not know that they are not allowed to sell The Sun.
To be fair, a lot of conscious decisions on the part of newsagents is behind why The Sun is not on sale anywhere in Liverpool, but overwhelmingly, the further you get from the Anfield football ground, most of the reasons are the continual and continuing threats and bullying that a small group of ‘urban terrorists’ regularly use against those who do not comply. It’s very similar to the thuggery that accompanied flying pickets intimidating mine workers trying to get to work back in the 1980s.
Personally, I use my free choice to not buy The Sun (actually I never buy any newspaper, newspapers are so last century), rather than fear of being punished by a mental Scouser if I don’t comply to his demands to not buy it.
A new newsagent, usually of Pakistani origin rather than of local seething anger extraction, will come into the area, unaware of the terrorism he will face for innocently stocking the ‘wrong’ newspaper. Hey, newsagent shops catch fire, right?
Indeed, there’s a story doing the rounds of a visiting theatre company, made up of young folk from all over the country, but mainly from ‘down south‘ (the Scouser’s pet hatred), who innocently brought with them copies of The Sun they had freely bought whilst at a venue in another part of the country. On seeing the newspaper a very angry ‘shop steward’ screamed in the face of the 24 year old sound technician perpetrator, and called the local workforce to boycott working with her until, in tears, she tore it into shreds in front of him and apologised for not knowing The Sun was so evil. Ignorance was no excuse the frightened girl was told. It was as if the 1970s had never left us.
Time is never allowed to heel, and the grudge and chip on the shoulders of the Scouser is there forever. Yet, in the world outside of the bubble of Liverpool, people slowly mature, make peace, forgive and forget, and life moves on. In this outside world, The Sun is currently doing a deal with Jamie Oliver. Articles about him, his views, and his random recipes, are all appearing in The Sun. In return, he’s on the TV commercials promoting The Sun.
However, this incensed the phone-in caller to a point where his veins were exploding with each heart-beat. How dare Jamie Oliver align himself with the sworn enemy of true Liverpudlians? How dare he, seethed the caller virtually dying from the scalding of the steam from his own outrage.
Jamie Oliver has an Italian restaurant in the middle of the touristy part of Liverpool, not too unlike the Italian restaurants he has in a number of places around the country. So, Mr Seethe was gasping out, in-between hyper-ventilating, that everybody must now boycott the restaurant.
Jamie Oliver mustn’t be allowed to ‘get away’ with an association with The Sun. He must be punished. Via the radio the call was made, placards would be needed, picketing would be in order, the restaurant must die!
And this is the mind-set of the common Liverpudlian, stuck deep in the past, never moving forward, never wanting to build bridges, always looking for the next victim to intimidate and force to comply with his view.