One of the main things I noticed when I was banned from London and had to become a New Scouser was how much hatred there was for me from the Old Scousers.
Well, not hatred for ‘me’ for being ‘me’, but hatred for me being from ‘the South’. (It was only after people got to know me that they learned to hate me for being me.)
You see, for Old Scousers, the South is where Margaret Thatcher and ‘them bastard Tory toffs’ live. In their heads anybody coming from ‘down South’ is a Tory invader and to be treated with suspicion. The old guard socialist republic of Liverpool hates, well, most things, but top of the list is Margaret Thatcher, then comes Tories, then the Sun newspaper, Muslims, foreigners, anybody with a job, people who earn more than the Living Wage, people not wearing a cloth cap, Wooly backs, Manchester. The rules of hatred are inbred and date back to the original divisions that these days they conveniently forget.
You see the Old Scousers are predominantly Irish Catholic immigrants, which always makes it sound extremely odd when they spout their racism, as they are historically not ‘locals’ either. Indeed, all the sad Northern Ireland divides are here too for the Old Scousers. The Catholics have their football team Everton, the Protestants have their team Liverpool, and the old hatreds play out on the terraces or during the marching season.
Liverpool is these days far from being the hotbed of hatred the Old Scousers want to try and keep it. This is because of the rapid dilution. The Old Scousers are slowly being outnumbered. The population swells when it’s University time. Newcomers like me are arriving and settling here. We are the New Scousers.
I recently had an interesting discussion with a couple of Old Scousers. They’d been born and bred in ‘tha Scottie Rowd’ but were now living outside of the boundaries of Liverpool. In quite posh areas, too. Their children had been born outside of Liverpool. I put it to them that true Scousers were those with permanent residence or work in Liverpool. Not outside of Liverpool. In Liverpool. I postulated that this made me far more of a Scouser than them.
Indeed, when they were going on about “Liverpool this” or “Liverpool that” how dare they! They had nothing to do with Liverpool, and so should butt out of trying to have any say over things Liverpool. On the other hand, I told them with an extremely straight face, Liverpool was mine now, and I could say what I wanted to say about it.
Remember I mentioned that it was only after people got to know me that they learned to hate me for me? Well, this encounter was one of those times.
But, I am a New Scouser. My rights of say about Liverpool should and do exceed theirs.
Heck, when I was a kid I lived in South Wales, in West Africa, in Brighton. I would never claim to have anything but history with those places. I am certainly not a stakeholder, nor do I proudly wave a Brightonian flag or support Brighton and Hove Albion. Most of my adult life was spent in North and then East London as part of the now non-existent English communities. I do not live in London now, so other than jealously harking after their simple, 24 hour and intertwined public transport system to replace our over complex unfathomable one, and their diversity in radio stations (pirate and legit), I have nothing to say about today’s London. Nor should I, I’m a Scouser now.
In fact, I’m a New Scouser. New Scousers don’t shout and whine all the time, not even about ‘the bedroom tax’. New Scousers don’t hang around outside betting shops smoking roll-ups, sweat and stink of skunk and cannabis, and are not full of hatred of anybody to the right of Jeremy Corbyn. Us New Scousers love Liverpool and the opportunities and potential that is being realised here.
To me, as a New Scouser, there is nothing more exciting than the ‘tech quarter’ as it is leading the way with innovation and putting Liverpool on the map when it comes to bright new ideas. Likewise the thriving pulsing new media and music and theatrical artists that are pushing the boundaries when it comes to original entertainment encouraged and blossoming in Liverpool.
My city’s skyline is exciting and alive. Where once there was embarrassing devastation and neglect when the Old Scousers dominated, there is brilliant regeneration and hope. New Scousers are just getting on with it all.
Meanwhile it is the remaining yet slowly dwindling Old Scousers that, like the final bit of cancer than needs to be cut out, keep trying to bring my city to its knees by living in the past instead of embracing the future. Their drugs and their alcoholism keeps them living off the rest of us in their free houses and extensive handouts, doing nothing much more than not understanding the exciting new world around them, and whining on in their drug induced paranoia about the fact that it’s no longer the 1970s.
Sadly for the Old Scousers, they are missing out what we New Scousers are enjoying: the beauty of today and the wonder of tomorrow in Liverpool.