“Liverpool has always seen itself as separate from the rest of the country. As a city, it has more in common with Belfast and Glasgow than it does with London. There was the big influx of Irish and, because it’s a port, it’s always been international. We look to America and Ireland – to New York and Dublin – more than we look to London.” – Roy Gladden
On June 23rd 2016 the votes were in and the decision was out. Depending on how you voted, that may be a good or a bad thing. The decision has since spurred an epidemic of suggestions for Liverpool to leave the UK. An Independent Liverpool or Merseyside, eh? Imagine that. Due to our namesake, we’ve spent the last three years fending off allegations regarding whether we’re either a lifeboat society or trying to break Liverpool away from the UK. The answer to the former has always been “no” and the answer to the latter has always been “not intentionally” and when we tell them “we’re a membership card”, you can see the anarchist in them slowly dwindle. We’ve always joked about with the idea, as have many of you, but as time has gone on there seems to be a lot less humour in it. Mere suggestions of us breaking away has amassed thousands of support, just as long as we take The Wirral with us. I’m sure we could find space for you lovely bunch.
Photo by Dave Sinclair
So, for a bit of fun, what would an Independent Merseyside look like? Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time it has been suggested. Thirty years ago left-wingers in Liverpool, bitterly opposed to Margaret Thatcher, attempted to oppose central government and go their own way. It’s not just the accent that makes Liverpool feel a bit foreign to outsiders. Geographically and politically, Liverpool is a city on the edge of Britain. At no time was this truer than in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Once the great port of the British Empire, Liverpool lost 80,000 jobs between 1972 and 1982 as the docks closed and its manufacturing sector shrank by 50%. The unemployment and poverty caused by the collapse of Liverpool’s economy produced the ideal recruiting ground for an ultra-left-wing movement operating within the Labour party. Known as the Militant Tendency, it had sprung from a Trotskyist group called the Revolutionary Socialist League and its goals included widespread nationalisation and embarking on a massive programme of public works. It didn’t end up quite as planned, for more info read here.
Photo by Dave Sinclair
Well then, what do we think of an Independent Merseyside? It sure as hell sounds fun. Scouse for breakfast, Ricky Tomlinson for Prime Minister and “Hey Jude” as our national anthem. Is it possible? Maybe. Is it likely? Probably not. Is it fun to image? Very. For us, the future of Liverpool, this country and this world remains solely on unity. The elite like us separate, we’re a lot easier to conquer that way. We would like to use this opportunity to thank the EU for all they’ve done for this city. A city once left to rot, where our decline would be managed, we’re now a force to be reckoned with. You could argue we could have done it with our own money and there’s a case for that, but we’ll never know.
We can make it through the unknown, but it has to be hand in hand.