Sunday, May 18, 2008

In Her Liverpool Home

Living just a mile or so from Crosby, I know the area well; its shops, restaurants, general amenities &, ahem, its pubs. Insofar as its social composition is concerned, it has always been perceived to be a middle class part of Merseyside. That may no longer be the case in some quarters, but it has historically been viewed as a place of local social mobility. I mention all this because of Cherie Blair's description of herself as a working class Scouser. Leaving aside some of the more cringeworthy extracts from her autobiography, "Speaking For Myself" (the contradictory Catholic girl who forgets to take her "contraceptive equipment" to Balmoral), I was struck by the references to her upbringing in Ferndale Road & some PR releases describing it as rough.
As an article on the Liverpool Confidential website notes, "Cherie's childhood home in Ferndale Road, off St. John's Road in Waterloo, is one of the desirable 'Dales', surrounded by nice restaurants and shops, where currently a three bed terrace is a respectacle 142k [$280,000]" (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.com/index.asp?Sessionx=IpqiNwEiNwXokaqiNwF6IHqi&realname=Not_Strictly_Confidential_ ).
Actually, LC's estimate is some £30,000 short, but that's by the by.
Part of the PR push for her tome was conducted via yesterday's Guardian, in which Martin Kettle gave her the kid-glove treatment (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/may/17/cherieblair.politicalbooks ).
Attempting to perpetuate this ersatz proletarian upbringing for the young Cherie, Kettle notes she will be satisfied "' if young Liverpudlians, as she once was, realise that a girl from working class Liverpool can make it in the legal profession through a good education and perhaps some good fortune. '"
The Guardian piece doesn't stop there, however. Prepare for hollow laughter. Kettle asks if she considers herself a socialist. Her response?
"Yes, I do. You know I do. I have no problem with saying I am a socialist or with saying I am a feminist. That's how I was when I was 15 and, you know, I haven't grown out of it and probably never will."
And what of her husband, Kettle asks: "I'm probably the only person in the country who insists my husband is a socialist."
Tony's response to this? "He does his usual thing. He smiles and rolls his eyes and knows exactly what I mean."
Good, I'm glad at least your husband does. Can't say the same about the rest of us.
It's also worth noting her evasive response to Kettle's questions about the Iraq war.
Oh, by the way, Cherie, your socialism seems to be of a novel nature if you actively sought to seek imprisonment for a man who couldn't pay the poll tax while the Tories were still in office (http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-4776085.html ).
Is that in your book, too?

1 comment:

Angie @ Liverpool Confidential said...

Ha! Was our 142k estimate being conservative with a small c, based, as it was, on data re the most recent house sale in Ferndale? Who knows?

You won't get me arguing though. I too live in Waterloo and am happy to lash on an extra £30,000 to our gaff, credit crunch or not. Bring it on, as they say!