Monday, July 04, 2011

Selective Amnesia Greets Toxteth Anniversary

I haven't always agreed with Ed Vulliamy's impressions of Liverpool over the years, but his piece for yesterday's Observer on the 30th anniversary of the Toxteth riots ( ) is to be commended.
Not to be commended, however, is a typically shaky editorial on the subject in today's Oldham Echo ( ).
The Echo asserts that the riots "created headlines around the world, and was just the start of a decade in which so many stories about Liverpool would tell of political confrontation, anger and economic despair."
Claiming a link, however tenuous, between the riots & events such as the city's local government battle with the Tories a couple of years later smacks of lazy journalism.
The Echo also goes on to deliver a breathtakingly bogus assumption:
"We were all taken by surprise thirty years ago, by what seemed to be a sudden madness that gripped Toxteth and other inner city communities around the country."
Not all of us were taken by surprise. Many older people in the city, not just in Liverpool 8 itself, expressed their astonishment that the riots hadn't occurred some years earlier, given the depth of deprivation & discrimination that was rife.
As for the Echo's coverage & reaction to the riots back in 1981, I seem to recall the paper handing its front page over to Alan Bleasedale for an anguished "calm down, lads" piece. Well-intentioned, but hopelessly naive & out of touch.
Yes, we shouldn't forget the lessons of the riots, but Oldham Hall Street ignored them at the time & downplays them today.

"In the Echo they get it wrong", Piggie in the Middle Eight by Cook Da Books ( ).  

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