On the surface, many rants about Liverpool seem simplistic: scallies causing more than their fair share of trouble, a general lack of respect between younger and older generations, the prevalence of drug and alcohol addiction – all of these on the surface seem like a recipe for a terrible place to live: but the problem is much more serious than that, in the sense that this city will grind you down and destroy the person that you are if you are not careful, as anyone who does not conform to the abhorrent ideals of what it means to be a citizen of Liverpool (which I will go into later) and is in contact with the undesirable enforcers of these rules, which happen to be a minority of tracksuit-clad youths of around 25 and under – just like World War One: if you put your head over the parapet, you will be gunned down. Whether it is your self-esteem, your confidence, your enthusiasm for life – you must surrender it to survive.
For a city with such a long and glorious history of wealth, ingenuity and hard work, Liverpool is socially in decline – though there are many shining examples of why Liverpool is considered by some a success – for many unfortunate people, such as myself, Liverpool is like an obstacle course whereby one must continually dodge the s**m that litter the street corners and shopping rows of even reputable areas in order to go about ones daily business.
At this point I must say that not all youths are as I describe in Liverpool – quite the opposite in fact – this is a case where around 9/10ths of the people in the city are honest, decent, helpful, friendly and kind, and this applies to both younger and older people in the city who for the most part would tie themselves in knots to help their fellow man – this is focused about the remaining tenth, who see fit to terrorise and ruin, who see no repercussions in their actions and who see difference as a threat. This minority is what you will encounter most often in the city, known locally as “scallies,” they are instantly recognisable by their uniform of branded tracksuits and branded trainers, their propensity to hurl abuse or objects at individuals on a whim and their general inconsideration for the rest of the world; whether it be graffiting, smoking drugs, robbery or assault (or any combination thereof) it is all neatly packed into their repetoire.
The major problem with scallies is “escalation.” This is where any retaliation to their ills leads to ever increasing problems – a large amount of violent crime in Liverpool stems from such escalation, where even simple tiffs on the street can build up to stabbings and shootings with alarming momentum. Communicating with the Police is a problem too – anyone seen to do that (even if it is in their own benefit to do so) is labelled a “grass” and further escalation ensues. The crime detection rate in Merseyside is less than 40%, showing that this damaging behaviour is ingrained in the local culture – law abiding citizens are left in fear of what may happen if they try to protect themselves.
Scallies love to target people who aren’t like them, or to put it another way, people who will not fight back – particularly if they outnumber you, so on the off-chance that they accidentally abuse someone who would plant them in the ground, they always have the “safety in numbers” approach – you will never encounter an individual scally who will flex his proverbial muscles, they will always wait for backup.
I suppose I could ask: “How did it get like this?” When did we get to the point where children and grown adults of all shapes and sizes came off second-best to adolescent punks? The answer is quite complex really – people who shouldn’t be having kids are having them both early and numerous: alcoholic, drug-abusing people seem to attract each other in Liverpool like flies to horse dung and bump their benefits up with a child or two: never mind the kid’s welfare when the local off-license has an offer on. Pregnant women smoking is another fine sight in this fair city, even I was surprised at the amount I have seen this week alone. These fine examples of parenting give birth to God’s little angels and let them roam the streets until all hours – childhood mischief turns into anti-social behaviour or criminal activity easily with no strong parental role model available. Couple this with dismally low performance at schools for such offspring (“why work hard when my dad gets paid to sit on his a**e anyway”, or “trying makes my brain hurt so I’ll throw a tantrum instead”) and you are left with a generation of people who are exisitng in a veritable vaccum of knowledge and self-esteem, assuming the lazy parents are too wasted to give their kids a hug once in a while.
This is a sure-fire recipe for young alcoholism, teen pregnancy, dole scroungers and best of all, the scally. The king of his own universe (even if it is only outside a chippy) who will enforce his rule on all unsuspecting passers-by. Who knows only hate, and not love, and by terrorising indescriminately succeeds, by sheer volume, to have adults on the back foot. That, and the law makes them practically invulnerable to punishment – I get assaulted, they get an ASBO or an “electronic tag,” and I get labelled a grass for going to the police; I physically defend myself and it’s jail time for assaulting a minor.
To those amazing parents out there in Liverpool who love their children and each other, who read to them and spend all their time nurturing and caring for them, I thank you: you make all the difference. I hope your generation re-adresses the balance in this once great city. To all the young people who are reading this going “None of this applies to me!” then thank you for taking the time to read what I have had to say, I hope that at least some of this has resonated with you. To any scallies reading this who are saying “This guy’s a f****t and I’m steaming mad!” or whatever you say these days, I hope you can see just what this city thinks of people like you, and know that your time will come to an end one day soon. To those who have been on the receiving end of the abuse and torment, I say this, BE confident, BE enthusiastic, BE AN INDIVIDUAL! Above all, you know in your heart what the best course of action is when you are in contact with these little thugs. HINT – it’s not hitting them over the head with a cricket bat (as they are far too big to conceal in your coat!)