Of all the things you would have thought would lead me to blubbing like a baby this week it was actually Nick Griffin that pushed me over the edge.
For the last two nights I’ve been woken by helicopters, my phone buzzing into a breakdown and the odd rumble and shout. I live just off Lawrence Road. This morning my little neighbourhood was on the front of newspapers as far flung as New York. My little community with the lollipop man who always says hello, the Halal food shop whose owner always smokes outside and the catalogue furniture shop which to be honest I only tell people about so it doesn’t close (it is an absolute treasure trove just don’t tell everyone, yeah?).
This is my home. I’ve lived around here for years, moving to near Lawrence Road to buy one of their excellent little two bed first time buyer start homes three years ago. It ain’t perfect, sometimes it ain’t pretty, but it’s my home.
But now it’s something else. Now, it’s a street that people put on the front of a newspaper because kids have set fire to a car or trashed a fire engine. Now it’s the place where my husband takes pictures of burnt our cars on his way into work. I used to walk up Lawrence Road and then Earle Road and then towards Myrtle Street on my way into the city centre. Only 40 minutes. I’m thinking twice about doing it today.
And now Nick Griffin. I foolishly read his Twitter feed. He’s in Liverpool. Something about “leftist students” trashing the city. It doesn’t even warrant a response. And I thought, who else? Who else will use my little community to get themselves on the front pages? What other politician will come along and shake our hands, tut and nod all the time trying to get some more votes?
We’re already a soapbox for a gang of youths. I don’t know whether they are disgruntled, disenfranchised or simply bored stupid. Quite frankly I don’t care. I am, quite simply, too drained. Too little sleep, constant worry about whether my car, or my wheelie bin or my neighbours will be OK is tiring me out.
And now I’ll have to deal with a parade of gobs-for-hire wanting to tell me how they’re going to fix my neighbourhood. They’ll throw money at us, they’ll support local businesses (as well they should) they’ll shake their fists at the kids ‘you’re making the whole of Liverpool feel like they have a bad name’ and you never know, we might even get some hanging baskets out of it.
I’ll tell you something for nothing, nothing makes you feel quite so disenfranchised as when people tell you you’re living in a ghetto. And all this time I’d thought it was my home.