If Liverpool councillors call you a ‘pussy’, a ‘sad man’ and an ‘anorak’ is that cyber bullying, or just sort of pathetic, and indicative of the level we’ve stooped to?

What happened to honest, adult debate in this city? Readers will know I’ve taken a stance in favour of the market traders, and against Cllr Kennedy’s support of Geraud. Fair enough? You’d think? This is Liverpool. Not Sochi.

The cut and thrust of local issues. The desire to shape debate. This is the stuff of SevenStreets. And every markets feature we’ve published has been addressing a real and present danger – a fact that is simply impossible to avoid: our markets are dying.

You might know, too, that we’ve always offered right of reply, but that, instead, Kennedy told us to sod off. And, since then, has refused to speak to us. Completely.

Until last week. When, on his official Liverpool Council Twitter account, Councillor Kennedy began a bizarre, personal tirade against me. Not the issues. Me.

“Embarrassed because SevenStreets doesn’t write about you? Here is a simple one step plan to have your own article. Simply call David Lloyd…Drat that 140 letter limit!”

Please, tell us. What should you call me, Cllr Kennedy? How about, instead of twitter rantings, you just pick up the phone and call me?

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 18.24.02That way, instead of asking other Liverpool websites how many readers we have, I could tell you to your face. I could show you that we have around 55,000 readers. Would that make you change your opinion of us, because you also tweeted:

“Bloggers are for anoraks who can’t get published elsewhere.”

I really don’t need to waste time seeking validation from you, Cllr Kennedy. But my job, the one I make living from, is as a writer. I write SevenStreets for love. Of the city.

What does this schoolyard-style slanging match say about those who we pay to get our city out of the mess it’s in?

To me it shows arrogance and contempt for the readers who visit SevenStreets (not all of whom agree with everything we post, but who come because we have something to say. We give a fuck) – a site we run not to make friends, and certainly not for awards. But to raise the debate, mull over ideas and generally air our love of, and frustration towards, our home. Isn’t that the sign of a mature, engaged electorate? Would you prefer it if we just shut up? Would that be easier?

There’s a worrying tendency for anyone who criticises or opens debate to be seen as a moaner, a hater, bullied on twitter, and generally seen as a ‘bad egg’ against the endless social media echo chamber of validation and back slapping. How can that ever elevate us beyond the mediocre?

SevenStreets is of the opinion that we need to engage more with the city; to take a long, hard look at ourselves, and to admit it: we’ve a truck load of difficult decisions ahead. And none of them should be taken without real soul searching.

We are the audience left out in the cold by The Echo and other news sources, and we are – that’s you and us, readers – entitled to question the decisions of those who are privileged to serve us.

Now, all of this isn’t to say I can’t take critisim. I can take it. In fact I love it, when it’s directed at what I write. Why else would I do this? Oh, and so can Giles Coren (and, by the way, he’s big enough to fight his own battles: so you really don’t need to wade in and tweet him to tell him I’m a pussy, again on your official Liverpool Council Twitter stream. Nice work. Do you offer business advice on social media skillz?)

But what I can’t take is elected Cabinet Members – people in our pay – using social media to shout out like spurned kids in the playground. I think it’s this kindergarten-level braying that drags the city down, not a website intent on airing honestly held, contrary opinions, and on giving a platform to the opinions of our embattled independent traders.

I don’t always get it right. In fact I got it wrong about Giles Coren. I went off way too stupidly on that one. And I’m sorry about that. And we’ve talked.

But, after a quick cursory check of our back issues, I count at least 50 positive features about the city’s regeneration in the past year (which means, y’know, you’re not all bad), as opposed to three against. I bet you didn’t know that? It’s ok, really, don’t thank us. We’d only blush.

So, no, I’m not sorry about making our Councillors accountable. And I won’t sod off.

19 Responses to “Not Sodding Off”

  1. david_lloyd

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the point is a valid one. Our site represents a significant niche audience that the echo could never represent that’s not to say it’s bad. It’s just that we are different, but both valid

  2. Anyone who can seriously, in good conscience, defend the state of the city’s market gets no respect from me. There is no more to be said, the man is either deluded or has never set foot inside the markets. And let’s not forget Project Jennifer isn’t his big win at all, it was a Lib Dem win.

  3. Tristan Brady-Jacobs

    It appears that when there is genuine and considered opposition to their policies that our ‘leaders’ throw a childish tantrum and start lashing out at us, those who are actually getting on and creating community and debate and culture without requiring any reward but the knowledge that we will in the end be living in a better city.

  4. Trinny T. Mirrah

    I think you need to try and tone it down a little. The valid points you try to make are becoming lost in your very own personal tirades and statements like, the clichéd Americanism “because we give a fuck” just jar in what is supposed to be a serious debate and again serves to undermine.

    I am not a regular reader but I dip in from time to time. It seems to me that something has changed of late. This has been a reasonably well produced online magazine and an alternative voice. It has carried some toss from time to time but outweighed by some interesting and provocative features. And I think there is both room and a need for independent views in the city.

    Often I don’t agree with a lot of the comment and find myself almost gagging at many of the regular ingratiating, humourless and often mealy mouthed arse-lickers SS seems to attract (particularly if the article is having a pot shot at somebody or some institution) But of late, and as shown by the vitriol in recent articles, there is a danger that this site will be seen as some ranting blogger.

    You can do better than this. I don’t know what has happened but it seems the inner policeman has gone on strike. Reader stats may go up as a result of cynical giggling when you tell prominent people to Fuck Off or attack individuals and then whatever you say, get a weed on if they tire of you and tell you to sod off. That may boost some circulation but I can’t see the advertisers you now wish to attract sticking around and wanting their products associated with such unnecessarily unpleasant writing.

    Is it because the Love Of The City you proclaimed when this started out is now somewhat tainted by The Love That dare not speak it’s name? Advertising Revenue? Because that and the launch of the Almanac thing seems to be really where it all started to go downhill into the abyss of being just another Blog. I don’t want to see that and I’m bloody sure you don’t. So take a breath and have another look at what you are trying to achieve here.


  5. Stargazer

    A very good post above. Seven Streets has really taken a nose dive recently; it seems to have become a one man offensive rant; a personal blog – rather than a worthy and informative information source.

  6. Ramsey Campbell

    Councillor Kennedy, David Lloyd has my respect as a journalist, and I think your comments are really quite silly, not to mention unworthy of the official position you occupy.

  7. Ramsey Campbell

    Isn’t “give a fuck” simply today’s version of “give a damn”, which had a brief history of (supposedly) causing offence? Both may have originated in America, but what of it?

  8. I really like Seven Streets, but this does seem to be a very personal campaign by David and it is getting boring. Market traders are a group of people who are right up there with taxi drivers in the ‘impossible to please’ category. And in this city, some of the stuff being sold on markets is not just tat, it’s also counterfeit.

  9. John Walker

    Spats of this nature are likely to happen more frequently, given SS (& hopefully other sites – for The Echo is politically cosied up with the local political machine…) really probing and questioning public sector decision makers and whatever processes they hide behind / choose to ignore. The Council operates a long term ‘knowledge is power’ policy, as Cllr’s maintain power bases through information control (more so the antiquated local Labour Party politicos). Information is not shared to interest / representative groups, whereas in other core cities such groups are welcomed with open arms to assist in going forward from an early stage – moving with the people, not control of the people via information blocks as is the Liverpool way. The digital age opens up more information and hence questioning of Cllr’s actions, so for messers Kennedy and Anderson’s ‘inner cabinet’, increased scrutiny may only trigger more juvenile frustration from Cllr’s, as they are forced to account for their actions. Malcolm Kennedy’s responses are wholly inadequate for an elected official, and clearly illustrate a reluctance to engage informed debate in the public eye for the people’s benefit. Malcolm Kennedy should know better given his beneficial religious upbringing. What has he got to loose from opening up on the debate, surely not income as a Director of Gerauld Markets?

  10. Got to broadly agree with this. The focus on campaigning has a tendency to devolve into spats with (admittedly very childish) local authority figures. Seven Streets is at its best when it’s being positive and enthusiastic about the city, not getting down in the mud with the politicians. The site needs to be much, much broader than a platform for David’s ideas for the city. It can’t be an easy time for SvSt – you’re kind of in an awkward puberty between blog and legitimate news/features source – but there definitely needs to be a shift back towards things like “What’s your big idea”. Positivity, innovation, creativity – not personal attacks

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