Nearly a decade ago, I began to write a short blog in the perhaps vain hope that I might help in making people aware of just what was going on in this city-region. Inevitably, the emphasis was overwhelmingly on the Liverpool borough, given its size and its particular history. There have been some successes in that time, none more gratifying than helping to hasten the end of the disastrous tenure of office of Joe Anderson. However, it would be foolish to think that that is the end of our problems. They go far deeper than one man or one council. There is a cultural problem in many parts of our society which ought to cause us profound concern.
I thought of this whilst observing the furore over the London police chief, Cressida Dick. She is carrying the can for many things, most critically for failing to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the old saying goes. Do not misunderstand me – there are many honest, diligent and principled members of the Metropolitan Police force. The same is true of our own Merseyside Police. Indeed, it is axiomatic to say that, despite the reality that there are bad apples in all public bodies and agencies, there are also so many people in the police, local government, civil service and politics who are not of the ilk creating such contempt and cynicism amid the wider population.
Nevertheless, actions speak louder than words. For example, at long last, the Liverpool Echo appears now (principally through the work of Tom Duffy) to be throwing a light on some of the areas of concern amongst the “community” organisations which have received so much public funding. I think of recent pieces covering the Alt Valley Community Trust, the North Liverpool Regeneration Company, and the Eldonians. I would be more pleased if there would be some charges emanating from Merseyside Police’s “Operation Aloft”. Likewise, I wish to see what exactly the Labour Party does to rid itself of its own bad apples.
There is obviously much to be done at a national level which would affect many other areas of public life, particularly in terms of transparency and accountability. The private sector is riddled with double standards and deceit; and governmental failure to regulate the cowboys in the system has given a major stimulus to what we have witnessed over the last ten years. In truth, I see little prospect of the dreadful present government doing anything meaningful to correct the manifold abuses within the wider society.
Yet all things must pass. There are brave individuals locally who have striven – often at personal cost – to lift the clouds over parts of this city-region. I wish them well in the future. As for me……well, I read recently a near 2,500 year old quote from the great Greek philosopher, Plato:
“Those who are able to see beyond the shadows and lies of their culture, will never be understood, let alone be believed by the masses.”
True then and true now. I hope that we can get beyond that woeful ignorance which betrays the very interests of those masses. I have done my little bit locally to waken people up. It is now for others to maintain the clamour as I put my blog in mothballs and turn my time to other things.