I must admit that I’m not the biggest fan of the Conservative Party or their policies, but when I heard the news that the UK’s new Prime Minister was Boris Johnson, my heart sank a little. You see, I come from Liverpool. My home is a working class, Northern city and we are proud of where we come from. We are musical and loud, we are late night parties and student events, we are independent businesses and regeneration. We are bursting with different cultures and traditions and celebrate every one with pride and love. But more than this, we are a city of people who look out for each other when it’s needed the most.
I’m very sad to say that Mr Johnson doesn’t seem to see the same sparkle in my city and has made that very clear on several occasions. In October 2004, he was quoted in “The Spectator” (a magazine at which Johnson was editor) that Liverpool is “a combination of economic misfortune” and that Liverpudlians see themselves “wherever possible as victims”. These quotes are not taken out of context and were directly linked to the Hillsborough Disaster, something that my city remembers and holds dear to its heart. I can honestly say that I have never seen my home or its people as self-pitying. If anything, we’re living proof that communities can go through so many hardships and come out the other side stronger.
Some may argue that these events are in the past, so should we not just forgive and forget? I personally couldn’t think of anything worse. Not only has Boris Johnson publicly expressed his true feelings but epitomises a blatant desire to slander Liverpool. The thing about Liverpool, much like many other working-class Northern towns, we never forget. Much like we remember how Sir Geoffrey told Margaret Thatcher that spending public money within Merseyside was equal to “trying to make water flow uphill”. These are not things that people forget, particularly those whose parents and grandparents felt the direct effects of a government who couldn’t care less if they were left penniless and homeless. It may be hard to see things from my perspective if your home hasn’t been directly ostracised and secluded by the people who are running the country. Liverpool has risen from the ashes of the flame that the 1980s Conservative government fanned and are proud of where we’ve come from. But there’s a reason why my grandad used to shout at the TV every time Margaret Thatcher appeared, he lived through his livelihood being destroyed and the place he’d lived all his life being forgotten. So no, I don’t think I should allow myself to forgive Boris because I have too much respect for my hometown.
Many may laugh at Boris Johnson because, sure he looks so funny and does stupid things. But there is something dangerous about giving a clown a throne. Especially one who has been so vocal about his dislike towards the place I call home. If we allow people in positions of power to deliberately target areas that are different to their upper middle class, private school upbringing, then who is going to stick up for the working class. The UK was built on these communities and I’m doubtful that Mr Johnson can have such a drastic change of heart about Liverpool. If I’m being honest – the feeling’s mutual.
So on behalf of the city I love so dearly: No thank you Mr Johnson, you are not welcome in my home.