Liverpool is not cowering under the bed clothes

In my view much of the national coverage of Sunday’s explosion has been a heady of sensationalist nonsense and gossip. Why are they making such extensive coverage? Because sensation leads to purchase of papers and clicks on social media. The image that parts of the media portray is of a city that has been traumatised by the event and which is hunkering down against fear of further attacks. That just is not the case.

Of course, all of us in Liverpool were shocked by what had happened and even more so what might have happened. The death toll could have been huge if the bomb had actually entered the hospital or been taken to the Remembrance Sunday event at the Anglican Cathedral.

That shock has passed off. People are going about their business in the normal way. Liverpool is a great city that always takes things in its stride. It will shake itself down and get on with life after making known real concerns about what happened and a desire to ensure that the powers that be learn lessons from what occurred to try and ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The coverage has not in any way led to rational discussion about why this has happened and what we should do about it. In a way that does not disappoint. I am, however, disappointed in that it is leading to irrational debate which may well prejudice rational debate. I have seen:

  • ill-informed speculation about the way that the Anglican Church has been recklessly baptising people of other faiths who merely wished to guarantee that they could stay here.
  • extremist comment about the nature of the refuges who come to Liverpool
  • angry comments about the way that the Council and other authorities not controlling or supporting asylum seekers and refugees properly
  • thoughtless comments about the NHS being largely to blame because they didn’t properly aid or control someone who had been sectioned under mental health legislation.

All of these areas and organisations should be looked at but that proper review can only be undertaken when the Police have done their work and are able to provide all of us with a coherent report on what happened and the timeline against which it happened.

On a wider level there are some questions that we can begin to ask such as:

Are Liverpool and similar urban areas taking too great a share of refugees and asylum seekers for us to be able to deal with properly?  Liverpool and other Cities are keen to help but are we taking up to much of the strain when other areas stand aside?

What is the role of the housing strategy of the council? We have vast numbers of very cheap small terraces that unscrupulous private landlords can make a fortune from by packing people into with few concerns about the effects on the neighbours and entire communities.

Should asylum seekers be allowed to work? We have scientist and doctors, lawyers and scholars in the Country unable to work. Many of them speak excellent English and with small amounts of efforts could come in and help our hard-pressed NHS and other institutions. At the other end of the work scale, we have lots of people who come from agricultural areas, but we cannot find people to harvest the crops of spuds and strawberries.

What support needs to be given to incomers to the Country to assimilate them into the ways, customs and cultures of our Country?

What can we do to make them job ready when they are successfully given leave to remain, as so many of them are, so that they can begin to fill the job vacancies which are evident throughout the economy?

These are questions which have been valid for years now but Governments both local and national and a host of other public and third sector agencies have shied away from asking them and placed them instead in the ‘too difficult to answer’ box! 

Perhaps it’s the Lib Dems who should start asking these questions and initiating the debate as we have done so many times before.


* Cllr Richard Kemp CBE is the Leader of the Liverpool Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • nigel hunter 18th Nov '21 - 5:09pm

    Yes,w should start asking those questions.

  • Brad Barrows 18th Nov '21 - 5:56pm

    “All of these areas and organisations should be looked at…”
    So who do you think should be looking into whether churches are ‘recklessly baptising’ and what change do you think could be appropriate if it was felt that such a charge were proved? Do you think that the proposed ban on ‘conversion theory’ should be extended to ban conversion itself?

  • Brad Barrows 18th Nov '21 - 5:57pm

    Apologies – reference in previous post should be to ‘conversion therapy’ rather than ‘conversion theory’.

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