Thanks Liverpool!


My photo of the stage at the replica Cavern Club, The Beatles Story, Liverpool.

When we visit a city for a conference, it has a significant positive impact on the local economy of that area. Our arrival is very well flagged up in advance with posters and publicity. Then when we arrive everyone knows we’re there due to the extra security presence and hordes of…..well let’s just say unusual looking people with yellow badges and bundles of papers wandering around.

Much of the time during the conferencee, the representatives are charging around like blue-bottomed flies chasing to the next debate or meeting.

We are encouraged to spend sometime exploring the locality.

I always do that, not least because, after a few high octane policy debates/meetings in windowless rooms, I often start to feel physically claustrophobic. I just have to get out of the conference bubble to get some fresh air and vegetate in the real world. A few hours idly contemplating my navel in a coffee shop or suchlike usually restores my sanity. Last October I explored the Tenement House museum in Glasgow, which is one of the best museums in the world. Really superb.

Thank you to the City of Liverpool for having us last weekend. I was tickled pink to be staying in a lovely Travelodge opposite the Liver Buildings.

About 30 years ago I visited Liverpool and it still had significant derelict areas, left over the war. That is no longer the case.

I am pleased to say that the Albert Dock/frontage area, which I saw in depth, is fantastic. Beautiful buildings and a vibrant place day and night.

But the highlight of my stay was The Beatles Story. I came out of it an emotional wreck – in a good way. It was utterly brilliant. The depth and quality of original documentation, photographs and reconstructions were breathtaking. I couldn’t believe it – they had the original programme from the church fete where John and Paul met. Also, a few photographs of the Quarrymen actually at that gig. It was all just overwhelming. And then you go through the Cavern reconstruction etc and out via a reminder of George’s death and John’s death to a white room with a white piano and Imagine playing. The tears were welling up in my eyes. As someone who sang “She loves you” over and over again when I was about three years old and grew up with the Beatles as the soundtrack to my life, it was all just mind-blowing. The experience was enhanced by being amongst many overseas tourists. It was great to see them. Afterwards, I worked out that most of them were born when Paul McCartney was in his fifties – which is bizarre but a great reflection of the enduring popularity of “The Fabulous Beatles Rock Combo”.
beatles pop combo

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • It sounds like you haven’t been to Liverpool in 30 years, Paul – didn’t you visit it for conference in 2007 or 2010? Or were you not a member of the party then?

  • Steve Comer 18th Mar '15 - 1:21am

    Well I did go to Liverpool in 2007 and 2010 but not this year. I also went as a newly elected Lib Dem Group Leader in 2007 and saw with my own eyes the positive impact that Liberal Democrat governance had brought to the city. So very different from my first visit back in 1988 when there was evidence of despair everywhere, and where you feared your car would be broken into every time you parked it.

    As a Young Liberal in the early ’70s Trevor Jones and his team were a true inspiration as they broke through to take power. The Liberal party and Liberal Democrats endured years in the wilderness while their city declined under Labour, but came back with a bang in the late ’90s and did so much to regenerate the city and bring hope back to its people in their years running the city.

    The tragedy is that all that good work has been destroyed due to the actions of the national leadership of theLiberal Denmocratsy. They’ve given Labour (and even the bloody Green Party)the political space in which to expand their base in the city. It will now take us decades to get back to where Trevor Jones and co took us over 40 years ago.

    And yes I loved the Beatles Story,and the National Trust tour of the Lennon and McCartney homes too. Lets just remember that Penny Lane is in one of the last wards we hold in that great city, and think about how we re-build the party that did so much to re-build Liverpool.

  • Steve Comer 18th Mar ’15 – 1:21am

    Hi Steve,

    There is much in your comment that reminds me of visits to Loverpool. My first was as a very small boy on a day trip with my auntie and uncle. I visited Chris Stratford a friend who had just gone to university in 1970 to study town and country planning — he lived in a house partitioned into “rooms” by untainted hardboard and would have been condemned by any qualified town planner or anyone with a knowledge of buiding regs or fire prevention. I often wonder what ever happened to Chris Stratford.

    I went back again in 1979 to help a young bloke get elected as MP — what ever happened to David Alton?

    The later successes of Liberals / Liberal Democrats in Liverpool were an inspiration — whatever happened to Liverpool Liberal Democrats?

  • Were the wheels still on your car when you came to drive home?

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