Liverpool's markets have been condemned by staggering arrogance and complacency
‘What the people of Everton really deserve is a 24-hour McDonalds next to a school’
Dear members — today we’ve got a rare treat, a weekday David Lloyd polemic. In this piece he takes aim at the continual mismanagement of Liverpool’s markets, following a city-wide consultation on how to bring them back to life. It includes an alarming phone exchange with then-council Cabinet Member for Regeneration Malcolm Kennedy, who labels David a “pussy”.
But first, your Friday briefing, including the fascinating and saddening case of Liverpool’s Chinese seafarers who the government coercively deported following the Second World War.
Your Post briefing
💻 A far right extremist who posted death threats about MPs online was photographed outside the office of Ian Byrne. In a statement, the West Derby MP said he was informed of a “possible threat to the life of [himself], [his] family and office staff”. Byrne praised organisations within the Jewish community who flagged the incident to himself and Parliament’s counter-terror unit after the man — who had posted comments about the murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess, suggesting he would not be the last to be killed — was noticed in the vicinity of Byrne’s constituency office. He had also been “posting vile threats” to the Jewish community on extremist websites.
⚡️ Liverpool City Council’s audit committee met last night to discuss the Mazars report into the energy bill fiasco that cost the city upwards of £16 million and has cast a shadow over its politics in recent months. Speaking via dial-in (a fact that irritated Lib Dem council leader Richard Kemp no end) Nigel Layton of Mazars reiterated the findings of the report, that there was no malpractice or cover-up from the council but that former chief executive Tony Reeves had failed to implement the necessary mechanisms to avert such risks. Layton came under fire from all quarters, with audit committee chair and Lib Dem councillor Kris Brown saying he “expected a little bit more,” given the cost of the report, Kemp saying Mazars failed to conduct a wide-ranging set of interviews and Wendy Simon of Labour saying that the report doesn’t give adequate recommendations on how issues can be fixed. “Some staff are fearful of the commissioners,” she added, implying that this was an overlooked issue.
🇨🇳 A secret government programme “coerced” Chinese seafarers into boats leaving Liverpool following the Second World War. After decades of denial the Home Office has admitted that the seamen — who had responded to calls to serve in the British merchant navy and then remained following the war — were secretly rounded up and put on cargo ships taking them back to the East. Many of them had married and started families in England. Labour — who were in power at the time under Clement Attlee — and the Home Office have admitted that the until-now classified files contain a strong element of anti-Chinese racism. “The language used to explain and justify the proposed operation to repatriate surplus members of the Chinese pool is clearly racially inflected and prejudicial,” says the report. 76-year-old Yvonne Foley had campaigned for the report to be opened for years after her Shanghai-born ship engineer father, Nan Young, was repatriated in 1946. She said the report was “very well balanced” and its findings vindicated her beliefs and research.
🏳️🌈 Sahir House — a Merseyside charity founded in the 1980s to help people living through the HIV epidemic — is under threat of closure. Sahir CEO Ant Hopkinson said the charity has had its income cut by two thirds this year after losing its “single largest source of funding in one fell swoop,” and was now experiencing a cash crisis. Sahir House currently provides sexual health services and LGBTQ+ support, recently giving out hundreds of at-home oral HIV self-tests at Liverpool Pride. Hopkinson said it was a “very worrying time”.
🖌️ Floating Art is hosting a Japanese painting workshop on Sunday at Leaf on Bold Street, where you can learn to use traditional materials like Gansai Tambi, sumi ink and rice paper boards. It’s beginner-friendly, so if you’ve never flicked paint on a bamboo fan before, fear not. The class lasts for two and a half hours and more information is available here.
🇮🇳 Indian Women at Sea — a collaboration between Join Believe in Me CIC and Western Approaches — tells the story of how women across the Commonwealth contributed to Second World War efforts, including those who were allowed to join the Indian Navy. The day is split between a guided museum tour in the morning and activities in the afternoon. It's on Saturday, and free to register..
🦋 There’s a two-day workshop at Rixton Clay Pits Nature Reserve teaching you how to identify dragonflies and damselflies, for all those bugged by the prospect of a weekend minus…well, you know. Tony Parker — the Assistant Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at World Museum, Liverpool — will be the man in charge. Click here for tickets.
🚶Netwalking — a masterpiece of a portmanteau if ever we’ve seen one — is a group in Liverpool who meet every Saturday morning in Sefton Park to walk and talk. You might even cross paths with the Netwalker of the year, Mark Waldron. Get tickets here.
By David Lloyd
Of all the fucked-up regeneration schemes the city witnessed under the tenure of former Cabinet Member for Regeneration and former Lord Mayor Malcolm Kennedy, the treatment of our historic markets surely ranks as one of the most shameful.
Which is odd, really, because the former councillor for Kirkdale-upon-Madrid must have frequented many a thriving market from his sunny Spanish constituency (Kennedy resigned in October 2021 after it emerged he’d been living full-time in Spain for 17 months, attending council meetings online). The El Rastero flea market draws a crowd of thousands every weekend — it’s a bit like Great Homer Street market used to be; at the heart of the community. The San Miguel market sees the very best local produce showcased to a hungry crowd of locals and tourists alike. A bit like St John’s market used to be; at the heart of the city. Some markets are proud city-run affairs, others allowed to bubble up organically, and incubate the city’s burgeoning communities. Like Granby Street remains.
Councillor Kennedy must have slapped on the SPF, taken a stroll around his bustling, essential neighbourhood markets and thought: what the people of Everton really deserve is a 24-hour McDonalds next to a school, a bookies and a Greggs. And the historic market that defines their community should be pushed to the outer limits of the street, and reduced in size, to make way for a lovely new car park.