I’m a fan of the Liverpool soccer team, so when my wife and I took the train from London five years ago, the reason was to take a tour of Anfield.
While we were in town, we also went to the downtown shopping area, and we took a nice walk down by the harbor before we got back on the train.
Naturally, I found the Anfield tour to be the highlight, but found the city as a whole enjoyable.
However, the New York Times reminds us again that there’s a lot more to a place than what you visit as a tourist on a day trip.
“PRESCOT, England — A walk through this modest town in the northwest of England amounts to a tour of the casualties of Britain’s age of austerity.
The old library building has been sold and refashioned into a glass-fronted luxury home. The leisure center has been razed, eliminating the public swimming pool. The local museum has receded into town history. The police station has been shuttered.
Now, as the local government desperately seeks to turn assets into cash, Browns Field, a lush park in the center of town, may be doomed, too. At a meeting in November, the council included it on a list of 17 parks to sell to developers.” …
… “In the blue-collar reaches of northern England, in places like Liverpool, modern history tends to be told in the cadence of lamentation, as the story of one indignity after another. In these communities, Mrs. (Margaret) Thatcher’s name is an epithet, and austerity is the latest villain: London bankers concocted a financial crisis, multiplying their wealth through reckless gambling; then London politicians used budget deficits as an excuse to cut spending on the poor while handing tax cuts to corporations. Robin Hood, reversed.
‘It’s clearly an attack on our class,” says Dave Kelly, a retired bricklayer in the town of Kirkby, on the outskirts of Liverpool, where many factories sit empty, broken monuments to another age. ‘It’s an attack on who we are. The whole fabric of society is breaking down.’”
The article is largely about austerity and its impacts, and while I’ll stand clear of the political discussion — I try to avoid commenting on American politics here, much less British — there are real people living those impacts, even beyond what you see as you pass them on the train.