Don't want to post? Email me instead.

cavehillred AT yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The capital of East Ireland

This BBC radio 3 debate was only recently drawn to my attention. It dates from December 2006, prior to Liverpool's assumption of the European City of Culture title. But it has possibly more relevance now.

The question posed is fiendishly simple: Is Liverpool really an English city?

Or is it actually the primary outpost of Irish cultures (Gaelic and Dissenter) in Britain, some sort of proto-capital of a notional East Ireland?

Or is it better seen as a city state, a one-time global port now irreparably independent in spirit with a greater regional than national sense of identity?

Or perhaps like Hong Kong or Cape Town, Liverpool is really just the nearest of the many obscure outposts of the Empire to London, a post-colonial entity struggling to shrug off the post-imperial hangover?

There's no doubt that the city suffers disproportionately from negative stereotyping and slurs from the rest of the nation it purports to be part of. And there's no doubt that the denizens of Scouseland love to assert their separateness in a wide range of ways.

So, is Liverpool really an English city? Best listen and find out what the locals think.

No comments: