Liverpool is the best city in the UK, and it’s the people who make it
‘We’re not English, we’re Scouse.’
Today, Liverpool was voted the kindest city in the UK in a survey by Travelodge. Scouse Guild President Sean Turner reminds us that this isn’t just a one-off: Scousers really are boss.
It’s not just me who thinks Liverpool is friendly: in the past few years it’s been consistently ranked so. Condé Nast Traveller magazine has twice ranked L’pool as the UK’s friendliest city and a YouGov poll confirmed it as being number one. Even the dreaded Daily Mail announced that Liverpool is Britain’s most honest city. And it’s not just the UK: we’ve also made it as the fourth most friendly place on the planet in the Rough Guides ranking.
Why is Liverpool is so friendly? It’s obvious. Scousers are honest, happy-go-lucky types and they’re welcoming to all. They don’t care where you’re from; whatever your background, you’ll be greeted you with a smile and an “Alright?”. There’s a certain charm to being called “la”, “babe”, “kidda”, “hun” and “queen”, at the end of every exchange. Liverpudlians can’t finish a short sentence without giving you a title.
And where else in the world do you discover the intricacies of a taxi driver’s daughter’s love life except in the back of a Liverpool taxi? The people of Liverpool love to share their life stories. So if you’re lucky enough to find yourself on a long bus journey beside a Scouser, you’ll probably here about how “‘R Kenny” is having trouble at school and “Me nan” has just had a new hip. Go on, entertain the conversation! If you’re stood next to a Scouser at the bar or you’re waiting at the bus stop, they just want to let you know how life’s going, safe in the knowledge they’ll never see you again. To be honest, it’ll probably do your anecdote collection a favour too, as with the famous Liverpool sense of humour, the stories are unlikely to be dull.
There’s nowhere else in the UK that has such an inbuilt sense of what’s right. There are always stories of kindness filling my newsfeed from a 86 driver who stopped his bus to give a fiver to a homeless man, to younger Scousers giving out presents to homeless people in the city centre. When the Bombed Out Church was under threat, locals pulled together to run it themselves with a calendar of regular activity containing everything from Fiesta Bombarda to weekly yoga classes. At Christmas, strip club X In The City opened its doors with Help The Homeless Kitchen to provide a Christmas dinner for those sleeping rough. And of course, they repeatedly vote against the Tories and voted to remain in the EU, re-enforcing the motto “We’re not English, we’re Scouse.”
And when we see something that’s wrong, we change it. Last year, when a “White Man March” tried to host a neo-Nazi demonstration in Liverpool, they didn’t make it out of the train station. Thousands of Scousers turned up to protest against them, containing the fascists within the station and requiring them to have police protection. The city made it very clear that it has no place for intolerant beliefs. It’s that kind of spirit that inspired the campaign for justice for the 96 who lost their lives in the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, which ended in an ongoing, city-wide boycott of The S*n newspaper and, when the campaigners were finally vindicated last year, the City Council awarding the Freedom of the City to key campaigners as well as the 96.
But’s it not all fighting for justice: Scousers are just as good at having a good night out. On Rough Guides’ “50 Things To Do Before You Die”, coming in at third, after seeing the Grand Canyon and Jordan’s Siq to Petra, is have a night out in Liverpool. You can’t avoid making friends; with your cheap-as-chips taxi driver, your chicken and chips Krunchy Fried staff and especially your “Oh fuck my nails have chipped!” “Don’t worry queen! You look amazing, I love ye dress! Here let me do ye mascara…” girls’ toilets. Everybody has been mothered by Val from the Raz and drunkenly befriended that person you’re not so sure about from your lectures in Heebies courtyard. Heebies is the most Instagrammed bar in the country because of all those pics with courtyard and toilet friends. The nightlife is kept alive and ever-changing by the variety of friendly punters you come across.
Scousers keep their city’s friendliness alive with their blunt approach to letting you know how they feel. If you struggle to pull the silver spoon from your arse, you’ll probably hear about it and that’s how the community stays so down-to-earth. On the other hand, if you’re friendly and open, you may be lucky enough to find yourself being entitled “Honorary Scouser”. Liverpool’s often maligned and to some extent it is this that preserves its character. Those outside of the city who cannot appreciate its nerve, its edge, its honesty, are unlikely to be the type of people who could uphold these fruitful characteristics. In short, because the snobs look down on Liverpool, they keep themselves out, all for the better of the city.
This city, then, is clearly a sick place to be. I could go on reeling off tables and rankings but ultimately, now is a boss time to be here. Well in to all you honorary Scousers for making your home in the best city there is. Get out there, have a scran and a bevvy, and make some bezzy mates. Go ‘ed Liverpool!