Archive for the ‘My comment’ Category

It was only a matter of time before some self-righteous commentator would cheapen the tragedy of Raoul Moat and Derrick Bird’s murders by making some tenuous and offensive connection between them. This week, the prize goes to Rod Liddle, who in one foul-mouthed swoop has managed to offend just about half the nation.

Writing in the latest spectator, Liddle highlights the fact that in both the Moat and Bird cases – plus the Shannon Matthews abduction case – the protagonists were all northern. “The more callous among you might well argue that it doesn’t really matter, as these madmen are only shooting other northerners, and so it is therefore none of our business,” he writes. “But there is no guarantee that the next deranged northerner will not get on a train, if he can afford it, and start shooting at us, instead.”

Being a northerner, I find this crudely offensive. How dare he equate all northerners with ravaging serial killers intent on ending innocent peoples’ lives. This smug, polarisation of ‘us and them’ seems to be inherent in a large portion of southerners. Having lived in London for five years I experienced it way too frequently.

My first taste of southern ignorance was when I was chatting to a girl from the well-to-do area of Windsor after just starting university in Kingston. After listening to her moan about not visiting much of Britain, I told her she should visit the north. “I would do but I’m scared of being impregnated,” she replied. I waited for a sarcastic smirk or a cheeky wink but nothing came, just a dry and bemused face. I was left bewildered at the sheer callowness of her statement. How could she be serious? Are we inferior?

Well I announce with pride that this is not the case. The north by no means is more dangerous or deranged than the south. It is true perhaps that we are a little less inhibited, but violent criminals we are not. A large portion of the north – just as the south – is full of warm hearted and peaceful areas where residents respect one another. These atrocities occurred in quiet northern villages where community spirit thrived. This is a factor in what made the events so shocking in the first place. Just as many commentators do, Liddle failed to do his research, and instead produced a knee jerk reaction with comment that is designed to antagonise.

Looking at the statistics, it is a myth that the south is safer than the north when comparing crime against population. A government report by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust has published the top 10 most dangerous places to live in England & Wales.

The top ten are:

  1. North Manchester
  2. Sheffield
  3. Southampton
  4. City of Westminster
  5. Leicester City
  6. Middlesbrough
  7. Hackney
  8. Kingston Upon Hull
  9. Southwark
  10. Lewisham

Let me highlight that half of these places are from the south and in particular, London. So why then would Liddle so acrimoniously launch a weigh-in with the north? Further bemusement is stirred when considering Liddle actually lived in the sleepy northern market town of Gainsborough for over ten years before moving to London. If his traumatising experience of gun toting northerners was so scarred in his memory, then surely he would have cited his past experiences of living up north.

I can only conclude that he flew south for one reason – money. This is why the South (in particular London), has become a hotbed for this caustic view that northerners are more dangerous and violent. Too many pretentious high earning Londoners remain ignorant to the fact that their beloved city is not just the capital of England, but the capital of violence. Until smarmy toffs like Liddle pull their heads out of their rears and begin addressing the wider concerns of unemployment, poverty and violence – which happens all over England – then the public such as I will be forced to listen to unsophisticated immature commentary on issues that deserve more respect.

As Liddle says, “There is no guarantee that the next deranged northerner will not get on a train, if he can afford it, and start shooting at us, instead.”

No Rod. Not “us”, just you.