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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, October 21, 2003
    Sledgehammer ... nut
    Liverpool City Council have banned Big Issue sellers from the streets after arrests at the weekend revealed some vendors were also supplying drugs. Can't help feeling this is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Can't help thinking there may be credibility in the view that this is stage one of 'clean up the streets for the Capital of Culture', though city councillors reject this view as cynical. It takes me back to a blog last month asking if cultural regeneration means spatial sterilisation. It happened in Hackney.

    If twelve policemen were found supplying drugs would they suspend the whole force? If twelve schoolchildren, would they shut the whole school down? Or if twelve prisoners, would they ban the whole incarcerated population from activities designed to rehabilitate them? Twelve vendors have offended - but wiping the entire Big Issue community from the face of the city, people till last weekend slowly on the path up-and-away from addiction and homelessness, where's the balance there?

    Singalong to Liverpool's Capital of Culture theme: "Got the go, got the get, got the will, got the want, got the skill, got the scope, got the range, got the reach, got the life, got the love, got the urge, got the edge."

    Now, has the city got the grace to reverse this brutal decision?

    [Liverpool City Council Feedback form here]