The aftermath of the riots in Toxteth was considerable.As the violence was so bad and this was broadcast all over the country on the news people were finally taking notice of all the struggles which were endured daily by the black community.
Not long before the riots in Liverpool, there were riots in Brixton over very similar issues faced by the blacks due to a very racist police force and extremely outdated policies which made Brixton a ticking time bomb.
The Scarman report although primarily directed at the Brixton riot recognised that the riots did represent the results of social problems such as poverty and deprivation. The government responded by appointing Michael Heseltine to set up a Merseyside task force which launched a series of initiatives including the Liverpool International garden festival.
As I mentioned in my last post I was lucky to have not seen any of the violence I only heard it as it was so close to my home. I also remember the devastation of the area afterward.
Toxteth now is a very vibrant and multicultural area. The holy land where I lived was considered a white area. When I say it that way it sounds extremely racist but it honestly wasn’t like that. However, there seemed to be a huge divide between Catholics and protestants.
On a Saturday morning, the orange lodge would always march down our street and then onto Mill Street. The divide was not a patch on the divide in Northern Ireland but there was considerable hostility.
Having said that the church had a lot more influence in those days and there were not any kid fucking scandals doing the rounds. Well, to be fair there probably was but they had it under wraps. So as a result in those days, it was much easier to control the masses.
What better way to do this than religion. It’s a win-win for everyone involved especially when it comes to money. There was also a lot more people who still went to church especially the older generation.
Unfortunately when there is so much poverty in an area like this for so long people are always looking for a form of escape. Now, most people are happy to go work for their money but Liverpool at the time had very few opportunities.
There wasn’t a lot of money or many jobs so a lot of people moved to the south of England. A lot of my cousins on my dad’s side moved to Torquay and Bournemouth. So even though a lot of initiatives were set up it was too little too late.
It was not just the black community there was a whole generation of disillusioned people. The whole time Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister she left Liverpool to rot.This saw an explosion in crime even after the riots. Liverpool overnight had huge spikes in Heroin addiction and there was considerably more dealers openly selling in the area.
Unfortunately there was no shortage of people wanting to sell this as they had so few opportunities. In a city with no jobs and having little prospects unless moving away more and more people gravitated towards this type of life.
Liverpool has its own docks and this aided the criminal gangs so much. Due to the huge numbers of unemployed and the widespread poverty this made way for a new breed of criminals. The irony of this is these young kids were showing so much initiative and were literally making money hand over fist.
If they had been given an opportunity to have a good job or the same access to further education as the rest of the country then this issue would not have exploded in the same ferocity and the police would have been better equipped to deal with it.
There are many names that came out of Liverpool for all the wrong reasons such as Michael Showers, Delroy Showers, and Curtis Warren. What did everyone expect? So many pissed off people in one place they will just do their own thing if they think nobody cares and the sad reality is that nobody did.
One of the main theories which many people seem to think is true is the government-aided all of this. It was literally straight after the riots when the drug scene exploded. There was no time when the city started to repair itself it just suddenly appeared.
Also, another question that kept getting asked is where were the drugs coming from? The drugs were all so pure. Normally when drugs are sold they are stepped on https://oneoffthebeatentrack.com/glossary/ but now there is a huge supply with no complications with very high purity.
A lot of people don’t believe this but this happened in America. A former cop Michael Ruppert exposed the CIA for there involvement in drug dealing. He was told quickly to drop it by his bosses in the police and he quit the force and spent some years exposing the truth before his apparent suicide.
If you read about Ruppert and an investigative journalist called Gary Webb you will see that this is very possible.
In an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, Ruppert explains this in full, and I’ve included the link below. He also tells how the CIA changed the whole drug game to pay for their illegal wars. They went from bringing in ten metric tons a year to one hundred metric tons. Its nice work if you can get away with it.
A story that haunts me to this day is a story I heard when I went to cocaine anonymous to deal with my own addictions years later. Luckily for me, my addiction was cocaine which is a psychological addiction. When you withdraw from Heroin you become physically sick and to the point where you think you are dying. The withdrawal has been described as worse than death by addicts.
The story I was told by this guy was about him and his three friends all sat off in a car in Toxteth. Three of them were all smoking heroin and trying to get him to have some. He told me even then I knew it was bad news and luckily said no.
My next question to him which I wished I hadn’t asked was what happened to your three mates? He replied sadly they are all dead now. Drugs I asked? yes well one of them killed himself but that was related to drugs.
Luckily for me, I always knew how much I would enjoy crack and heroin so I was always scared of them even in my craziest drug-taking days.A little known fact about this pathway is that now in modern-day the past to heroin can get people in other ways.
Normally people are doing way too much cocaine and have built up a serious tolerance so they move onto Crack. I asked my pal from CA what crack was like? He told me like the most intense line of coke you have ever had. Unfortunately, instead of lasting about twenty minutes before you need more, you need more in about two minutes and the comedown is ten times as bad as coke.
So because of this a lot of people are on the worst comedown of their lives and have a little bit of brown.
Next thing they can’t function without it and are a full-blown addict. I asked the same friend whats heroin like? He told me it just numbs away all the pain and nothing else matters.
He then told me there isn’t one person doing heroin who is happy with themselves when you do heroin you are summoning a demon. Its evil pure and simple even the nicknames for it are horrible skag, junk, nasty.
With so much chaos and destruction happening in an area a lot of the people begin to lose hope. The area before the drugs was crumbling and now even with the new initiatives, it’s not nearly enough. You could compare it to trying to fix a burst pipe with just towels.
Now my theory with a burst pipe is you can keep putting towels down on the floor and this will keep absorbing the water. If you don’t get to the route of the burst pipe and what’s causing the water to leak then the problem is never really fixed. This is exactly what the Conservative government was doing with Liverpool.
When people lose hope they turn to drugs and alcohol. Then the after-effects from this are ten times worse. Women would be selling themselves to buy more drugs, a huge rise in burglary and car theft, muggings would increase as well as violent crime.
The police were petrified to go back into the area and be heavy-handed over what happened last time and the millions it cost to repair the damage.
Not only that because even though the riots are stopped it was going to take considerable time to repair the relationship between the community and the police. Now the white community had also turned on them. No matter how you try to justify your actions nobody likes living in a war zone.
The streets in the daytime were very safe especially when all of the mums would sit out on the steps. As children, we were very insulated from the trouble. Even at home, my father was having his issues with drugs but it wasn’t until years later I figured this out.
I used to play in the street on my bike with Billy and Ian Reily. Their dad Billy was a real character and one of the most naturally funny people I have ever met. There was always someone in his house selling something or he would always be selling something.
I’ve got all this jewelry, I’ve got a van full of TVs. We grew up around this and we just saw it as normal. In other parts of the country, people would be horrified but they were already horrified with Liverpool so should we all starve just to gain back their respect?
Obviously, not everyone can sell drugs but there was always something going on in the area. One of the better-known gangs which operated for many years was called the road runners. They had many scams and one of the best ones my mum told me about.
She was talking to Billy Riley in the street and he told her to watch Mill Street as something is about to go down. A catalogue van was driving down at about twenty miles an hour because a lot of cars were almost blocking the road.
Next thing someone jumps on the back of the van, breaks the lock, and is inside all within 15 seconds.
He then starts emptying the van onto the road while the rest of the gang appears from the alleyway and starts picking up boxes and loading them into their own van. The whole process was done in less than thirty seconds. The driver was completely unaware and hadn’t even slowed down the entire time.
I’m not sure what happened to this gang but they were famous and did hundreds of jobs before they called it a day. They were famous in the area and they were so creative in the way they stole things.
Another funny story I heard is when my mum was going shopping one day and there was a van parked up on mill street with the driver sat inside. Now bear in mind this was 1982. She gets closer and he asks her hey girl have you got a phone in your house?
Yeah of course I have why? she answers. He tells her look I’ve broken down and I won’t dare leave the truck as I know it will be empty by the time I get back from the phonebox. Will you call my boss and tell him whats going on, here’s the number?
Luckily she took pity on him and went home and phoned it. The driver escaped without incident and was recovered in about twenty minutes.
Even though there was a lot of negative stuff about the area there were also so many positives as well. The people in the street like kids I played with to the people I saw every day.
Everyone had some sort of money maker happening or if they didn’t their brother did or they were in the same group of people so there was not a lot of judgement.
The flip side to all of this is nobody locally knew the devastation the drugs would bring down on the city and it took a long time before it began to fix itself or even a plan was made to fix it. This was a relatively new problem and there were very few drug treatment centers. It was a huge learning curve for everyone involved and things were changing rapidly.