The majority of people in Liverpool would vote to remain part of the UK if given the option, but four out of ten would choose independence, according to a unique JMU Journalism poll.
With the nation (or the media) in the grip of General Election fever, we asked more than 500 Scousers if they would rather Liverpool was its own country, and received a mixed response to our hypothetical question.
Polling began throughout the city on Tuesday April
13th and concluded 10 days later on St George's
Day, Friday April 23rd. Only people from Liverpool
were posed the question: "If asked on Election day,
would you genuinely vote for a 'Republic of
Liverpool', independent from the UK?"
Of the 542 Liverpudlians we asked in total, 228 said
yes they would (42%), while 301 (56%) said no, and
13 people (2%) did not know.
People from districts throughout Liverpool gave us
their opinion on the subject and though more would
vote against independence, there was a clear
split across the city.
In response to our poll, Liverpool City Council
Leader, Warren Bradley, told JMU Journalism:
“I think you’ve got to know the impact of what
independence means to really support that. It’s not
something I personally support for Liverpool
because I think that although we are a
forward-thinking city with vision, in order to be part of
the global economy we do need London. "
Liverpool’s rich heritage of culture, music and sport
has led many people to consider themselves
Scouse rather than English, in a similar fashion to
the sentiment in Catalonia, where Barcelona's
citizens feel they should be independent from Spain.
Older residents still harbour resentment towards central Government for the way Merseyside was treated during the reign of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in the 1980s, leading to the Toxteth riots of 1981.
The city has been rebuilt since then and has undergone massive regeneration in recent years, culminating in Liverpool being named European Capital Culture for 2008. Other recently completed projects, such as the Echo Arena and Liverpool One, as well as the proposed Liverpool Waters development, have given the impression that the city could survive by itself, but this is something Cllr Bradley does not agree with.
He said: “We can do certain things for ourselves, but we couldn’t be completely self-sufficient as we would need to be if we were independent. Investment and collaborative working are what will see Liverpool continue to grow, not independence.”
Our street poll, all conducted on foot, suggests that the majority of people from Liverpool agree with Cllr Bradley, but there are still significant numbers of citizens who would want to break away from the UK.
Polling was markedly different at Anfield before kick-off ahead of the Liverpool v West Ham match on April 19th. Almost 20% (105) of the main poll total consists of Scouse-only LFC fans quizzed on their way to the game, where a staggering 72% of those asked were in favour of independence, with 28% rejecting the idea.
Banners and chants proclaiming to be 'Scouse not English' can often be seen and heard around Anfield,
and Reds fans were considerably keener to split from the UK than the wider general public in our survey.
Additional reporting by: Gary Maiden; Liam Deveney; Erin McLoughlin; Louisa Collington; Amy Swift;
Chris Bradley; Vegard Grott; David Downie; Daniel Jackson; Ryan Edwards; Sophie Grundy; Adam Smith; Liz Hewitt; Faaizah Ali & Katie Moore.
By Chris Shaw, Danny Masters, Sam Rogers & Hugh O'Connell
JMU Journalism TV
JMU Journalism TV: Do Liverpudlians want independence? Pic: 'Scouse not English' banner on The Kop