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Southport: Small town… small minds?

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Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might have changed in the 10 years since I wrote this post.
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  • Factual information might be outdated.
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Many thanks for your understanding.

Southport Visiter

Regular readers will know that my home town is Southport, a small retirement village of a town on the North West coast of England. I visit every few weeks, but often I check in on the town via the internet, to see what is causing the inevitable arguments at the time.

Southport is an affluent town whose (small ‘c’) conservatism is somewhere to the right of the residents of Ambridge even before the Macy/Craig wedding, and, as such, it’s the arena for fascinating debates that the rest of the country concluded some centuries ago.

It’s a place where the Daily Mail is taken as gospel, complaints are the local speciality, and people’s primary concern in life is the state of the town’s public toilets. It is Middle England. If Richard Littlejohn hadn’t hailed from Essex, he’d probably have come from Southport. It’s the only place I’ve come across to have held a protest against the anti-war protests.

The hot topic in Southport at the moment appears to be regarding breastfeeding in public. Not whether better provision should be given to mothers, not whether their right to breastfeed in public should be enshrined in government legislation, but whether it should be allowed at all. This has hit the local newspaper after a lady breastfeeding her baby was asked to leave McDonalds.

Contributions to the debate from the Southport Visiter (sic) website include:

Of course this woman shouldn’t be allowed to breastfeed in McDonalds.

I certainly don’t want to be sitting tucking into my Big Mac with fries while a woman serves up a fresh milkshake for her baby.

The staff at the store were totally in the right to ask her to stop. Others were eating and women should be a bit more aware of the sensitivities of others around them.

It is certainly not acceptable for women to breastfeed in public, particularly in a restaurant.

It may be the most natural thing in the world, but so is being naked, but that isn’t allowed in MacDonalds.

Woah. Even the case for the ‘Ayes’ is skewed with small-town mentality:

I would be more offended seeing mothers feed their kids with the junk in MacDonalds than seeing a mum offering her baby the most nutritious food it can get!

If topless sun bathing is the norm on the beach, then Breast feeding in public should not be an issue.

There are pages and pages of this stuff. It’s quite remarkable.

Another debate: Should a photographer be allowed to have nude portraits in his shop window? We’re talking tasteful portraits here (click here or here for samples), not hardcore porn. Yet the vitriol greeting this display would suggest otherwise:

There’s far too much sex being rammed down our throats as it is.

It is a sad day when the family portrait becomes soft porn sordid snaps.

Presumably, that was said without irony.

I don’t know of anywhere else in the country where the apparent attitudes of the majority are quite so trenchant, where achievement is so under-celebrated, or where complaining is quite so much the way of life.

But somehow, from a distance, these uniquely negative qualities give Southport something of a bizarre charm. The predictability of the vitriol, bananaism, and ultraconservatism provides a level of reliability of response that maybe isn’t present in other towns.

Southport is a town that’s stuck in the past and stuck in its ways. But it’s my town, it’s inevitably part of who I am, and I’ll always look out for it.

This 1,146th post was filed under: Headliner.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 10th July 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 2nd June 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 7th May 2017)

What is an extremist? (published 20th July 2005)

Mr Cameron and hoodies (published 9th July 2006)

Diary for 17th November 2008 (published 17th November 2008)

New York’s hidden subway station (published 29th March 2013)


Comments and responses

Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 11:50 on 5th June 2007.

Angela – I’m interested in your proposal, but your emails keep bouncing back at me! Feel free to email more details, or I’ll call you tomorrow.


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 18:08 on 6th June 2007.

Simon, I just want to tell you that you are now accepting the e-mail ramblings of a desperate criminal who is so bad he does not even know what crime he committed.
Yahoo has sent me a notice I have been suspended from there QA for some unspeakable crime. Apparently the crime is so unspeakable they will not speak about it.
I have no idea what they are talking about or even what they consider something I have done as so horrendous they suspend me.
How am I supposed to correct something I have no way of knowing I am not supposed to do.
I have been a journalist for almost 50 years and this is the first time something like this has happened to me.
Why is big (Yahoo) brother out to get me?
Are they going to knock on (or break down) my door in the early hours and drag me away to Gitmo or Abu Garib prison?
I wish I could tell you more, but I have no idea what is going on.


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 17:35 on 7th June 2007.

Since I have gotten no reply from Yahoo except a form e-mail thanking me for helping to correct problems with Yahoo Answers I guess they will not hall me off to prison in Cuba or Iraq. But they will not let me ask or answer questions on their site, either. I guess you will have to be stuck with my ramblings. And they complain of censorship in China!!


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 20:22 on 7th June 2007.

Congratulations on not being quite such a terrible criminal as you first thought… but bad luck about not being able to post on there. You must have done something truly awful. 😉

I’m more than happy to host your ramblings… they always raise a smile!


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 20:58 on 7th June 2007.

The Yahoo police are going to take me away and force me to have sex with my first wife!! This is worse then Gitmo or Abu Garib.
And I still don’t know what I did. Perhaps the Bush administration is now running Yahoo. Oh, well. The truth is I don’t give a Google what they do. If they can’t even tell me what terrible criminal act I have committed, yet they keep that All Headline News on line, I don’t want to be associated with them. But it does present a big brother situation when someone or some entity can keep you off the Internet without even an explanation of why. If they say so-it is so. Perhaps the Internet Nazis have won.


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 02:13 on 10th June 2007.

I have just gotten an e-mail from the Internet Nazis over at Yahoo. They tell me they can not reinstate me. They also say I can not even look over my past writings,let alone give me an explanation of why they suspended me. THEY have spoken!! The Yahoo gods have decreed I be banned forever from their QA. If I did not have this happen to myself I would not have believed it. No warning, no explanation, just the firing squad. If I am not sent to Gitmo or poisoned with a umbrella I will continue to write for this blog. I feel like one of the poor detainees who are not allowed to even know why they are arrested because of “national security.” I did not think an American company could do this. They then bitch about Internet freedom. Big brother has arrived and he is YAHOO.


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 02:33 on 10th June 2007.

Simon, the old investigative reporter in me got to work and I found out why I got booted from Yahoo. After I got shafted by Jeff Brown, owner of All Headline News and did not get paid I complained on several sites including yours, rip off report, AARP and Yahoo.Brown has good contacts at Yahoo and was able to use them to quiet my truthful, but damaging to him, comments. Only YAHOO HAS DONE THIS. I have been led to understand AHN and Jeff Brown are under investigation by several state and federal agencies -need I say more. It appears, you can be a crooked Internet scam artist and get away with it if you make money for big brother Yahoo. There has to be some kind of control over this kind of thing.I hope the Yahoo Nazis do not come after you for publishing my rantings.


Comment from sjhoward (author of the post)


by sjhoward

Comment posted at 09:52 on 12th June 2007.

How can you be sure that this is all related to Jeff Brown? I’m quite sure Yahoo won’t come after me… I don’t use any of their services regularly anyway.

But with this level of intrigue, I might advise avoiding sushi for a while…


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 14:00 on 12th June 2007.

By looking at the questions they cut out (only the ones “How can I get Jeff Brown at All Headline News to pay what he owes me—)-they say on the page it was removed and no one answered (untrue I got several answers-including contacting Rip Off Report) also I have a friend who is a computer specialist- he did some of the Star Treck animation- who has contacts there. I am more upset about how they refuse to tell me why they did it and can just shut someone off at their whim. Then they complain of censorship. If you look at the QA you will find vulgar and racist and explicit foul language type sex questions (no problem with the legit sex questions-but some of these are more like porno in language) Jeff Brown had told me when I found a bunch of hard core porno photos listed under Mort Karman All Headline News (the way it was you would think you were clicking on a news story and up came the pix-it was very disturbing-my youngest daughter uses those listings to teach our granddaughter and grandson computer. The five year old girl clicks on what she thinks is one of grandpa Mort’s news stories and it is a good thing her mother was there to quickly shut off the photos) that he had good contacts at Yahooo and could get the filth removed. He eventually did.


Comment from Mort Karman


by Mort Karman

Comment posted at 02:53 on 13th June 2007.

I promised to tell the tale (or should I say tail) of Babe-a pig in the city-wife number 3.
Babe was rather heavy set and when she lay on her belly in the grass her nephews would say she was the pig movie star.
Her parents were fantastic people and i have only good things to say of them.
Some of the rest of her family were -a little weird.
One sister had three children (she may have more now it was 10 years ago) from three husbands-but was never married. How could she do that, you ask? They were each married to someone at the time she conceived with them.
Another sister had a husband who worked for the US postal service. Every time I heard of one of the postal employees going nuts and shooting postal employees I would check to see if he was involved.
One of her brothers was an undertaker. When I was in hospital with a heart attack he came to visit in his working uniform when I was just recovering from the either. Imagine being not quite into it and this vision come up. I did survive, I think. (or perhaps I am really dead and no one told me)
Believe it or not,my current wife is as normal as anyone from Oklahoma can be. Dottie puts up with me.
If you think the stories of my ex-wives are something-remember they all get Sainthood because they had to live with me!!
Somehow I got three decent children out of all this. Two from wife number 1 and 1 from wife number 2. They are actually sort of normal.
Sorry I can’t come to the UK- I am just reading a post from the Telegraph that hay fever sufferers will not be given medicine/ or perhaps I will come over and sneeze on mad Pat.
As you can see, I have gotten over being banned by Yahoo.
I figure being banned puts me in good company. Nelson Mandella was banned in his native South Africa.


Comment from Anonymous


by Anonymous

Comment posted at 02:17 on 11th July 2008.

you peoples crazy!


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