Billy Bragg sings his new song, “Scousers Never Buy the Sun”, about the phone hacking scandal sweeping Britain. It’s really great.
But if you’re an American like me, the title is probably a mystery to you too. Thankfully, Angus Johnson is here to clear it up:
Four days after the Hillsborough Disaster, the Sun newspaper — like the News of the World, a part of Murdoch’s News International empire — ran a front-page story claiming that as events were unfolding, Liverpool fans attacked and urinated on police who were trying to bring events under control, sexually abused the body of a girl who had died in the crush, and picked the pockets of the dead.
These were all lies.
The Sun did not immediately retract its story, and the paper has subsequently veered between apology and justification. Sales of the paper in Liverpool plummeted in the wake of of the incident, and have never — twenty-two years later — recovered. Today Liverpool is one of Britain’s largest cities and the Sun is one of the country’s best-selling newspapers, but only a few thousand copies of the paper are sold in Liverpool each day. Many newsstands won’t even carry it.
In local slang, a person from Liverpool is called a Scouser.
And Scousers never buy the Sun.