The estates of Croxteth and Norris Green in Liverpool, which surround the area where Rhys Jones was shot last week, are blighted by poverty, deprivation and dependence on drugs.
One criminal lawyer in Liverpool told Socialist Worker, “It’s impossible not to locate the shooting in the alienation that young people feel. Croxteth and Norris Green are poor areas.
“Vast unemployment and despair in the 1980s led to a drug culture. The young people here now are the children of the children of Margaret Thatcher.
“There used to be big engineering firms in Kirby, north of Croxteth. Those closed, having a huge impact on Liverpool. The docks used to be the biggest employer, but now they’ve gone.”
Martin Timson works with homeless people in Liverpool. He said, “Some politicians are blaming individuals rather than the horrible circumstances people have to live in. We don’t need attacks on individuals or specific communities, we need an attack on poverty.”
Jeanette Nixon is a nurse in Liverpool who went to school in Croxteth. She told Socialist Worker, “People are stunned at the shooting. Things do feel like they are getting worse.
“It’s obvious that society is letting people down. It feels like our children will have a worse life than we’ve had.
“What’s the point in young people following the rules if it won’t get them anywhere? The best they can hope for is a job in a call centre. They won’t be able to buy a house so they’ll be stuck with their parents.
“These young people don’t value their own lives, so why would they value anyone else’s? Some parents can’t cope and that affects their kids. They need support – not services that are inconsistent and not long term.
“My dad was a docker. I was brought up with aspirations and hope. But now the sense of a collective is missing.”