Further justification of this city’s blackout of The Sun newspaper was found recently (as if any more were even needed), with a report into its effect on Euroscepticism rates in Merseyside. Two political science academics – Florian Foos and Daniel Bischof – showed that Liverpool people gradually, but definitively, swayed away from a Eurosceptic outlook in the years since the Hillsborough disaster, largely (but not solely) because of the boycott of the publication and its anti-Europe propaganda. Without it, Foos and Bischof estimate that Merseyside would have voted to Leave in the 2015 EU referendum by a margin of 60 to 40 (Merseyside voted overall to Remain in the referendum, by 51 to 49; Liverpool’s Remain vote was at 58 per cent). There were, naturally, many other factors at play in this decades-long switching of attitudes, such as The Sun being largely replaced by the Europhile Mirror, and European Union funding in the area that helped rebuild it after a post-industrial slump – a fact that culminated gloriously in the 2008 European Capital of Culture year.
These findings help to prove what we’d already come to understand intuitively: that quality matters. The quality of what news you’re served, the quality of the discourse you’re involved in. Just like we care about the provenance of the food we eat and the goods we buy, this report shows that we should take as much care with the news and information we ingest. As we head inexorably towards another election cycle – one that looks set to be at least as divisive as the 2016 referendum – we need to be aware of these factors so that we can equip ourselves accordingly. The power of what can be achieved when unity is allowed to flourish, rather than divisions deepened, is abundantly clear. When Liverpool boomed in the years of the last Labour government, it did so on a wave of enthusiasm and positivity that facilitated a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s hard to see how another viewpoint can be easily reached.
Of course, all media has its own agenda – even ourselves. I hope it’s obvious where Bido Lito!’s vested interests lie: supporting and encouraging; selecting what we write about based purely on taste; giving a platform to stories that we feel need to be heard. I sometimes see Bido’s role as that of a looking glass, reflecting back the best of our collective community. But it’s not always that; sometimes it takes on the role of a megaphone, an amplifier or a soap-box. When you see us out at gigs, hosting our own events, doing our own releases, championing local artists and spreading the word about how amazing this place is – we hope that it’s obvious where our intentions lie.
As we continue on in this same vein, it’s a real shame that we won’t be doing so with three massively valuable members of the Bido family. We’re gutted that Sam, Niloo and Lucy will not be with us as we move on to our next chapter. All three of them leave Bido in a lot more interesting and healthy place than when they joined, and for that we say a massive, heartfelt THANK YOU!x