We’re racist because we’re so friendly…

Matthew Parris reckons nowhere is quite like Belfast in terms of it’s sheer social solidarity. In fact we’re so solid with one another that Belfast is the most well catered for city in terms of local swimming pools because back in the seventies and early eighties when many of them were built it was physically dangerous for people to turn up at the wrong pool in the wrong place. I remember a mate with unmistakeably Irish fore and surnames having his name called out in Holywood Road social services offices who decided it was healthier not get up and sign on when two of his neighbours in the queue muttered to one another “let’s jump the fenian b******* when he leaves…” Nowhere that is but places like Blackpool out of season (via Nuzhound):

In a Blackpool taxi some years ago I asked the driver if the town was a nice place to live, even out of season.

“Fantastic!” he said. “Especially out of season. So friendly. For example, a black man came to live here and bought a local pub. Well, our community wasn’t having that; not here; not a black. So word got round among friends and neighbours to boycott the business. Soon nobody drank there. The black man went bankrupt and left. Yes – really good community spirit here in Blackpool.”

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty