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Be nice to each other....

It's European Neighbours Day but why stop at a day? In Liverpool we're making a week out of it, writes Larry Neild

Published on June 3rd 2009.

Be nice to each other....

ARE you feeling friendly to your neighbour today, the one with the noisy kids and the barking dog? How about Mr Jones who always parks his white van outside your house, cutting out the daylight?

Today is European Neighbours’ Day, a celebration aimed at burying the hatchet and giving a friendly hug to the people next door who you have despised since the day you moved in.

People watching those “Neighbours from Hell” programmes on the telly will know somebody who resembles the hellish family being featured.

Liverpool, ever different, believes there will be such an outpouring of neighbourliness, has declared not just a day, but a week-long celebration.Our elected politicos, who fight like cats and dogs in the council chamber – and that’s among their own party colleagues, want us to arrange coffee mornings, picnics and street parties.

When I worked in Wigan – yes I’ve been around – the traditional Wakes Week saw families from terraced streets moving to Blackpool and staying in B & B places alongside their neighbours. It was as though they couldn’t stand being parted from the people next door.

Our Euro rulers believe a continent-wide celebration will help create stronger communities.

I wonder how many people can name more than a handful of people who share their street or their apartment block.

I generally only find out the names of people in my street when I see their obituaries in the Echo.

So what kind of shopping list has been devised by the people at Liverpool City Council? Litter picking and getting everyone to hang a basket of flowers outside their homes.

As Councillor Marilyn Fielding said: "It's great news that Liverpool is embracing European Neighbours' Day, so much so that one day just isn't enough for us to make the most of our communities. Developing good relations with your neighbours is an important part of making our communities a safer, happier place to live.

"The week is a great opportunity for people to get to know their fellow residents and celebrate the importance of community life.”

Gerry Proctor, who is co-coordinating the fun in Liverpool, predicts that across Europe 8m people will mark European Neighbours’ Day. Which means the other 400m of us Europeans won’t bother. Perhaps it’s because we don’t love our neighbours.

It’s a good idea but probably a few decades too late. The old communities were smashed apart by slum clearance programmes and in today’s ever-friendly UK, with alleygates and double locks on every door, we have become kings and queens of our little castles – homes that have become bolt-holes.

There are still places in Liverpool where that community spirit thrives, but they are an endangered species. I hope they enjoy there street parties and picnics.

I’m not sure I love my neighbours, but at least I don’t hate them.

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mugger jumMay 26th 2009.

What about clearing the illegal immigrants off the streets and stopping them begging, thieving and picking pockets on the trains?Friends are terrified to come to liverpool now because of the continual negative publicity; shootings,drugs,gangs,murder,pickpockets and car crime.More police and stiffer jail sentences are what normal decent people want to see.Get rid of the vermin infesting our public walkways.

east lancsMay 26th 2009.

What a stupid idea. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

eleanorRigsbyMay 26th 2009.

My neighbours are great, except for Mr T at number 6, oh and Mrs G at 7. Then again I'm not that keen on the Brown's at 13, and that Tony fella from 3 is a show off and a pain. The rest are good.

Don't Call MeMay 26th 2009.

Yuk. What an awful idea. I hate the thought of some politician telling me who to be nice to. Perhaps they should set an example by having a universal hugging session outside the town hall. I like my neighbours to stay where they are - on the opposite side of my doorstep. The only thing we have in common with neighbours is we live close to each other. That doesn't mean they are nice, or to be fair, they may think I'm not nice. Anyway just leave me alone to get on with life without nosey neighbours trying to muscle in on my life. In other words, just go away.

PC49May 26th 2009.

Call the police - you know it makes sense!...OK, take the law into your own hands. If the police can't be arsed to deal with antisocial criminals perhaps they could neither be arsed to track down good but exasperagted people who have to do their job for them! Either way it is better than a life wasted cowering before scum.

The Grownup previously known as a stonerMay 26th 2009.

E&S, what the hell are you on about? Smoking pot makes you less likely to do that, or in fact do anything!

takebarMay 26th 2009.

AnonymousMay 26th 2009.

I don't think it is right to refer to Wirral folk that way!

Derek BateyMay 26th 2009.

Be nice to each other!!!?? You will be hearing from my solicitor.

warriorMay 26th 2009.

This is a load of Bollocks,what a waist of money.This is likely a scheme thought up by Council Officers,who have got nothing else to do.Warren sort these officers out

Gunther GrassMay 26th 2009.

It makes simple-minded, violent people paranoid and even more simpleminded, callous and violent.

Exasperated & ScaredMay 26th 2009.

My neighbour and his pot-smoking gang would probably throw me off the balcony if I so much as looked at them, let alone asked them to make friends! They are a law unto themselves; intimidating, noisy and ignorant. Complaining is more than my life's worth!

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