Why should Americans be interested in Liverpool? Well, the Beatles came from there, famously, and I am sorry I didn't have time to do to any kind of "Beatles" sightseeing, for I am sentimental about 20th-century England. Then there's the "Irish" feel to the city, and thousands of Irish emigrants once made their way to the USA and Canada via Liverpool. There's also the residents' feeling of being ignored or looked down upon by the elites, which is something Americans from non-coastal areas might recognise.
Liverpudlians--or Scousers, as they proudly call themselves--are on the friendly end of the British spectrum of amiability, with the Glaswegians. That made my job writing the aforementioned essay relatively easy. Three out of four cab drivers were well-informed and willing to talk about the Alfie Evans case; the fourth was rather deaf. The night receptionist at my hotel was informative, and the morning receptionist was willing to chat, too. Unsurprisingly, they were less candid than the well-informed cabbies. And then there was Alfie's Army.
Members of Alfie's Army were willing to talk, but they were not always easy to understand. From Edinburgh to Liverpool is quite an auditory jump, and I had to strain my powers of concentration to make sense of the new vowels. Writing down names was a nightmare.
I also put my foot in it when trying to establish what family relationships were because I always assume siblings-in-law are actually married to the siblings. This engrained habit caused awkwardness when I met my own British in-law's partner's son's partner, and now I understand why so many people in the UK now say "partner." Nevertheless, I still tromp about in my dumb way, assuming all couples got married by their late-twenties, eat at a dining-room table, and were read Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes as children.
The Alfie Evans story is more chaotic than my essay does justice to. For one thing there are duelling Facebook pages--one supporting the parents (Alfie's Army Official), and one supporting the hospital (Dignity4Life)--and it is unclear how many of these people are actually from Liverpool. I certainly did not meet anyone in Liverpool who said "Poor little Alfie should be allowed to die", but that is the refrain of Dignity4Life when they are not sneering at Alfie's Army.
When it comes to insults, AAO mostly confined itself to calling the good doctors and nurses of Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation (hospital) murderers. However, now it rails against Dignity4Life, and with good reason. There are those on Dignity4Life who hold up the working-class roots of Alfie's Army for mockery. They also attack the characters of Alfie's parents and accuse them of this teenage incident and that.
There is deep resentment that Tom Evans is a hero in the eyes of thousands of people across the world. Dignity4Life posters accuse Alfie's Army of being blind to facts (to put it politely), but they themselves seem blind to the fact that Tom Evans is a powerful symbol of responsible fatherhood and parental rights. They can sneer "Saint Thomas" all they like, but none of my cabdrivers would be taken aback by any teenage scrape a working-class lad got into as long as he is a model father and partner today.