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> Glasgow's Scummy Estates?, Easterhouse and Castlemilk apparently
GG
post 18th Feb 2009, 11:13pm
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It at first looked simply like a case where an enthusiastic political commentator had gone too far and used an 'inappropriate' adjective to describe two of Glasgow's peripheral housing estates; a roll-call of seemingly irate and insulted Glasgow politicians soon made a fuss, and questions were even asked in Parliament. The usual scenario would have seen the commentator, suitably chastised and contrite, proffer words of regret, then humbly apologise... but The Spectator's Fraser Nelson was having none of it!

In the original article from the end of January, while describing proposed reforms to the education system in Scotland, Mr Nelson's wrote:
QUOTE
Reform Scotland argues that a parent in Easterhouse or Castlemilk (beautiful names, scummy estates) has precisely the same ambition for their child as a parent in Bearsden or Milngavie.

This led Glasgow MSP Charlie Gordon to table the following motion at Holyrood:
QUOTE
That the Parliament notes that the journalist, Fraser Nelson, in comments on The Spectator magazine’s Coffee House blog on 30 January 2009, referred to Castlemilk and Easterhouse as “… beautiful names, scummy estates”; draws Mr Nelson’s attention to motion S3M-1561, which celebrated the award-winning Castlemilk Stables project, a regeneration project that produced a building awarded Scotland’s Best Building 2008 for best practice in conservation and sustainability through design excellence; also draws his attention to motion S3M-2184, which celebrated Castlemilk High School’s 2008 HM Inspectorate of Education report, which awarded the school six excellent ratings, the best ever achieved by a Glasgow school, and to motion S3M-3286, which highlighted the recent award of the Evening Times International Scotswomen of the Year title to Mary Miller, a former Castlemilk resident and founder of the outstanding Jeely Piece Club in Castlemilk; further notes the many outstanding regeneration projects in Easterhouse, and considers that Mr Nelson’s rudeness towards the communities of Castlemilk and Easterhouse is outstripped only by his ignorance of them.

Mr Nelson responded in a later column, when he wrote:
QUOTE
I've said my piece on this in the magazine - focusing on education. It was in this context that I made the remarks that so offended Charlie Gordon. People are dying years before their time in these estates, sucked into a life of drugs or welfare dependency - and no one gets angry. Rabbi Lionel Blue once called it moral long-sightedness: the ablity to focus on poverty in Africa, or the effects of global warming, but be blind to the heartbreaking deprivation outside your own doorstep. But Scottish Labour isn't just blind to it, they are attacking anyone who points it out. Or pretending that, when I said "scummy estates" I was somehow referring to the poor souls who have to live in these welfare ghettoes.

Mr Nelson went on:
QUOTE
... What mystifies me is that stronger words are not used about Castlemilk and Easterhouse - because the poverty in there - this hideous, hugely expensive poverty - is a national outrage. Why do we tolerate such levels of deprivation? When did we become inured to it?

Who do you think is right? Is Mr Gordon right to challenge Mr Nelson by focussing on the merits of Castlemilk and Estaerhouse, or is the political commentator correct in saying that the extreme, expensive poverty found in Glasgow's estates renders any effective defence of them impossible?

The Spectator articles:
  1. Scotland demonstrates the necessity of schools reform
  2. We shouldn't ignore the poverty in our own country
  3. The tragedy of welfare ghettoes

Mr Nelson's video analysis of Easterhouse prior to the Glasgow East by-election:


GG.


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*JamesD*
post 19th Feb 2009, 01:54am
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Very interesting piece, I remember that someone visited Easterhouse from India and said that in their opinion the levels of real poverty in the Glasgow scheme were worse than in India, I don't know who it was but maybe they were correct???

JamesD.
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tombro
post 19th Feb 2009, 10:24am
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Please remember !

Easterhouse, Castlemilk, Drumchapel et al were costructed in the 1950's to provide public housing for people who were simply looking to upgrade the conditions of their present lodgings.

As a child who moved from Possil (my memories suggest we actually did have quite satisfactory accomodation there) to Drumchapel in 1955, I found 'the Drum' an exciting new place to live in. In those days we walked to school, played in the streets, went on long walks and long bike rides and basically did whatever we wanted to, especially in those long Northern Summers.

Sure, there were some organisational hiccups (the Drum had two small Shopping Centres to serve an impossibly large areas) but there were plenty of schools and, despite other schemes being built, plenty of safe play areas for kids.

Sadly, things did change over the years, but nearly fifty years later and long after emigrating to Australia (at the end of 1960) my five years living in 'the Drum' still bring back lots of very warm memories.

The schemes ('the Drum', Easterhouse, Castlemilk et al) weren't perfect but they at least gave Glasgow kids of that era some hope for the future !

Tombro rolleyes.gif


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petalpeeps
post 19th Feb 2009, 03:50pm
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I think it is probably the same for every housing estate . As the years go by , different tennants move in , and , am sorry to say a lot of them dont care what the place looks like . Closes dont get washed ,although the council set up a close cleaning system .Gardens get left to go to waste ,rubbish , graffiti, dog dirt etc etc , all this soon adds up to make a place look like a shambles .I myself have noticed a drastic change in the street where i lived for years , and which my parents still live, in Pollok . It is a shame as housing estates can look nice and be a lovely place to live and bring children up in ,it seems to be the norm to let things go to waste , and unfortunately has been for a while now . I think this could be turned round , and people could have pride in where they live again , but they have to want that change , and work together . smile.gif
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Targer
post 19th Feb 2009, 08:07pm
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I remember the Arden estate 0f the 50's and it was a fine place to live with fine people. Then it disastered (who knows when) into the terrible place shown in the TV program with those two decorator twits. It would appear you have to monitor who to allow into these schemes or one bad apple can change it.
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GG
post 19th Feb 2009, 11:27pm
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I should even up the links on this story a bit, so here goes:

A response from Tom Harris, Labour MP:

http://www.tomharris.org.uk/2009/02/05/nelsons-column

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pumps100
post 21st Feb 2009, 12:38am
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Fraser Nelson is a journalist I respect. He has made some interesting points about these schemes which in general I agree with.

However, to take some positives about regeneration, I visited Castlemilk last year. Having been brought up in nearby Croftfoot I know the area quite well. I was quite astonished at how the area had been rejuvenated. I don't know who was responsible for the transformation but in my opinion it worked. I was greatly impressed; the ideas behind it should be replicated elsewhere.

I am normally a bit of a pessimist when it comes to matters like this and would never had bet on it being possible to turnaround areas such as these. But I would have been wrong to write-off Castlemilk.

Regards

Ian
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Dexter St. Clair
post 21st Feb 2009, 01:23am
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Fraser Nelson is one of the many surviving ex editors of Edinburgh newspaper The Scotsman. He was known as one of the young fogeys whilst at Glasgow University and is a cheer leader for today's Conservative party. He does this by writing the same column in the Spectator every month attacking Gordon Brown. In between he contributes an article on what really grinds his gears. I think his former staff would describe him as a Polly Filla (see Private Eye)

Anyway he appeared on BBC Radio Scotland and fell apart when Tom Harris pointed out that Nelson's use of scum was normally associated with describing people rather than an area. The MP accepted that Castlemilk was a deprived area. When Nelson asked him if he knew how many Castlemilk people were on benefits (as if that made them scum). Harris answered him with a breakdown of how many people were on disability, jobseekers' allowance etc. Nelson had asked a question he himself didn't know the answer to and was left sounding foolish. He might have got away with that when he was a master debater with Glasgow University Union but he was caught by someone with a better knowledge of the topic ,on a medium that requires succinct responses. Nelson then ran all the way home to his blog and his blog fans and bleated out his excuses. I don't know what the Edinburgh phrase is but he was gubbed.


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tamhickey
post 21st Feb 2009, 05:26am
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I wonder why it is that he believes parents of children ANYWHERE should not have the same aspirations for their children to do well. This man is a crass snob where anywhere else outside his lovely self proteced realm of fantasy is a midden, and that those who chose to live there are mere detritus, to be scoped up by those great blighters, the cleansing boys.
Does he really believe that those on benefits in the areas he has condemned as "Scummy" are playing the system? After all, he was the one who offered up the life expectancy rates (which incidentally are well out of date).
I find it hard to believe that this man, bereft of thought as he undoubtably is, has been seen fit to work in Fleet Street, but then again...The Spectator???? Boris Johnston's toilet paper...."It's soft, It's strong, It's very long winded".
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petalpeeps
post 22nd Feb 2009, 05:13pm
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We live on a housing estate , and are forever telling our children that they are capable of so much . Everyone comes from somewhere , not all famous or rich people came from those backgrounds , a lot of them worked hard to get where they are , or have what they have . Some even came from slums themselves , so never ever think you cant do well in life , you can achieve your dream in life if you believe in yourself. What i do disagree with is anti social neighbours being allowed to bring an area down , and i know from experience it s not always council tenants or the unemployed that come under this catagory . There are home owners , who leave a lot to be desired . mad.gif There are a lot of good people live on estates , who would give you the shirt off their backs , even if it was all they owned , there is good and bad in all walks of life .
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Melody
post 22nd Feb 2009, 07:43pm
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I agree Petalpeeps in my experience those who have little share more. wub.gif Better, kinder, gentler qualities are often to be found amongst the less wealthy.
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stuarty
post 23rd Feb 2009, 12:45am
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my family came from maryhill and a was a new house new wean and a was made and brought up in Castlemilk it was not always a deprived area if my memory serves me correct there was only 1 family on benifits up our close and he was a waste of space all my neighbours know whom im talking about ,,,,, but dont tar all milkers as work dodgers as we all had jobs in my family and a still have family there and they work to pay for the mortgage in the great house they bought in castlemilk,,,,, they raised the troublesome spots to the ground and it is a beautiful place I would go back and live in castlemilk but my sons and grandchild keep me here as they are important and they have great jobs so Scummy estates as they were called we had the best years in the milk and freedom to roam where does this man live in a posh side edinburger morning side spam city big hoose nae money to eat leave our birth place alone ta very much its my heritage that is being degraded here grrrrrrrrr mad.gif


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GG
post 23rd Feb 2009, 08:40am
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FYI John Mason, MP for Glasgow East, made an EDN to Westminster on the subject:
QUOTE
The text of John Masons Early Day Motion (EDM) reads:

John Mason (Glasgow East SNP) – Easterhouse and Castlemilk – That this House rejects the description of Easterhouse and Castlemilk as “scummy estates” by Fraser Nelson in The Spectator; condemns the use of sweeping and inaccurate descriptions to characterise any community; recognises that, while these areas have problems to overcome, great progress is being made; encourages Mr Nelson, or anyone who shares his perceptions, to spend time in the east end of Glasgow and see for themselves the great achievements, regeneration and true community spirit that exists.

http://www.johnmasonmp.org/index.php?subac...;&page=Home

Mr Mason commented:
QUOTE
"During the by-election at which I was elected, much of the metropolitan media coverage made the inaccurate assumption that the entire eastern section of Glasgow was a sinkhole of economic depression. It is an understatement to describe this point of view as a lot of utter rubbish.

Part of the problem was that many journalists and so-called experts wrote about the East End without ever having visited it. I am sorry to see that little has changed in the past six months, and that some commentators continue to sound off despite their ignorance.

I have now put down a motion inviting Mr Nelson, and anyone else who shares his misconception, to visit my constituency to see for themselves the great achievements, regeneration and true community spirit that exists."

GG.


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tamhickey
post 23rd Feb 2009, 11:27am
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I have to agree with John Mason here.The East end of Glasgow is doing pretty well now thanks to the Commonwealth games bid and to the people's enterprising spirit. I do hate the stereotypes that the media try to provoke as being true when in fact, it's all based on a false premise. We should be talking up the people and experiences of those from Eastenders, not talking down to them.
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