Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Worse Than The Wire

Well, now the Tories have really put their foot in it this time. How dare they say that parts of Britain were like the US television series “The Wire”. The actual quote is…

The Wire has become a byword for urban deprivation and societal breakdown in modern America."
"When The Wire comes to Britain's streets, it is the poor who suffer most. It is the poor who are the ones who have borne the brunt of the surge in violence under this government. It is they who struggle to live their lives against a constant fear of crime. Far too many of those features of what we have always seen as a US phenomenon are now to be found on the streets of Britain as well."

Well, I have one thing to say to Chris Grayling, the Tories Home Affairs spokesman, parts of Britain are so much worse than the Wire (in a different way), and has been since… well John Majors tenor as Prime Minister at least.

The problem is that politicians as a whole do not treat the poor seriously and are only too happy to paint every poor person as a dole scrounger. Does anyone remember the statistic, which came out during the Holyrood Elections 2 years ago, which claimed that Scotland was poorer than it has been since the 1960’s. Probably not, the big political arguments were about who supported Independence and who didn’t.

If the Tories really cared about the working poor, they would have made more of a song and dance about the scrapping of the 10p Tax Band, if New Labour really cared, they would have cut income taxes for the lowest paid, rather than take 2.5% off of VAT. However, the real stain on our housing estates are the lazy poor, as it is this group where lawlessness is most prevalent.

Benefit dependency is rife with many young adults on the scrap-heap by 16, alcoholism is at epidemic levels, while gang culture is a huge part of the landscape in Scotland. There was a report a couple of weeks ago which suggested that this was a factor in employment statistics, with young adults unable to take up jobs in rival gangs area’s.

I remember 10 years ago working for Community Education Scotland when they polled young adults in Renfrewshire. One of the things that came out quite strongly was that there was nothing for them to do in Renfrewshire. The situation has improved a bit, but in terms of facilities, I’m not sure that it has improved to the extent that it needs to.

Grayling’s speech is typical of most politicians contribution regarding the less well off, talking down to people rather than engaging with the problem(s). Living in a sink estate, I can see exactly the problems affecting housing estates. In fact, living in a sink estate has been the inspiration behind this blog’s title. However, until all sides get their act together, then the common 5/8th’s will continue to be let down by all sides.

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