I'm a little late on this but a couple weeks ago A.A. Gill - the insufferable Sunday Times columnist - wrote an article about the crucial election taking place today in Glasgow East (back story here, as to why this election is so important for Prime Minister Gordon Brown).
In his article, Welcome to Glasgow East: the hardest, poorest place in Britain, Gill writes:
The constituency is large and incoherent. It looks like the national museum of pebble dashing – everything that could have the bottom of a fish tank stuck to it has.
The people do not look good here. Often it is difficult to tell men from women, old men from older men. The mean parades of shops are dotted with tanning parlours. Yet the locals have the blotchy pallor of cave-dwelling consumptives; only their first two fingers are stained brown.
A colourful description indeed!
Now, I've not ventured into the East of Glasgow much - apart from going to a Celtic game or the Barras - but I have to give credit to Gill for walking his poncey ass through it! Them is some brass balls!
Interestingly, however, that Gill acknowledges that this area of Glasgow is rife with poverty and alcohol/ drug abuse, but fails to associate that such demeaning descriptions of East Glaswegians is perhaps due to these elements. No, instead he goes for the cheap shot and really, I'm not entirely sure what it has to do with the elections.
Further on, he writes:
All this may seem ridiculously 1960s Belfast and unsophisticated; but if you leave people to stew in squalor, what’s the surprise if they behave tribally?Holy shit!!! Did he honestly just write that?! Like, for real? In a NATIONAL newspaper?!
Now, I may be an immigrant but even I know that while Glasgow East has a healthy catholic population, catholics do not "always, always" vote labour. While it's true that Scotland is more or less a socialist country (read: slightly left-wing), the Catholic Church is more or less conservative (read: slightly right-wing).
In the end, however, he sort of redeems himself:
At best only 30% of east Glaswegians will turn out for the ballot. They are deracinated, as uncoupled from the political system as they are from the economic one. No one wants to talk to the candidates; they have no questions to ask, no use for a leaflet.
It would be easy to see these people as being the agents of their own misfortune, what with the smoking, the diet, the drugs, the drink, the strokes and the heart attacks, the rotten teeth, the pregnancies and the crime. But why should they get enthused about a system that has for generations taken them for granted?
The citizens of east Glasgow have bigger problems to be getting on with – like how to stay alive.He's still a twat though.