A Sterile Bubble Of Privilege!
'For all their fancy words, what these members and officials of Glasgow City Council actually want to do is turn the city centre into a sterile bubble of privilege, where their chosen 'elite' can pretend the whole city is basking in the glow of trickle-down economics... they should be ashamed, but of course they're not!'
-Sydney Meriwether, one of Glasgow's more intelligent residents.
Is there anything Glasgow City Council can do without making a complete arse of it? I merely ask because it would appear that at long last they've finally got their way over Paddy's Market. The council have been gurning and whining about Paddy's Market for years because it has the effrontery to be a bit on the rough side. As we all know the city council has an instinctive loathing for anything authentically Glaswegian. Anything that isn't a bland third rate, overpriced 'continental' snore fest is to be outlawed.
According to my useless local councillor Gordon Matheson the market has been making the lives of local residents a misery for years. According to Gordy boy 'The community I represent has suffered for long enough and Glasgow can no longer tolerate what I've called a crime-ridden midden.' It's funny but in the eight years I've lived here it has never once caused me even mild irritation, let alone suffering. Things like excessive noise from certain local pubs, rowdy and aggressive football fans, litter and insufficient rubbish collection have caused me a fair bit of suffering over the years but for some reason Councillor Matheson has never bothered replying to my polite letters on the subject or doing anything to remedy the situation. In fact all he appears to do for the area is spout crap in the papers from time to time.
The council is still sticking to the line that the market is a hotbed of crime which to be fair it is. However if my house was burgled on a regular basis I wouldn't demolish it in an effort to solve the problem. Instead I'd get onto the police and demand something was done. In addition to the usual counterfeit goods found at almost every market in the world Paddy's seems to have a significant number of drug dealers hanging about. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist but if open drug dealing at Paddys was taking place and the council knew about it. Why have the police not taken serious action to stamp the problem out? Either the council have failed to put pressure on the police to tackle the problem to give them an excuse to get rid of the market or the police have turned a blind eye. I was of the impression the police were under a fair bit of pressure to make arrests, it appears they've chosen not to make what sound like very easy arrests, which makes me very suspicious. Could it be that Strathclyde's finest are taking a bung from somewhere? Local rumour has it that the rampant crime in parts of North Glasgow can be partly attributed to corrupt police taking bungs to let their gangster chums run wild -it's not impossible. Alternatively the council could just be lying or exaggerating which let's face it would be pretty much business as usual for that arrogant shower of Labour pigs.
Remarkably the council do not intend to flog the Paddy's Market site off to developers to build another shopping centre or clutter up with a load of permanently vacant 'luxury' apartments. Oh no they have plans! Paddy's will remain a market but a 'mini-Camden Market' -God forbid anything should happen in Glasgow that hasn't been ripped off from a larger city. Frankly I'm amazed the 'continent' wasn't mentioned. For those of you who don't know the continent is a magical place where everything is better and more civilised than Britain. To be fair they have a point, what I love about the continent is the constant smoking, the long lunches, the strikes, the public holidays, complete absence of enforcement of EU directives and the mad driving. It also feels authentic which is more than can be said for this third rate theme park. Why do they never want to copy any of the fun stuff?
Not only are we getting a fake Camden Market but it will be 'cultural' as well. That doesn't mean there will be stalls flogging bassoons to classical musicians but that there will be immigrants with stalls selling foreign gee-gaws. Good God where would we all be without the the council? Instead of leaving the various new immigrant groups in Glasgow get on with opening restaurants, delis and shops as they have been doing for the last few years, the poor sods are to be herded into a doomed market to add a bit of 'colour'. It may surprise the council to learn the immigrants have been lending a bit of 'colour' to Paddy's for a while now by shopping in it. This sort of thrifty behaviour is what allows them to save up and start their own businesses, study for professional qualifications or put their children through school. In fact Paddy's was started by immigrant Irish traders in the day's before foreigners were reduced to the status of window dressing by unconsciously racist morons.
You will note above that I describe the market as 'doomed'. I'd love to be proved wrong on that score. Having run a small retail business in Glasgow I know just how valuable cheap premises are. Glasgow is not an easy city to trade in for the independant retailer in part due to the locals love of big brands names and the council's embarrassing willingness to behave like the chain store's lapdog. Honestly the Argyle St branch of Marks and Spencer could start selling child sex slaves for 50p and the council would still praise them to the skies. Anyway I've wandered. Why is the market doomed? Well it is situated between Kings Court and The Briggait. Kings Court is full of the sort of arty retailers the council wants to lure to the kiddy on Camden. Well I say full what I mean is in between the empty units. Those retailers still trading in Kings Court are hanging on by their fingernails. It's a vicious circle, they get little passing trade but can't afford to do any proper advertising to attract customers and so they limp on counting the pennies and dreaming of the pounds. Not that the council lift a finger to help them out of course. Why spend a couple of thousand promoting small retailers when you can blow millions promoting the upmarket chain stores on Buchanan St. As for The Briggait with hindsight this was a warning about the direction this city is heading in. For no real reason the council decided to turn this into an upmarket shopping centre in the 1980s in a city with at that time record unemployment levels and on a street with little passing trade. Would you be amazed to learn that it bombed? The last I heard the premises were being used by some arts group.
I am no business expert but common sense alone suggests that the enforced yuppiefication of that areas retail sector is doomed to fail. For heaven's sake it's the central east end. People want bargains -cheap fags, cheap furniture, cheap clothes, gold chains that turn your neck green, pirate DVDs and old dustbin lids. If we want a fair trade rug produced on a handloom by a disabled goat in Peru then we go to the west end. To put it in newspaper terms the west end is The Guardian and the east end is The Sun. The councils actions are like plonking a baps out Polly Toynbee on page 3 and asking Jon Gaunt to write a glowing review of the Haringey LGBT asylum seekers mime troupe's version of Starlight Express. Only not as funny.
I am sick to the back teeth of this upmarket city pretence. It's flapdoodle of the highest order. It's not that I don't want my city to improve because much as I mock it I do love my bit of the world. I have never wished to be anything other than Glaswegian -it's a great arsehole detector for a start. If I meet someone and they start sneering at me for being a 'weegie' I know instantly that they are operating way beneath my head and add them to the list of people I don't have to pretend to like. Glasgow is a city blessed with vast reserves of untapped potential and cursed with no-one in authority with the first clue what to do with it. The greatest boxers the world will never know are currently eating and drinking their way into soft flab and waddling around Glasgow picking fights. The world's greatest business brains that will never be used are scamming the benefits system and dealing drugs. Fine orators are bellowing garbled rubbish at bus stops. Philosophers and thinkers are boring the arse of their local. Great politicians are arguing about what her next door said to Natalie fae Haghill on the bus last week. Supermodels are stuffing their face with pies and disappearing under a disfiguring blanket of blubber. If the council put half as much in the way of time and resources into spotting and developing the potential of it's residents as it did into conning tourists with phoney window dressing this city would be the envy of the world and without trying a real tourist destination. Oh and let's face it even if I'm overestimating my fellow Glaswegians, a good education combined with the cheek of the average weegie would be more than enough to wing it.