The good folk of The North Kelvin Meadow need your help. For the last year or so they've been transforming local wasteground from an overgrown haven for junkies, neds and flytippers into a brilliant and much needed community garden.
Unfortunately for this truly remarkable band of volunteers, the council had ear marked the land for private flats. Personally I don't quite understand this desire the council has to build yuppie flats everywhere but then I'm the sort of thicko that thinks people and communities are more important than private profit which no doubt my dribbling band of occaisonal emailers will inform me is typical of my stalinist p.c outlook. Though quite why I'd want to replace a system which subordinates the majority to the whims of private profit for one that subordinates them to ideology and one party state corruption has never been explained in these charming messages.
Anyway to return to the point, the good folk of the Kelvin meadow are due to appear in court on 21/08/09 and need folk to fill the public gallery to overflowing. The case reference is A2833/09 and the address for the Sheriff Court is: 1 Carlton Place, Glasgow G2 1DU. In other words it's the court in the Gorbals. I shall do my best to pop in on my lunchbreak as I'll be in that neck of the woods. I hope to see a few familiar faces.
I honestly can't see the need for any more flats in the West End, maybe some family housing but frankly the amount of horrible neglected, brownfield land in the East End is the obvious place to build. I must admit I'm very disappointed that the council are taking this heavy handed attitude to the gardeners on the meadow, given how helpful recent contact with them suggests they are to our activities.
Whilst I do not accept these flats must be built at the very least the council should be engaging with NKM in a positive way. If that land really cannot be used to benefit the whole community, then surely they could find them an alternative garden to tend. Court action, calling them tresspassers and treating them like criminals is not a proprtionate response by any stretch.
In my working day I breeze through the poorest bits of Glasgow. Contrary to popular belief the majority of residents are decent folk but very often are left living in fear because of the anti-social conduct of their neighbours. Yet for some reason nothing can be done about fly tipping, vandalism, assaults, breaches of the peace and the like.
We as a city need more people like NKM not less and it is a real shame the council are taking such a hard line with them. As far as I can tell they seem like good community spirited people, if the council in this case really feel flats are the best use of this space, better than a garden that helps build a strong community then shouldn't we have the debate rather than strong arm tactics? Shouldn't the council be trying to channel their energies where they can be better used rather than treating them like common criminals. Do the council not see that heavy handed actions like this stifle local initiative when that's the very bloody thing we need in this city?
I have always had a lot of time for council staff. Oh I know the council do their very best to conceal them but there are some marvels in there. This leads me to wonder if this is just being driven by a local councillor who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing in cahoots with a few of the less imaginative council officers. This Labour notion that everything that doesn't turn a profit is evil needs to stop. Maybe if the council let well orgainised communities get on with what they are doing we'd be able to do more to help out the genuinely helpless in our city.