“Dear Govanhill:” Addressing Tory Hypocrisy


By Jason Michael

It warms our hearts to see that after 310 years of cold indifference the unionists have noticed the poverty and deprivation of many Scottish people. It is so reassuring to know that if we will reject independence they will end poverty in Scotland forever.

Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency – or part of it – is a “slum.” We have to hand it to the unionists. They really have us on this. There is no denying it. According to one 2010 study published by the Scottish Community Development Centre the “deprivation statistics for Govanhill show that… it is certainly amongst the most deprived [areas] in Scotland.” In most national socio-economic categories it measures in the 15 per cent most deprived areas, with housing in the bottom 5 percentile. There can be no argument that, by modern standards, Govanhill is a slum.

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Govan elects Nicola Sturgeon and suddenly the Express cares about deprivation!

Having volunteered in adult education and community development in a housing scheme with comparable levels of social deprivation for almost a decade, I have first-hand experience of the realities of poverty in the inner city. It is certainly not the case that people in these areas are just bad or lazy people. Poverty and deprivation create predictable by-products – addiction, violence and other criminality, antisocial behaviour, prostitution and other forms of exploitation. Suicide rates are higher, along with elevated incidences of mental health problems; anxiety, depression, and so on. No human being should live in this poverty or be abandoned in such an environment.

This is where Scotland’s unionists are right. It is a scandal that such areas exist and that people are forced to live in them. They have rightly picked up on the fact that Govanhill is in the Govan constituency of the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. Guilty as charged. This is indeed the hellish reality for hundreds of families in Ms Sturgeon’s constituency. It is worth noticing, however, that it is only since making this connection that Scotland’s Tories have given a rat’s ass about the misery of these people’s lives. Poverty has become the unlikely instrument of the unionists.

“Instrument” is the best word here because the opponents of the Scottish National Party have instrumentalised this issue. Since when has Labour or the Conservatives in Scotland cared about impoverished communities and the people trapped by them? Yet the moment they find a connection between the poverty that has been a reality of Scottish life since long before devolution and the SNP they are on a crusade. It has nothing to do with bettering people’s lives or improving their communities. Their concern is shallow, opportunistic, and entirely cynical.

We don’t need to explain to them that the conditions of people’s lives in Govanhill are at the mercy of Glasgow City Council and not their MSP. They already know that, but why should the truth get in the way of a good – read: utterly repulsive – political opportunity? Each of Scotland’s 32 local authorities is responsible for providing all of the people who live in them with education, social care, waste management, other cultural services, and planning. We all know this, and Glasgow City Council is no exception – except for the fact that, as far as Govanhill is concerned, it has always acted as though it is.

Scotland’s unionists and the London tabloid media won’t point this out of course, and for a number of reasons. Social deprivation in working class areas throughout the UK is a natural consequence of the Thatcherite and neo-Thatcherite model of economics and governance to which we are subjected. This cruelty has always suited the agenda of London’s ruling élite. But, more immediately, they won’t point out the Council because it is a Labour run Council.

Glasgow City Council – the branch of local government charged with development and providing social care to the people of Govanhill – is a Labour majority council, with 41 council seats to the SNP’s 30. Yet Glasgow’s Labour representatives have always been more interested in Orange parades than in improving the awful conditions of Govanhill.

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Have Tories from Dumfries always cared so much for the people of Govanhill?

One unionist social media troll from Dumfries, “@GeorginaSparrow” – a midwife who has voiced her concern over there being “so many foreign midwives and nurses” in Scotland – goes so far as to use this manufactured link between Nicola Sturgeon and the poverty of Govanhill as a reason to become a Tory. Her advice is to “vote for whoever can keep [the SNP] out.” This is nothing but FEAR – false evidence appearing as real, something the Tories are past masters at creating. Like so many others, she did not need Nicola Sturgeon to become a Tory. She was always a Tory, but – with enough self-awareness to realise how repugnant this politic is to natural justice – she has leapt on a quasi-ideological excuse for her objectionable political choice.

In the end what we have is nothing more than typical opportunistic Tory poverty porn, using real human suffering and misery as a weapon against the SNP and the idea of independence. It was during the history of the Union that the social chaos of the poorest parts of Scotland was born. Nothing was done to address any of this before devolution, and nothing is being done now for the people of Govanhill under the mismanagement of a Labour run council. Surely if this truly bothered the unionist consciences of those who have been in charge for so long Govanhill and other places like it would be like Belgravia by now?

All they can do is tell the people of Govanhill and the rest of Scotland that it is all Nicola Sturgeon’s fault. Misdirection and smoke and mirrors – this is all they’ve got. Well May the fourth is coming, and the people of Glasgow have the opportunity to try something that hasn’t been tried before; getting rid of Labour! So when it comes to the SNP and the fight against the conditions that make Govanhill what it is, I have this to say: Join the rebel alliance and may the fourth be with you.

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Shocking living conditions in Glasgow’s Govanhill


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15 thoughts on ““Dear Govanhill:” Addressing Tory Hypocrisy

  1. Govanhill was a slum before N Sturgeon became its Mp the fault must be placed on immigration I have witnessed residents off ethnic minorities throwing rubbish over bannisters inside residency and out in back courts also the streets.Glasgow city council is part to blame to but this main blame must be put on the people of Govanhill.

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  2. Govanhill is a vibrant and wonderful place known as the window to the world or Ellis Island depending on which looney you listening to. Gerry Hassan loves the “hipster space ” while the Govanhill Baths Trust claim Govanhill is like anywhere else ……. The writer blames Glasgow City Council but fails to Local councils are not a law unto themselves and the Scottish Government has enough power to overrule them. The Scottish Government has poured millions of pounds into Govanhill and it is still a slum so what is required is political leadership. If you want the truth from local people visit Lets Save Govanhill website , this group of working class people are called white supremacists by the SNP hounds on internet world.

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    • Michael, you are right when you say “Local councils are not a law unto themselves and the Scottish Government has enough power to overrule them.” The Government can “overrule” them, but it – according to the rules of local government – it cannot simply do their job for them. The Scottish government has poured millions into the area, but it is up to the heretofore Labour Council to spend it. Thanks for the comment.

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    • Okay folks, thanks for the attack. I will offer like for like. While the self-styled community action group Let’s Save Govanhill is to be commended for its interest in improving people’s lives, it has a number of problems. It’s own website is quite obviously an anti-SNP proxy that continually fails to lay any blame on the local Labour run council. Moreover, it has significant connections to British white supremacist and openly racist groups such as The British Voice – which blames a “relentless immigrant invasion” for the current state of the Govanhill area. So we can cut this nonsense right away. Thanks for the comment.

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    • Jeggit…provide evidence of your slanderous claims towards members of Let’s Save Govanhill or remove your comment. We are local Govanhill people who refuse to be silenced and not merely Sturgeon mouthpieces or puppets in receipt of generous funding from Scottish Government to toe the party line.

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    • As the author of this blog post and a member of the National Union of Journalists I will be more than happy to present my evidence in court. You will do well to note that I made no such claim about any member of your organisation. I simply commented on the link between racist groups and Let’s Save Govanhill. Please refer to the link in my previous comment. Perhaps you might want to take up your grievance with the people behind The British Voice. Have a nice day.

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  3. I think there is a lot of confusion amongst people who confuse the MP for the area and who is running the council within the constituency!
    These things should be made clear so the public can make an informed choice!
    There may be an SNP MP elected but the council in the area could be run by Labour, who for some time have relied on complacency of voting and have done very to earn that vote! Time to see if a change of council will make that difference! Vote SNP this time and watch the change!

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    • Hi, I have indeed looked up British Voice and there is a link to the Official Lets Save Govanhill group. This is not the Lets Save Govanhill Campaign. I understand your mistake which is easy to make. The official group is the one which supports Nicola Sturgeon and has since folded and is now a closed face book page called Govanhill Community and advocated working with the authorities and the police Lets Save Govanhill do the opposite. We only want politicians to do thier job. If you could check your facts we would be grateful for a correction. As for the March to the police station we did not get involved and saw it as a useless exercise. As the police do not respond to petitions from local people no matter what the school teacher told you. Cheers

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  4. The problem with govanhill is the people who stay there are blaming Nicola sturgeon.snp for the poor conditions in that area, it’s because that is her constituency, the snp should be telling the people of govanhill that snp are not the problem but that govanhill is run by the Glasgow labour council,if the snp hit that hard to the people of govanhill and the surrounding areas then when we vote on the 4 th of may, people who have not voted or didn’t vote for snp may change there minds when they realise that labour is the problem in govanhill and the surrounding areas and not the snp or Nicola sturgeon.snp

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  5. I am proud to be involved with let’s Dave govanhill and to claim it is a white supremacist group is a way to silence local people who attack the state. If you have a scintilla of proof that lets save govanhill are white supremacist or have affiliations to British voice or any political organisation please show it. The people in let’s save govanhill are a diverse group and simply highlight Nicola sturgeon because of her high profile. Also we use our own names

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    • Michael, insofar as Let’s Save Govanhill is committed to improving the community and the lives of people in that community you have every right to be proud of your involvement. You will note that I have not suggested that your group is white supremacist. What I did say is that it has “significant connections to British white supremacist and openly racist groups” – for which there is ample evidence online. Please refer to the link I have provided to The British Voice. Perhaps you may want to have a word with the people behind that website. Thanks for your comment.

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  6. Hi, I have indeed looked up British Voice and there is a link to the Official Lets Save Govanhill group. This is not the Lets Save Govanhill Campaign. I understand your mistake which is easy to make. The official group is the one which supports Nicola Sturgeon and has since folded and is now a closed face book page called Govanhill Community and advocated working with the authorities and the police Lets Save Govanhill do the opposite. We only want politicians to do thier job. If you could check your facts we would be grateful for a correction. As for the March to the police station we did not get involved and saw it as a useless exercise. As the police do not respond to petitions from local people no matter what the school teacher told you. Cheers

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  7. Rogue landlords..The council have a duty & powers to get rid of, but do not do it. Tenants who dumps stuff are not only migrants it has been going on forever..the council have powers to fine them, but do not, cleaning the back courts & streets up..that is the councils job..but they do not do it often enough. Just what do they expect NS to do..they councils job for them? that would not be tolerated or possible. Bad factors, landlords, tenants….been going on forever. how many times has Govanhill been in papers for this. I loved there in 1973 when they started to pull it down in places. It all came to a stop..as if it was set adrift. GCC think it is a dead cert Labour seat so do not have to work on it. time to kick them out!

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