Thursday, 13 March 2014

East Is East And West Is West!

      As a football pundit once said, "Football is a game of two halves", to me a non-football guy, I thought that was obvious, I always  miss the subtleties of the "beautiful game". However it could also be said that Glasgow is a city of two halves, the West End and the East End, and according to the Mafia in George Square, East is East and West is West, and ne'r the twain shall meet. This divide is obvious to all our senses, visit each End and the difference startles and baffles all those senses. On visiting these "ends" the first impact is visual, the West End, busy shops, cafes, bistros, pubs, restaurants and the smell of affluence, visit the East End, closed shops, derelict buildings, empty spaces, poor housing and the smell of poverty. The difference is not just apparent to our senses, it is embedded in the lives of those who live in each of these two "Ends". The life expectancy in parts of the East End are as low as 53.9 years, while a short (but expensive) bus journey across the city, and in parts of the West End, life expectancy can be as high as 82 years. 
      Now we know that it is not a genetic difference between the species that live in these two ends of our city, the root cause is that first visual appearance, affluence and poverty. Quality of life governs length of life, and in this society that is decided on affluence and poverty. We also know that poverty is not an accident, it is caused and prolonged by policies, and policies are made and carried out by people. It therefore follows that those people are directly responsible for the poverty, deprivation, short life expectancy, and the criminal plunder of the future of all those children who are born into those policy created conditions.


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