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The word on the street

Brian Taylor | 10:23 UK time, Thursday, 22 October 2009

Let me share with you two sources of economic analysis which have come my way. One from the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. The other from shoppers in Springburn.

The first is a regular members' survey. It discerned that manufacturers are becoming more optimistic and that the tourist trade had a relatively good summer.

In all, there are signs that recovery is under way, while remaining fragile.

As noted, my second source of information comes from chatting to Glaswegians who are currently being pursued by politicians in search of votes - the Glasgow North East by-election.

Firstly, two votes of thanks from me.

To the posse of young kids in Dennistoun who adopted me and kept the pavement clear while I havered to a camera. Nice one, guys.

Thanks too to the folk who took the time to voice their concerns to me about issues which they felt should be prominent in the by-election.

Folk like the mum who was persuaded to speak by her young sons - then proceeded to offer an excellent analysis of what is going right in her patch. And what is going wrong.

To the other woman who paused on her way to the dentist, hope the treatment worked.
And the issues raised? Predominantly, two - or, rather, one issue, conjoined.

The economy, poverty, the lack of jobs - allied to the attendant crime and disorder.

I say "disorder" deliberately. Several folk I spoke to stressed that they weren't predominantly talking about major crime. Most were well aware of efforts to tackle crime locally.

Rather, they were talking about petty, loutish crime - vandalism, disruptive behaviour, lack of respect.

A sense, as one put it, that the area had lost its way a bit. Plus, of course, the ever present drugs.

Virtually everyone I spoke to made the link between crime and a lack of economic opportunity - although several also felt there were members of the community who didn't make enough effort to sort themselves out.

To be clear, this wasn't an unfocused, collective whinge. Very, very far from it.

These people were very well aware of efforts by politicians - Westminster, Holyrood and local authority - to improve things.

They knew about training schemes, they knew about area rehabilitation, they knew about leisure facilities, they knew about efforts to counter crime. They appreciated the public spending.

But they felt it wasn't sufficient. They felt it wasn't properly directed, offering me local examples.

They felt the core was preventing another generation from dwindling into workless malcontent.


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