Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Shanty town

I can't say I found last night's Panorama featuring Slough particularly interesting or informative - but I guess, living in Slough as I do, that shouldn't be a surprise. I had mentioned previously how I have personally heard Asian shopkeepers complaining about the "bloody immigrants" so it was good to see similar people telling the reporter that we should "chuck them out" or "don't let them in". At least I don't have to defend my anecdotal references to that any more as anyone who saw the programme will have seen it for themselves.

The government seem to think the population of Slough is decreasing. I guess this is because more and more of it's older established residents are getting out. Even so, the programme went to great lengths not to paint immigration in a bad light and seemed more interested in highlighting the discrepancy between what the government thinks the population of Slough is and what the local council say it is - turning the whole thing into nothing more than a squalid argument over money.

In a way, that sums up what is wrong with Britain. It's all about money. No one seems to care that the heart of one of Britain's great pre-war working class towns has been ripped out and replaced with a shallow, fragile, fractured, disjointed community living on the edge of breakdown. All they care about is getting their share of the cash rake off from the law-abiding taxpayer. The council's real concern is not for the town - it's for funding their gravy train of well paid public sector jobs.

White flight from Slough is quickening and I don't think it will be that long before I join them. I am reluctant to do it because Slough, for all it's faults, is the place of my birth - or rather it was. It isn't the place I was born in anymore. It's always been rather grey, drab and uninspiring to look at, but it was also a close-knit community of proud working class families who lived, worked and played together.

Now it's drab, grey, uninspiring and utterly foreign.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, Stan, for 'Slough', I suspect you could substitute the name of hundreds of towns the length and breadth of England.

It's that serious, I'm afraid.