Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Great Deception? Ten years of the struggle for Govanhill baths

 
It is now 10 years since Glasgow City Council undertook the shameful decision to close Govanhill Swimming Baths. So where does the campaign to reopen the baths currently stand?

I have spoken at length with many of Govanhill's local residents with this question firmly in mind, and amid the many responses I received there was a recurring theme prevalent throughout. Most of the locals I interviewed were actively involved in the original campaign to protect this valuable    community resource. Nearly all agree that the campaign to reopen the baths has been hijacked by a small, but nevertheless influential and vocal clique who serve merely the interests of a favourable public relations outcome for all the agencies involved in funding the current renovation project, and in order to create the illusion of a democratic social inclusion exercise in action.

However, many of the former protesters I have spoken with are angered and outraged by the      manner in which they have been actively excluded from this process; they claim that the committee for the Govanhill Baths Community Trust is wholly unrepresentative of the local community (no Irish, no Blacks, no Asians, and no Roma's). So much for the "many cultures one Scotland" mantra.

Many of the local residents feel aggrieved that both the ex Chairperson and the current Chairperson of the neighbouring woolly liberal Pollokshields Community Council are also leading lights in the Govanhill Baths Community Trust's Centre for Community Practice (CCP). The rest of the CCP is composed of a range of professionals featuring such notable luminaries as David Miller, Professor of Sociology at the University of Strathclyde and self-proclaimed expert in the murky industry of spin. He is also a the co-founder of Spinwatch, a website publishing public interest reporting on spin (convenient, perhaps his specialist knowledge in his chosen field could be employed in explaining why the initial cost repair estimate for the baths of £1 million has since spiralled inexplicably to a whopping £12.5 million).

On the face of it the working class residents of Govanhill are understandably irate that a whole     cottage industry has developed on the coat-tails of the Govanhill Baths Community Trust e.g. Social Enterprise Centre for Community Practice, Govanhill Baths Art and Regeneration, Charity Shops, Community Hub, Southside Film Festival and many other enterprises including Streetlands all of which received considerable funding under the auspices of Glasgow City Council, Govanhill Housing Association and the NHS.

Govanhill Baths Community Trust's cosy relationship with Govanhill Housing Association as well as the mutually assured connivance of their former bête-noir Glasgow City Council, have ensured that three local business premises were made available for the exclusive use of fundraising and             promoting their own vision of how the redevelopment of the swimming baths would be best          implemented.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a keen shift in focus away from considering the swimming baths as a necessary, functional, sporting and recreational resource financially accessible to all, to that of a   facility which will incorporate an H.Q. for Govanhill Baths Community Trust. Their plans for phase one also includes the provision of a range of Community-based Art, Educational and Cultural activities as well as the opening of one Pool, Sauna Suite/Turkish Baths, a café...and more besides?

Well I suppose having free exhibition space exclusively for middle class artists to promote their   masterpieces is thirsty work therefore it makes perfect economic sense to provide over-priced skinny white lattes and paninis in situ to cater for the massed throngs of Govanhill Art Lovers expected to descend in their droves when the doors finally open.

It is further interesting to note that there has been no mention of what these dazzling new facilities are going to cost ordinary local residents to access. Thus far, there has been no mention of concessions. One can only imagine that after spending £12.5 million, prices will be artificially inflated in order to maximise financial returns which will in turn actively     exclude the vast majority of Govanhill residents who took to the streets in order to           demonstrate against the bath’s closure in the first instance. Or perhaps that is the intention: keep out the riff raff!

Add to the list of the potentially disenfranchised the many volunteers who were and still are raising funds for this project and who remain blissfully unaware that they themselves will ultimately be priced out of this middle class jamboree. After all, are they naive enough to believe that pricing concessions will be readily available for the unemployed, disabled, OAP's, students, school kids, or for single parent households or those on minimum wage? This is not about charity, it’s about big business and private profiteering, or as one local resident succinctly described it "they are not fooling anyone in this community, the Govanhill Community Baths Trust is a well tried and tested method of bringing social unrest and sensitive political disquiet back under the control of the established order in this City".

Firstly, as an instrument of social control create an homogenised agency to hijack the problem, because the problem attracts the funding which ultimately sustains the agency and   allows it to develop so long as it is agreeable and deferential to its political masters. The Agency will in turn receive the rubberstamp of approval which will allow them access to  millions of pounds in funding in order to create well-paid positions for the intelligentsia in this City (see David Miller, Heather Lynch, Alan Pert, Fatima Uygen et.al.) Paradoxically, there is a built-in disincentive to actually finish this project: this might explain why after 10 years of procrastination work has yet to begin, despite the many public pronouncements declaring the imminence of phase one.

In short, poverty issues in Glasgow have become the goose that lays the golden egg and the middle classes have never been slow to exploit any financial opportunity that arises out of our misery. The two-faced good Samaritans are being exposed, as are their disingenuous methods of siphoning public funds in the name of a good cause and channelling the resulting cash flow straight into the pockets of the private profiteers.

As a footnote to this account of sordid complicity I would further point to the latest media release from Govanhill Community Baths Trust, 28 May 2011: "after 10 long years of     struggle with considerable community support, the backing of Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and others, the Board of Govanhill Baths are delighted to announce that we are moving back into the baths."

I have just one question for the board to answer, that is if after 10 years of struggle with  considerable support from the community, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Government and the GHA (why not just name them) just who exactly were they struggling with? Perhaps it was a class struggle; I guess we will never know.

Roy Walsh, local Govanhill resident, June 2011

14 comments:

  1. When you say Blacks do you actually mean of African dissent or just non whites?
    Just a small selection of people involved with Govanhill baths Charity (No: SC 036162) and their ethnic origins:
    Moira - Irish
    Bernadette -Scottish/Irish
    Inga - Lithuanian
    Fatima – Scottish/Turkish
    Aamer - Asian
    Danny - Scottish
    Mona - Palestinian
    Janice - English
    Golam - Scottish/Asian
    Alan - Scottish
    Sofi - Scottish/Asian
    Aisha - Scottish/Asian
    Andrew – English
    John - Scottish
    Yazmin - English/India
    Blanch - Scottish/African
    Donny - Scottish
    Sasha - Scottish/Asian
    Sofia - South African
    Alan –Scottish/Irish
    And a small business ran by Roma in Govanhill have won the contract to strip out the front of the baths for phase 1

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  2. Unsurprisingly,not a single one of the above managed to make themselves available for a hastily rearranged public meeting despite the psychotic threats issued by the increasingly infirmed Andrew Johnson and his deranged consort Fatima Uygen.I would further confirm the local rumour that the small Roma business contracted by the G.B.C.T. are being paid significantly less than the minimum wage.Another anomaly that surely demands investigation from the appropriate authorities.These fraudsters make me sick.

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    1. As you appear to be part of the highly politically motivated movement FRFI Communist Revolutionary Party, can you confirm that the author of this blog - Roy Walsh - is in fact a fictitious character from the 1953 movie ‘Cosh Boy’ being used as a pseudonym for someone unknown or someone wishing to remain unidentified to pass on a political agenda smearing many non-political local charities and nonprofit making organisations in Govanhill and the surrounding areas?
      For anyone with a free mind just do a search for Roy Walsh in Google or your preferred search engine or method of research You will find only two R. Walsh listings in the Greater Glasgow and surrounding area neither of whom live in Govanhill . Check the Register of Electors with your local Electoral Registration Officer at:
      Richmond Exchange, 20 Cadogan Street, Glasgow G2 7LP - Public Counter opening times: Monday to Thursday 8.45am to 4.30pm and Friday 8.45am to 3.45pm or Phone: 0141 287 4444 - or ask for the full list of The Register of Electors at The Mitchell Library, North Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN or Phone: 0141 287 2999.
      respectfully, myleftfooy

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  4. It appears that Fatima and Andrew, are becoming quite unhinged...no dangerously psychotic, P.S. Roy informed me that he is not on the electoral register, nor did he fill out a census form, he can however confirm that he is still living in Govanhill, and passes your HQ every day. He would also like to know how the investigation is progressing?

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  6. Merrylee Malingerers,a band of layabouts and Ex Heroin Junkies one of whom has served several Prison sentences for extreme violence.Unemployed wasters who actually had the audacity to apply for public funding.The elderly and vurnerable people of Merrylee should be aware of the kind of people who they are allowing into their homes.

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  7. Excuse my spelling,long day at work,something the cast of MM would know little about.Vulnerable i meant to say.Activists,,,,Inactivists would be more appropriate,workshy,parasites and full of shit socialists who,if they came into a few quid tomorrow would not be seen for dust.As for talking about certain MPs expenses,,can Merrylee Malingerers please post on here how much in Housing Benefits and all other Social Security Benefits they have claimed in the last Quarter,Last Year,5 years,10 years and 20 Years.Politics Of Envy are well and truly at work here.More revelations to follow so stay tuned in,,,criminal convictions,sentences served,,etc etc etc

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  9. The Cuban Five,,WTF does Merrylee Matters know about the Cuban fives Case.I also read on their page where they were slagging Andrew "Golden BMW" Johnson.Golden BMW eh.These Communist pricks do not like to see anyone with anything.They make me sick.Some people work damn hard to try and better themselves and buy nice things,so what.They are envious of this because they will never have it because they are too bone idle and lazy to get off their arses to achieve anything in life so they sadly resort to slagging what they know they will never have and try and make people who are working hard feel guilty about buying a nice car or going on a nice holiday.Yep.keep sending your daft little letters peppered with big words to your old and grey and even then you probably wont even realise that nobody cares,youve been wasting your years.

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  10. Also,myleftfoot is correct so far as Roy Walsh is a pseudonym used by an Activist lol,,sorry Inactivist from Merrylee Mallingerers,sorry,Merrylee Matters who will be named and shamed very shortly.They do not reside in Govanhill nor ever have.

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  11. No reply from Merrylee Matters,,,very strange as they are normally very vocal...The elusive Roy Walsh has gone subterranean.Maybe he is still braiding his pigtails.

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  12. I have also emailed Merrylee Matters several times to raise some issues with them but have had no joy.

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  13. I have emailed Merrylee Matters on 5 occasions now.I have not received a single reply.They are constantly spouting venom and coming away with ridiculous and completely unfounded slanderous accusations against the entire G.B.C.T. Team and a long list of other groups and individuals whilst hiding behind their pathetic wee pseudonyms.Come out and reveal yourselves.Lets have some transparency here......I have also informed this Cabal of Misfits and Dropouts that i have been in touch with the local press to inform them about the Criminal Convictions of some of this group.The reason i have done this is i that think that it is vital that the good people of Merrylee and the surrounding areas are aware of the type of people who they may be allowing into their homes.If Merrylee Matters feels in any way that in doing so i have broken the Law or slandered anyone please feel free to leave a reply on here or through my email address which you have and i will gladly give you my details..I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR REPLY...RSVP. My email is mcdonaldcharlotte7@gmail.com

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