Glasgow cannot afford to be smug15th October 2008
Leslie Riddoch writes in The Guardian about why Glasgow's health problems should eclipse its status as the latest tourist hotspot.
In the Lonely Planet guide to the top 10 cities in the world, Glasgow makes the list. Investment from Dubai is going to fund the construction of a new luxury hotel in Argyll Street.
Scottish people - especially politicians - will be overjoyed. The city will bask in "a communal outbreak of smugness" which will do it no good.
The Lonely Planet tells its readers to: "Forget about castles, kilts, bagpipes and tartan. Now you come for the cocktails, cuisine and designer chic (plus the legendary native wit)".
Wait a minute. According to the Index of Multiple Deprivation there are a stack of Glasgow postcodes which show that health indicators are worse than those in Eastern European countries.
In 2007, the Office for National Statistics published information which showed that people in Glasgow had alcohol-related death rates which were double those of the rest of the UK.
So we should see that "backslapping is a luxury in a city more violent than New York and sicker than parts of Iraq".
There is some good news - Steven Purcell, the new Labour leader of Glasgow Council is tackling the problems many of the people who worked before him paid no attention to.
However, Glasgow holds the status of Scotland's "drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die" city. This excess has not been tackled and as a consequence its "massive problems" have been ignored - this is "suffocating with civility".
The Lonely Planet's glamorous plaudit has just ensured the city's issues will not be dealt with for another couple of years.
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