Saturday, October 02, 2004

"Chaos City"?

I may not be a resident of Nottingham anymore, but I can still get indignant on behalf of those who still live there.

This sort of article - from the Mirror, but it could just as easily have appeared somewhere else - really makes me angry, depicting the city as it does as some kind of horrific lawless bedlam.

Well, contrary to what you might have read, walking through Nottingham on a Friday or Saturday night is not like taking a stroll through a Hieronymous Bosch painting. True, the pubs and clubs in and around Market Square can be described as lively, and those who frequent them are often drunk and rowdy - but to tar everyone with this brush, or to denounce the whole city on this basis, is unforgivable.

I'm not denying that drink causes innumerable problems, or that the local police force are stretched to their very limit by the task of keeping everything under control, something Chief Constable Steve Green takes every opportunity to point out.

But what annoys me is that, thanks to articles like this, drunkenness and violence have become synonymous with Nottingham, to such an extent that the city has been made notorious, to the detriment of everything else it has to offer. These problems are experienced in towns and cities up and down the country. Why has Nottingham somehow been made into a scapegoat?

What's even more disgraceful is the sort of sloppy journalism which implies some kind of connection between the city's drink culture and its problem with rising gun crime. Shootings are on the increase, yes, but it's all gang- and drug-related. Quite simply, if you're not involved and you don't do anything stupid, you're in absolutely no danger.

And where do they find these talking heads, resident in Nottingham and only too eager to spout off about how hellish it is? I know of no-one who's left or even considered leaving because of it becoming a dangerous, violent and ugly place to live. It's only dangerous if you deliberately or foolishly place yourself in danger - like any other city.

(Thanks to Upton Lark for the link.)

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