I am a reporter at Common Space (link below) and I am writing a story about the Govanhill Carnival. I note that your group made some criticisms of the event which were published in The Express. Following this, comments have been made from the organisers of the event to me. It has been alleged that your group is an ante Roma group and that only three people are involved and only one of them lives in Govanhill.
I am contacting you as you have the right to respond to this and I would like to hear your view on the situation.
Our cause has been the subject of smear campaigns in the past which we believe are politically driven. Our attempts to highlight problems in Govanhill has arguably placed the First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon in an embarrassing position, after all she is the local constituency MSP.
Since our inception as a local campaign group in 2015, a noticeable pattern has emerged involving state funded individuals and groups operating within the area. Let’s Save Govanhill has often been labelled by some of these individuals and groups as racist, a Nazi organisation, white supremacists and an anti- immigration group. We have been accused of being linked to the EDL, BNP, Britain First and the SDL. We are also defined as being a front for the Labour Party, anti SNP, a tool of Westminster Tories and anti- Scottish independence.
We have never responded to any of the unfounded labels and derogatory smears as noted above, deciding that to do so would merely detract and deflect from the clear goal of our campaign, namely insist that elected politicians and paid officials do their job in Govanhill.
Perhaps we are an embarrassment to the First Minister for Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and her Scottish Government simply because we draw attention to the deplorable living conditions to be found in Govanhill which is part of her constituency.
Interestingly, many of our most vociferous and harshest critics tend to be partially or fully funded by the State in one form or another. By drawing attention to the appalling conditions in Govanhill do they fear that their organisations could not stand up to our call for a financial audit involving tax payers’ investment in Govanhill? Does this fear of public scrutiny therefore justify their derogatory labelling and name calling? We can only say that efficient and effective publicly funded organisations operating in Govanhill who can evidence intended outcomes and demonstrate value for money should have nothing to fear.
As for the numbers in our campaign, we are not some closed cult insistent on adhering to groupthink or a particular political ideology. The numbers of campaigners actively involved tends to be fluid depending on the current activities of the campaign. We simply want those with the statutory power to do their job and enforce the law. All of our demands are on our webpage.
Holding a state funded carnival in Govanhill in our view detracts from and attempts to minimise the horrific daily reality of many local Govanhill people. We liken this to the parades in North Korea where people starve while the state celebrates success. Face paint and nice words do not improve the living conditions of children who share play space with rats. These are serious issues impacting on people’s lives now as we speak. Political rallies dressed up as grassroots street carnivals, hipster cafes and artist spaces do not bring an end to the overcrowded slums or end the misery for sex slaves forced to work in the brothels operating up tenement closes.
Given that Common Space has never contacted us before for comment despite the horrific living conditions we consistently highlight as part of our campaign, we would like to invite yourself and any other interested parties to come visit us in Govanhill. You can meet with local residents and business owners and witness for yourself the filth, squalor and overcrowded slum housing conditions which could be eradicated if only the politicians and officials would do their job.
Let’s Save Govanhill