Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

The rich gentrifiers, yuppies, and wealthy business interests of the Quartermile have complained to the council about the 'street drinkers' who often congregate in small numbers at the top of Edinburgh's Middle Meadow Walk. In order to get them out of the area, there is a call from Councillor Godzik to introduce a by-law to ban drinking in and around the expensive Quartermile development.

Sure, they are drunk, scruffy, noisy, piss behind the trees, and sometimes ask you for some change for some cider; but they are also friendly, and interesting people, who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and some of whom have chronic alcohol abuse problems.

They are being de-humanised by a pro-business rhetoric in the local press, with the apparent aim to get all the downtrodden people hidden from view, so that the rich can forget that poor people exist. When considered as part of the neo-liberal agenda for gentrification in the area, this is not really any surprise.

The underlying social problems that these people have been subjected to are not resolved by such legislation, and can only be resolved by the adequate provision of social services. The social exclusion of such disadvantaged people can only be exacerbated by this proposed legislation, and their situation may become worse.

If we ban drinking from every pleasant place to sit and have a beer in Edinburgh, then they will be criminalised and socially excluded. They need our acceptance and support, and deserve not to be just hidden from view and forgotten. Most importantly, they deserve to be able to drink there if they want.

In a reply to one critic of the drinking ban, Councillor Paul Godzik replied via email: "It is the antisocial behaviour that is the problem, not necessarily the alcohol. If indeed people were drinking alcohol in a warm and friendly manner I would see no reason to take any action. However, if people are acting in an intimidating, abusive or aggressive manner then I do believe that the police should have the ability to take action"

However, as I am sure Councillor Godzik knows, the police already have very good powers of arrest if people are intimidating, abusive or aggressive: such people can be immediately arrested for a 'Breach of the Peace'. This appears to confirm the view that there is more at work here than merely 'concerned citizens' troubled by the alleged antisocial behaviour of a handful of people.

Who would want to buy a penthouse flat at the Quartermile development, which is on the market for a million pounds, when they would have to endure the sight of poor and disadvantaged people every day?

More problematic is that while the City Council is busy giving permission for luxury flat developments such as the Quartermile, and pandering to the interests of the rich, Edinburgh is a city with an increasingly severe shortage of social housing, and provisions for the homeless. When the council has such priorities, disadvantage and inequity will no doubt increase.

Comments

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

What about all the unruly dog's these hanger's about seem to be accumulating? It's becoming like some kind of hobo cruft's show. these dogs pose a menace and danger to the normal sober user's of the park. I've no objection to these people drinking their lives away, after all it is there choice but do they need a gang of badly trained and menacing dogs to aid them. I think this is becoming a dangerous fashion between the 'disadvantaged' and is being used as a way of empowering themselves through the use of dangerous dog's. Any spare change or my dog will rip you up!! 

Another point; some of the breed's on display at the hobo cruft's show are way out the pocket money range for these 'social-drinkers'. Are these dog's being stolen?    

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

You what? That bunch of mangy mongrels?

I have been asked for money many times by Edinburghs colourful street drinking community and not once have I ever been made to feel intimidated. They are courteous and polite and whilst their dogs may not generally be kept on the lead they don't seem vicious or dangerous at all.

In other words yer talkin out yer backside pal.

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Meadow's observer

If their so poor and require the money of hard working strangers to bolster their drunken bum lifestyle, which is at least a great contribution to our society!!? (not), then they obviously can't afford to keep dog's. No? It would be interesting to hear from an animal charity on this issue and what there thought's are on the subject. and just to pick up on anon 2's point, I have actually saw 2 bum's training a dog to 'seek', and know of another regular street drinker who beat his girlfriend black and blue, then hid behind the protection of his rabid dog when neighbours attempted to intervene.      

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

I used to have to have to pass through the area and often felt intimidated as sometimes nothing happened, and other times for no reason the drinkers would swear at me, throw things at me and try(thankfuly unsucessfully) to set their dogs on me. When I was walking along and could hear where they were I'd try and find an alternative route if there weren't a lot of people about.

I know I should have taken their actions to the police but never had the confidence to. Glad the 'villanous' yuppies are standing up for themselves where I couldn't.

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Makhno

"know of another regular street drinker who beat his girlfriend black and blue, then hid behind the protection of his rabid dog when neighbours attempted to intervene."     

"the drinkers would swear at me, throw things at me and try(thankfuly unsucessfully) to set their dogs on me."

Well, how is a drinking ban at the top of the meadows going to stop these things that you say happen? (I pass by them nearly every day, and have never seen or experienced any of those things).

How is this ban even going to be enforced? There are still street drinkers in Glasgow, where its illegal to drink anywhere.

And say it was to work, the drinking ban at the top of the meadows was effective, they would just go somewhere else. Eventually they will be excluded from the wealthy parts of town, out of sight of the wealthy people.

Im not not romanticising them, im just saying that this ban solves nothing: except that the yuppies dont have to see or be bothered with poor people any more.

I will state this as plainly as i can. They are taking revenge against the poor for making them feel guilty: and they feel guilty for selfishly and greedily not sharing their prosperity with others. But they wont feel guilty, if the poor are nowhere to be seen!

 

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

Mr "Nestor" Makhno,

I think that the development going on here and the reason drunks are being moved on are not associated and related to the guilt of the 'yuppie' owners. Rather than the obvious avoidance of drink related issues in a popular part of town for tourist's and citizens alike, such as alcohol related violence!. If anyone has the crime statistics for this area we would love to see them.

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

'However, if people are acting in an intimidating, abusive or aggressive manner then I do believe that the police should have the ability to take action'

I have lived in this part of town for the last 4 years and walk down middle meadow walk nearly everyday and have never witnessed any such behaviour. I would also like to point out that although they have dogs I have never noticed a problem with dog poo, something which cant be said for a lot of dog-walking parks.

I think these accusations are trumped up and fuelled by prejudice.  

Re: Street Drinkers Upset Quartermile Yuppies

By Anonymous

Can I suggest that the 'friends of the street drinkers' invite them around to their home to piss, shit and vomit on their doorstep?