The stranger

A chapter from Darren McGarvey’s book Poverty Safari

My first appearance on the BBC took place at my auntie’s flat in Govanhill, on Glasgow’s southside, where she lived with my two cousins and a mother and child she had taken in who were fighting deportation. Having got involved in the Pollok Free State, she later became a local environmental activist and was eventually elected to the Scottish Parliament as an MSP. By this point I was about to leave secondary school but had trouble getting work.  I had been working as a temp in Next but


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I have read D McG chapter from his book 'Poverty Safari' with great interest. there are a lot of issues I agree with him especially the notion that politiciasn can't solve poverty. as a post-world war 2 baby I grew up in the east end of Glasgow. my early years were spent in a room/kitchen in a tenement. . for a brief period 6 children shared the same bed. there was no inside WC ( the WC was situated in a half-landing) . In 1957 we moved to Easterhouse and joined the great mass exodus as part of Glasgow's 'slum clearnce'. Our poverty meant that we could not go on holidays and some days have to go without food. there was only one car owner in our street. My education was mixed I was expelled and left school without any qualifications. I started my working life as a street cleaner. at 18 I decidedto go to Evening classes at the local FE college. I passed my Highers and won a scholarship to study at Oxford. I think I am still the only person from Easterhouse with an Oxford qulaification. since then I have obtained a Masters in Sport Psychology at Glasgow Univ and a post -grad diploma in Psychology from the OU. my main point is that  the chapter does not adress the need to provide the aspiration for children. Our education system forever consigns children from poorer backgounds as failures from an early age. we need also to give children the confidence to aspire and achieve. this means that the educational system has to be overhauled  and be less robotic.