Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Finding somewhere to live in London is a nightmare, unless you have a lot of money to spend. In Wales, I'd be able to rent a really nice two or three bedroom house all to myself for the same amount as I'm paying for a nice bedroom in a nice flat in a dodgy part of London. It takes me an hour to get into work in the mornings - sometimes longer - on a bus then tube. Its far from ideal, but its the best I could find when I first moved here.

Its no way to live though. A few months ago, I was mugged right outside my house and I've been nervous about walking home at night since then and try my best to avoid it. Also, there's been at least four murders in my area since the beginning of the year - one in the local Matalan, and three on nearby streets. All knife crimes. All male victims as well, which is actually slightly comforting if you're female. However, seeing police tape and those white tents that are used to cover a body one street away from your front door shouldn't be common place. And yet it is. I've passed by the sites of some very high profile stabbings whilst walking around the city as well, where flowers are still placed by the families to mark the spot where their beloved ones have died. Its so tragic. Often, these victims are incredibly young with their whole lives in front of them. Its senseless that they should lose their lives in such a way.

The Government says its going to crack down on knife crime, and unveiled some 'tough' measures this week. However, I'm not sure how effective they will be. They don't go to the root of the problem. What we need are things for teenagers to do, and ensure that parents actually ensure that their fourteen and fifteen year old children aren't out wondering the streets late at night. We need to listen to young people, and find out why they feel the need to carry knives and act accordingly. If they felt safe, if they felt happy and if they had a purpose in life then surely, we'd see an improvement in things? Media scaremongering is only making the situation worse. What we need are realistic and long term solutions, and not just ones that the Sun and the Daily Mail will welcome with open arms. Getting their seal of approval isn't something that usually motivates Plaid Cymru, which is another reason why I'm a Plaid rather than a Labour or Tory supporter!

I was sitting next to a spotty teenager on the bus last night, and I noticed that he had a knife quite visably hanging out of his pocket. It really scared me, as he honestly didn't look that threatening. Ok, maybe he'll never use that to harm anyone. But you can't be sure can you? My answer was to move to another seat, which felt very cowardly but I didn't know how else to react.

My Mother would have a heart attack if she read this, and I'm sure she's glad I'm moving out of my flat and back to Wales for the summer. To be honest, I can't wait. Yes, London is great. Its exciting, dynamic and has everything you could possibly want. And I do love it. But Wales is better. I'll be able to walk to work, breathe in some good Snowdonia air and be surrounded by friends and family. Maybe you have to go away sometimes to appreciate what you have on your own doorstep... Does unman yn debyg i gartref.

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