Like the ghost of a cultured past, the Gown haunts Queens. It's on it's last legs and trading on it's past. You have to be an "Ex-Gownie" to get a job in journalism. To get on the TV you have to have worked on Queens Radio. After all, degrees are commonplace. Two-ones and firsts are are a currency that is, well, debased. You have to maximise your Cultural Capital, and that's what Queens is all about.
It's all gone wrong. Degrees are meaningless. They're doled out to anyone who can pay. And in the Race to the Bottom a First, a Second, a Third means as little as the flood of A-level top grades that gets mediocrities into that place. It's like viewing the Flynn Effect through the Looking Glass; marks go up as students get dumb and dumber.
The Gown is desperately seeking funding, and, like a student with no money who gets no student finance, they hear from Queens a resounding
Gregson's promise to help the Gown and
"all students who need it"
turned out to be a lie.
What sealed the Gown's fate was it's last act of honest journalism. Exposing the Caterpillar Blood Money scam shined a light into dark places and now informed opinion knows that That Place is a corporate whorehouse devoid of morality like a a gated business park in a J.G. Ballard novel. Indeed, the rape of neighbouring communities looks like the "Ratissages" carried out by executives at the Eden-Olympia Complex.
This may be its last issue and it is with sadness that I find myself reviewing a swansong so filled with dishonest mediocrity. It has had its low points in the recent past; trashing the name of a Holyland resident who died tragically young being the worst. Now it signs off with apologia for the "Ratissages" that drove a community from their homes.
It's not "students", who, after all, work hard to become our future professionals. That half of them never go to class, yet still graduate, seems not to matter. It is not they who throw the bottles, shout the taunts, and for fifteen years have tormented people till they can take no more and leave. Who is it that gangs together and stops a woman on a dark night to tell her,
"Sell your house and get the fuck out of the Holyland. This is our area now."
Obviously it's not "students" who are too busy, well, studying. It must be someone else.
Who is it that deprives people of sleep 'till 4 or 5am. It's not "students". They're doing what residents cannot; sleeping. We're not told how they manage this. We're also not told how they can study in that environment. Those two-ones and firsts are looking more and more bogus. Is it any wonder that thinkers are leaving? What value can they place on a degree from that place?
Only one Queens student has been charged. This reminds me of that infamous St Patrick's Day some years ago when the police made a point of only arresting kids from the Lower Ormeau despite every street being filled with mayhem at the hands of those who are obviously "Not Students". It's their friends, their brothers, their sisters, Wee Cahal from the Country up in the Big City for the day.
It must have been "wee trampy spides" who rioted this year, just like every other year, and the cops have bought into that narrative with a vengeance. The kids from the Ormeau Road are "The Problem". All crime comes from them; Scapegoats; Untermenschen. There is, we are famously told, no such thing as student criminal behaviour. That is police policy.
The one "student" charged should be "hung out to dry". He is an exception. And being such, proves the rule.
It's not students. It's always someone else.