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Monday, December 20, 2004

Patronising Guardian stuck in mud

Swansea and Cardiff actually pioneered something good and worthwhile at the weekend. Faced with an influx of party-goers into their City Centres determined to have one last booze-up before Christmas they decided that they should learn the lessons of the past and make provision for any bumps and scrapes. Essentially, the casualty departments of the respective Cities set up triage units near to all the action so as to take the pressure off the main A&E service back at base.

The idea was to assess and treat anybody who was injured during the celebrations on site and only if necessary to send them onto the hospital. Not only did it work well but it also generated a huge amount of nationwide publicity. Hopefully other areas will follow suit next year.

My only reservation was that all the publicity must have given people elsewhere the impression that we are major troublespots. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my experience Swansea and Cardiff on a Friday or a Saturday night are no worse than any other provincial town or City and a lot better than some. This was backed up by the fact that the two units only treated 27 patients between them.

The one thing that the publicity did do however, was to tempt the Guardian back over Offa's dyke. You may recall that the last time they paid any attention to Wales was back in October when Wales were playing England at football. Their reporter swaggered in armed with a swathe of pre-assumptions and promptly got all his facts wrong. This time their representative on earth arrived in the capital city armed with a handbook of purple prose and a patronising attitude that could kill at twenty paces.

Reading through the article I felt as if she was describing some frontier town in the wild west. This is a flavour of her writing at its most condescending:

All around others staggered; dazed and confused, some crying and bloodied, like survivors in the aftermath of a disaster. But there had been no bomb, no train crash or motorway pile up. This was the fallout from the last Saturday night before Christmas when hundreds of young men and women, their flimsy tops no barrier to the freezing temperatures, swarmed from bar to club to bar in search of pleasure.

Parked on a strip of Cardiff city centre known as "animal farm", Mr Loveless, a paramedic with 18 years experience, had the unenviable task of picking up the pieces.

Honestly, if she thinks this is bad she should get out more. Perhaps she should leave behind her swanky Hampstead wine bar one Friday night and go and join the crowds in Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or even parts of London and see what a real disaster zone looks like. If this is the sort of snobbish, down-your-nose attitude that the Guardian takes to the Welsh then maybe we should start a campaign to have them exiled from the country for good.

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