Conversation with a freedom fighter

The elderly freedom fighter and the  European met in an observation lounge overlooking the city.

“There, to the right” said the freedom fighter gesturing to the rows of shiny new houses “there used to be dingy terraced streets. Low rent, secure tenancy. Those houses were the first to go when the  Troubles started. The rent for one of those new houses would have paid the rent for the entire street”.

He pointed to a shiny new shopping arcade, a clone of those you find in every modern city the world over. “That is the New Market, built on the site of the Old Market, which was bombed and burnt down at the start of the Troubles. If you wanted a bargain it was the place to go. Not now though”.

The European nodded.

The freedom fighter pointed to a tall building on the left. “That is the University. Used to have the highest proportion of working class students of any University in the country. Now it is mainly wealthy foreigners. The locals can’t afford it”.

The European nodded again. “I noticed on the way in there were large billboards proclaiming the evils of abortion in very blunt terms. You have a problem with abortion here?”

“None at all. Abortion is illegal here”.

“And other billboards promising the law would certainly act on the occasion of hate crimes”.

The freedom fighter nodded. “That is because of the large number of European migrants here now”.

“Yet the locals have to migrate away to find work?”

The freedom fighter looked thoughtful.

“So,” the European went on, “what did you achieve?”

The freedom fighter thought back to when he was a boy playing in those same dingy streets, shopping at the Old Market and going to University, before the  Troubles and nobody cared what religion you were.  Now working class people had lost their secure low rent housing; their value for money market with working class traders and nobody could afford an education. The bright newly rebranded city was filled with foreigners and young trendies basking in the glamour of the city’s past. And you still had to go to  England to get work.

“Well, was it a successful campaign?”

 

 

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