Author says Words Used in Controversial Newspaper Article "Lost in Translation"
11:31am 24th June 2014
One of the contributors to a national newspaper article which painted a bleak picture of life in Weymouth has spoken out about his remarks.
Local author Sean Geraghty has been in touch with Wessex FM to tell ua his side of the story.
He says his remarks have been "lost in translation" and although Dorset is a beautiful place to live, that isn't the whole picture.
Sean stands by his comments that there is a drug and alcohol problem in West Dorset.
Sean told Wessex FM:
"The article was supposed to report on comments made by Sir Michael Wilshaw the chief inspector of schools, stating that aspiration and achievement was now a major issue in seaside towns. There were also reports from the Child Poverty Commission highlighting concerns.
Why was I involved in that? I was approached due to publishing a book recently that looked at a (fictional) darker side of country living (The Borassic Coast). In terms of being an authority on the subject, that's the entirety of it. I think several more informed sources from other coastal towns perhaps should have been selected."
"Over 90% of my time speaking to the journalist was about second homes, a loss of rural services, a lack of affordable homes, low wages and lack of available social housing. None of these comments made it into the article, but other peripheral comments did."
"Regarding drug problems, as serious an issue here as it is for those that are affected in urban areas, I made the point that in small communities a person's history can stay with them a long time. The escape routes can't easily be found from individuals or substances if people are locked into position.
"I cited a family I worked with, who moved back to London to get quality rehabilitation care for their two heroin-addicted teenagers. I particularly didn't like the way that was over-simplified. "
"However, to say there isn't a drug or an alcohol problem in West Dorset is denial. Otherwise why are/were there so many people involved in counseling or informing users, or supporting the victims of users?"
"Now that funding for this type of support and care work has been cut these matters do need raising publicly; removing support and sweeping things underground pretending there is no problem won't help anyone."
"I think my remarks were somehow lost in translation; I certainly don't recognise any context applied (or the correct dates) when I mentioned schools, petrol stations, pubs, post offices and shops in villages closing over time. Nor the speculation that this trend is either simply people's lifestyles changing or is in part a consequence of second-home ownership; a subject that urgently needs debating in all tourist areas."
"It has predictably sparked a bit of debate. Expressing concern and finding solutions is a healthy symptom for any community. Or should we all shut up, question nothing and keep taking the Jurassic?"