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Thread: 'Britain is scarier than Bulgaria'

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    'Britain is scarier than Bulgaria'

    An article from The Times.

    From my own personal experiences, it is true. Bulgaria is safe, the UK is not.

    One of the many things that is a mess in the UK (though it certainly isnt the only country with problems).

    A Couple of highlights

    (In Bulgaria)..."I’m never afraid to walk home in the dark from the tram stop. I’m never scared of finding some drunk pissing in a doorway, or having someone stick a knife in me for looking at them funny"

    "Britain boasts a centuries-long binge-drinking tradition. You drink on an empty stomach. You drink not to enjoy, but to forget who you are. Drunk sociopathy is the norm. Why, it’s almost charming."

    "if on weekend nights the streets are a war zone, what sort of civil society do we have? A rubbishy one, with the dogs of self-hate rummaging in it."

    Quote Originally Posted by The Times

    'Britain is scarier than Bulgaria'

    Officially Bulgaria may be the EU's most corrupt country, says Kapka Kassabova of her former home, but Britain is scarier

    Kapka Kassabova

    Let’s go sightseeing. I live in a central Edinburgh neighbourhood called Broughton. It’s the kind of neighbourhood where the deli, health-food shop and independent wine merchant are housed in Georgian buildings and rub smug shoulders in the daytime.
    The night-time is another matter, especially come Friday, when the belligerent drunk hordes from downtown trickle down Broughton Street.

    If you were unfamiliar with native ways, you’d think you were walking through the aftermath of a small but vicious war. Rivulets of urine crisscross the pavements as you slalom between puddles of fresh vomit, discarded takeaway cartons smeared with ketchup, and the occasional survivor swooning in an alcoholic daze in some corner, watering the nearest pot plant. In the morning, everything is swept again.

    Well, not everything. On a Saturday morning, it’s normal to walk past the Calabrian restaurant and find its spotless window smashed. And the boutique next door, and the cafe next door to that. On a Sunday morning, it’s normal to find all the cars parked in my street with their side mirrors smashed. It’s normal to find the glass entrance to my building smashed, to have it fixed, and then smashed again. And so it goes in our pleasant neighbourhood. And when, in the middle of the night, I hear the pimply youths smash the entrance door downstairs yet again, I’m too scared to go and remonstrate. When I see a lad pissing in the street, I’m too scared to say: “Oi, this is not a public toilet”. In my first year in Britain, I was foolish enough to do this, and nearly got my nose bloodied a few times for my civic behaviour. I’ve learnt my lesson now. I just turn the other way, walk faster, pretend it’s not happening. That’s the British way, right?
    Since I arrived in Britain four years ago, casual knife crime has multiplied. I have become frightened of random violence — and cowardly too. If I see yobs attacking someone because he looked at them “funny”, would I interfere? You bet I wouldn’t. And yes, I hate myself for it.

    Now let’s zoom across Europe and visit Broughton’s counterpart in central Sofia. My family has a small apartment there. The area is called White Birches, and the balconied buildings are indeed white, though there are few birches. This is a pricey area, and last year our building enjoyed a shoot-out between two drug-smuggling rings. The brisk illegal activity explains the expensive cars that line the potholed streets, along with the beauty salons, gyms and designer-furniture shops. In the evening, women chat on broken benches. At night, homeless dogs rummage in the overflowing rubbish containers next to the parked BMWs.

    Bulgaria is officially the most corrupt country in the EU. Civil society is in its infancy. The ruling classes and the law are infiltrated by organised crime. “Other countries have the mafia,” said a former counterintelligence chief, “but in Bulgaria, the mafia has the country.” Some guides to Sofia advise you not to go into nightclubs frequented by “businessmen” with more than three bodyguards. These men are collectively named mutri, or mugs, and they sport Gucci sunglasses and big necks.

    They might have the country, but they don’t have the streets. Homeless dogs, putrefying rubbish and potholes aside, I’m never afraid to walk home in the dark from the tram stop. I’m never scared of finding some drunk pissing in a doorway, or having someone stick a knife in me for looking at them funny. The glass doorway to our building has never been smashed. Angry teenagers don’t carry knives. They grow up and become mutri and then they carry guns. Poor, corrupt, post-totalitarian Bulgaria is much safer for the ordinary person on the street than wealthy, civic, post-empire Britain.

    So what is going on? Alcohol, I think. Alcohol, too much money, and poor food culture. The average disaffected British youth has enough money to regularly buy a drink, a knife, and the latest mobile. His Bulgarian cousin has a family to fall back on but no extra cash. He is busy looking for work or emigrating. Destroying public property is a waste of time to him. Besides, in Bulgaria practically everyone except the mutri is disaffected, but practically nobody vomits in the streets.

    Not that every yob here is disaffected. Most of them are very affected indeed, with their tailored shirts or hen-party outfits, until they throw up over each other. Britain boasts a centuries-long binge-drinking tradition. You drink on an empty stomach. You drink not to enjoy, but to forget who you are. Drunk sociopathy is the norm. Why, it’s almost charming. It absolves you of all crimes, because by the time you’ve sobered up, you’ve forgotten everything, which is the whole point of the exercise.

    And although the Friday-night yobs that turn Edinburgh into a vomitorium don’t have the country in that they don’t own the police and the law, they own something as important: the streets. The streets is where we spend a lot of our time. And if on weekend nights the streets are a war zone, what sort of civil society do we have? A rubbishy one, with the dogs of self-hate rummaging in it.
    Last edited by Goughy; 24-11-2008 at 03:12 AM.
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  2. #2
    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Having been to both countries, I'm tempted to say I agree with you.. Been a victim of crime twice in the last month in the UK, while my neighbour sleeps with a gun under his pillow.. People don't usually assosciate that kind of stuff with the UK but I feel they need to wake up..


    I must admit, the mafia in Bulgaria kind of scared me, evidence of it being just everywhere.. Although I guess if you steer clear you have nothing to worry about.. In the UK if somebody wants a fight they just come up to you for one..
    Last edited by Langeveldt; 24-11-2008 at 03:32 AM.
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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    Well if you hang around dodgy area's what do you expect?

    Been to the UK twice and have never had a problem. And I have walked around plenty of times at night on my own.
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    Cricket Web: All-Time Legend Uppercut's Avatar
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    Officially Bulgaria may be the EU's most corrupt country, says Kapka Kassabova of her former home, but Britain is scarier
    That's a pretty big factor. I don't think i'll ever find anywhere less scary than Belfast, because the whole place is so familiar to me, it feels like home. Being away feels much more dangerous- i don't know where the areas to avoid are, the comments to lower your voice for, the people to cross the road to avoid. There's truth in what she says about weekend nights, but this being her adopted country surely plays a role too.
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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uppercut View Post
    That's a pretty big factor. I don't think i'll ever find anywhere less scary than Belfast, because the whole place is so familiar to me, it feels like home. Being away feels much more dangerous- i don't know where the areas to avoid are, the comments to lower your voice for, the people to cross the road to avoid. There's truth in what she says about weekend nights, but this being her adopted country surely plays a role too.
    Well I speak as someone living in Bulgaria and she is spot on. I find my 'adopted home' far safer than the UK.

    Well in regards to street violence and idiotic and anti-social behaviour. It is like a breath of fresh air to calmly walk at night in Sofia through areas you wouldnt even drive through during the day in the UK. However, the less we say about the wild dogs, pot holes and crazy driving the better

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    International 12th Man Shaggy Alfresco's Avatar
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    I would never pay too much attention to anecdotal evidence, and focus more on crime figures.

    Oh wait, the government cooks those. Carry on.

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Alfresco View Post
    I would never pay too much attention to anecdotal evidence, and focus more on crime figures.

    Oh wait, the government cooks those. Carry on.
    Thats true, somehow crime keeps falling in the UK, but ask anyone if they feel safer and pretty much everyone will tell you they don't.. However, media scaremongering has a huge part to play with that I guess..

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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Well if you hang around dodgy area's what do you expect?

    Been to the UK twice and have never had a problem. And I have walked around plenty of times at night on my own.
    If you'd spent more time in the UK I think you would quickly realise that a lot of what the article complains about is that violence and disorder are now not confined to 'dodgy areas'.. Pick literally any town centre (public places that are supposed to be safe) on a given night when the pubs kick out, and come back to me if you still think that's the case.. Perhaps you have just been lucky, and being a unit of a cyclist probably helps you stay out of trouble

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    International Coach PhoenixFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Langeveldt View Post
    Pick literally any town centre (public places that are supposed to be safe) on a given night when the pubs kick out, and come back to me if you still think that's the case..
    Would have to disagree with that. You can't bandy about terms like literally unless you have been to literally every town in England.
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixFire View Post
    Would have to disagree with that. You can't bandy about terms like literally unless you have been to literally every town in England.
    Nah fair enough, but judging by the state of some of the traditionally quiet ones I have been to after 11 at night I feel I can make at least a judgement..

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    International Coach PhoenixFire's Avatar
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    Well Ilkley for one is a place that has very little trouble when it comes to drunk and disorderly behaviour, despite having pretty ****ing awful drug problems.

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    You'll Never Walk Alone Nate's Avatar
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    Soutie Langeveldt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixFire View Post
    Well Ilkley for one is a place that has very little trouble when it comes to drunk and disorderly behaviour, despite having pretty ****ing awful drug problems.
    haha, everyone is too wasted to get drunk and loutish..

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    International Coach PhoenixFire's Avatar
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    Haha probably.

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    I guess it depends entirely on where you are in the UK. There's going to be a lot of differentiation in a country of 60 million people. &, obviously, one's perception of danger isn't necessarily directly related to the actual danger. I mean, after the Baby P scandal I would say there's a perception that Britain isn't a safe place for children, where in fact our child murder rate (IIRC) is the fourth lowest in the western world.
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