Even before they’re finished, the Commonwealth Games have won gold for being the Friendly Games. That’s a tribute to the slick organisation, the careful planning and the decent funding the event has had. But it is also a true reflection on the character of Glasgow and it citizens. ‘Come on in! It’s nice to see you!’
And, of course, it hasn’t just been Glasgow’s Games. The whole of Scotland has been on show with sports events in Carnoustie, Edinburgh and at Strathclyde Park. Visitors have had to base themselves in places far from the sports venues because accommodation has been booked solid for years. But they have also come expecting to ‘see’ Scotland to whatever extent their time and budget would allow them to travel.
Now, as the finale approaches on Sunday 3 August, the great sports showcase wraps up for another four years before opening in Australia’s Queensland in 2018. Parting is such sweet sorrow…..
But by next week most of Scotland will be back to ‘auld clathes and purridge.’ The Scottish Parliament will be working from Monday 4 August till Friday 22 August. Then it will be in recess until after the Referendum on 18 September – returning to business on Tuesday 23 September.
Let’s home the shine of hard won medals, and proud effort over years spurs everyone on to do their best for Scotland in even bigger games we’re now playing in for our future and the future for generations yet unborn.
If you want to persuade people to vote FOR or AGAINST independence on Thursday 18 September you’ll need to have deep pockets – and move fast!
The Green Party and the SNP together have registered £1,494,000 to spend on a YES campaign.
The Labour, Lib-Dem and Conservative Parties have £1,434,000 to spend on a BETTER TOGETHER campaign.
If you plan to appoint an election agent then you have till Thursday 14 August to do that.
If you need to register for a vote – you have till midnight on Tuesday 2 September to do so.
So with 100 days to go there is everything to work for – especially if you are investing money in the process.
But what this is about, really, is investing in the future and the kind of future people actually want for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. Most people haven’t taken the time to sit quietly and envisage the world they’d wish to live in. So a few Dream-time sessions are called for. And dreaming is free!
Voter registration midnight on Tuesday 2
So Ukip got a seat in Scotland. Hardly surprising when the voting figures are examined. Only one person in three bothered to vote. Which means that two people in every three didn’t feel any responsibility for the consequences of their non-action. Either they remain silent or we institute what happens in Australia – impose a heavy fine on anyone who does not cast their vote.
Let’s hope more people turn out on September 18 to make the result then, truly democratic and therefore recognised as ‘the settled will of the people.’
When a building is destroyed by fire it is dramatic to say it is a tragedy. But that’s the only word to use as the Glasgow School of Art is hosed down tonight.
The unique place, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was revered around the world. Now it is a damp, charred edifice. And the contents, including students’ work for their final degree show, have been lost.
Not till the embers stop glowing can any assment be made about items that might be salvaged.
The thing to be glad about is that no one was hurt. The thing to be sad about is that this unique work of art has gone.
What went wrong, and why sprinklers didn’t damp the flames quickly, will be discovered in time. What is clear is that this amazing School, used daily by talented people following in Mackintosh’s footsteps, has gone.
For reasons outwith my control, this website has been inactive for a month. Apologies to regular followers of www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk but now we’re back on track we aim to bring you the news that others usually don’t publish.
By way of a catch-up:
There are 15 days to the Euro Elections ! Wow! And the only bit of information through my door has been a Ukip leaflet and a Labour Party booklet. So I’m still looking for the names of the candidates to vote for on Thursday 22 May 2014.
There are 77 days to the opening of the Commonwealth Games in July. On Monday 12 May there will be another opportunity to buy tickets. Suddenly from no tickets being available last autumn and the disappointment of bidding and getting nothing, there are now an extra 100,000 available. Ticket prices are the same – starting at £15 for an adult (£7.50 for under 16 or over 60). The excitement is building up and a series of local events to advise communities of street closures, traffic disruptions etc is on the board. But as a local resident, nothing has come through my door to invite me or inform me.
There are 134 days to the crucial vote on September 18 for/against independence for Scotland. The debates are hotting up and more sensible analysis and in-depth consideration is being given to the multitude of major issues around the idea. With the declaration by the Sunday Herald newspaper in favour of YES, there is a slightly more level playing field within the print media arena.
But on that vital topic as on the Euro elections and the Commonwealth Games, the main place for most people to get their news, air their views and select data to support their stand, is on social media networks.
Old fashioned newspapers, balanced radio and tv programmes, in-depth studies of major issues affecting each one of us, are as remote at the remote control and much less powerful.
Death and moving house are two of life’s greatest traumas. So it is a high risk factor the Commonwealth Games Committee are employing in using the demolition of the Red Road flats as an opening spectacle.
Even for people unconnected with any buildings being demolished, it is an intense, emotional event. The months of stripping out. The preparation by experts setting the explosives. The methodical safety preparations of removing people out of harm’s way. Then the count down. A siren sounds. Everyone stops. Holds their breath. Crack! Silence. And in seconds as you blink twice, thousands of tonnes of concrete, metal and materials collapse creating a dust cloud as high as the buildings had been.
A huge pile of rubble is made from the very place where people’s hopes and dreams had once been created.
But Glaswegians – old and new – have witnessed such destruction many times. They’ve experienced dreams being demolished before. The main difference this time is that billions of other people will share the searing emotion of the last throes of life of those homes, hopes and dreams.
In some areas of the city where this was played out a few years ago, the new life, new community, new homes, hopes and dreams are growing nicely. In other neighbourhoods there has been nothing left of the old spirit because the fabric of the original society has been blown away with the buildings.
What the Games visionaries are planning is for the new to arise miraculously and instantly within the opening ceremony time. Aye! Right! But they might just have the brass neck to pull it off.
Six months from today voters in Scotland will have a chance to make history. How they vote on Thursday 18 September 2014 in the Referendum, will decide if Scotland divorces the UK and goes it alone or stays in the same unbalanced relationship.
If enough people turn out to cast their vote, there will be a democratic decision. But on current trends, fewer than 20% make their mark. Even the increasing number using a postal vote doesn’t alter the low turnout.
So how can more people be persuaded that their vote counts? How can more people in this final six months, be persuaded to discuss the issues for and against independence?
Pathetic, bad-tempered tv pantomimes – such as the Lamont /Sturgeon skirmish – and the Andrew Marr hectoring, opinionated interview of Salmond, are more likely to put people off thinking about the issues.
So where will thinking individuals find respectful debate among knowledgeable equals? If anyone has an answer to that, this website would be delighted to report those debates.
Europe is taking legal action against the UK Government because levels of air pollution in major cities – including Glasgow – are not at an agreed low level despite extra time to get there. The lower levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) should have been reached in 2008. Now the UK faces fines of up to £300m. The cost in human terms is that 29,000 people die earlier than they should because of the adverse health conditions brought on by air pollution. Hear no evil.
Flood waters in the South of England have devastated vast areas of the land, ruined thousands of homes and brought out politicians to view the watery graves of millions of dreams. See no evil.
If this analogy were to work, the next item should illustrate – Speak no evil. However, when the leaders of the land cheerfully use Hear and See for convenient sound bites, you can be sure the Speak bit will utilized that way too.
In fact, they spoke out with intent – evil or otherwise is for voters to decide. Westminster’s three monkeys showed they were really blood brothers. Despite differing party colours they each said Scotland couldn’t use Sterling on independence. Tory Chancellor George Osborne said Scotland would be ‘walking away’ from the currency. Shadow Chancellor Labour’s Ed Balls said it would be ‘bad for Scotland’ to keep the pound and the Bank of England. And Lib Dem’s Danny Alexander speaking as Chief Secretary to the Treasury said his party couldn’t agree to such a proposition.
At some point the traffic induced air pollution will have to be addressed. Almost immediately, money was found to prevent further flooding and to make homes habitable when the rain stops. But we’ll have to wait till Thursday 18 September to see if the combined wisdom of three of the UK’s leaders will put a stop to the Scottish Government’s plans.
The year has started on the credit side. Glasgow City Council has rolled out a scheme to have £10 deposited in a credit union account opened by any S1 school pupil in the city. This clever initiative should help these young people stay out of the hands of pay day loan sharks.
But the City has gone further – the cross-party group which examined the issues of pay day loans has also succeeded in having the websites of the sharks made unaccessible from Council computers. And they’ve successfully lobbies other big corporates to do the same.
Now they are lobbying the Scottish and the Westminster Governments to play their part by giving the local authority greater planning powers to help stop the sharks renting in prime sites. There is a danger in this. If a local authority such as Glasgow City Council is allowed by law to refuse planning permission for a commercial company to rent premises owned by the Council, where does that stop? Could the council choose not to allow a health company it doesn’t approve of, premises? Or any political company it doesn’t agree with?
There is also the danger that by banning the pay day loan companies from prime sites owned by the Council, those companies will seek out – and find – premises to rent from landlords who don’t have the same scruples. Alternatively, they may resort to ‘back street’ shops not on the Council’s register or control. People seeking financial help – and who are not aware of credit unions – will then be even more at risk.
As we head for the start of 2014, most people take the opportunity to review the past twelve months and plan a new course for the year to come.
And this website is doing that. In the light of major events in Glasgow – the Commonwealth Games and the International Piano Competition – the influx of visitors will be phenomenal.
Glaswegians are good at putting out the welcome mat and will love the the chance to make folk feel at home. But we must also pay attention to the people who are already here, who need some TLC. The asylum seekers, the citizens who hit hard times and are made homeless or have to depend on food banks for something to eat. The communities that are ripped apart by multinational interests which seem to be given precedence over local wishes.
If we are to have any sense of pride in our own country we have to up our game in looking after our own – and not at the expense of welcoming the incomers either. This, to this Editor’s way of thinking, means each person has to accept more responsibility for their own actions and inaction. By each individual thinking first: ‘what will be best for my community?’ and not ‘what will be best for me, alone?’ we might have some common ground to build on.
With the chance of voting for a once in a life-time decision in September with the Referendum, we have to be clear about what we want as the outcome. Whether a person has decided to vote Yes, No or is still pondering the issue, it is vital that each individual considers the common good and doesn’t settle for the selfish position of ‘what’s in it for me?’
By thinking back to all the events and policies and decisions made in 2013 or effective then, that could be a guide to what will be ahead of us all in these times of austerity.
And if change seems necessary to defend a small community, a vulnerable group, for goodness sake speak out, act and work to make the changes you think important. It will not be enough for any responsible citizen to sit back and complain. Only by the actions of those prepared to work for change in harmony with others, will we have the kind of society the vast majority dream about.
The www.localnewsglasgow.co.uk wishes all our followers a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.