Hey everyone In a dramatic u-turn commonwealth games organisers have sensationally scrapped the decision to demolish the Red Road flats as part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. This decision comes only days after an online petition protesting against the decision attracted 15,000 signatures.
Protesters have declared this u-turn as a victory for common sense and though the flats will eventually be demolished the fact that it will not be beamed live to the world is has saved my city from a situation which I could find no words to convey. This change of heart has resulted in our citizens breathing considerable sigh of relief as I and many of my fellow Glaswegians found this idea to be cringe worthy not to mention embarrassing .
To me an opening ceremony to an event of this magnitude is supposed to showcase what is good about the host city and country and it should celebrate the meaning of the event. Since when was blowing up flats and beaming their demolition live to the world a good idea it wasn’t and my reason is for reaching this conclusion is simple. It’s a sporting event we’re hosting not live production of Armageddon.
The plan to include this demolition as part of the opening ceremony was according to supporters meant to be a symbol of Glasgow’s regeneration and a move away from the mistakes of the past. I have to say however that in my opinion it is better not to replace past mistakes with future ones. This is not the wisest way for a city to make the cultural social and economic progress it needs for its citizens to flourish and enjoy a better standard of living.
Had this gone ahead I would have considered it not to be a symbol of faith in our future but rather of rampant stupidity. I mean what kind of signal would that have sent to the good citizens of the commonwealth? Do you think this would promote a positive image of the city or of Scotland because if you do I am afraid you are totally and completely deluded. Indeed I fear it may have given out the opposite message to the one which was intended and that my city may have been held up to the world as object of ridicule.
Don’t get me wrong I know the Red Road Flats need to be demolished but I believe there is a correct way of doing things and this isn’t it. Many people have memories of living in those flats my aunt and uncle Betty and Matt Kerr brought my four cousins up in those tower blocks which when they were built were I believe the biggest flats in the world. Therefore for my cousins to see the demolition of their family home being beamed live on television to an audience of millions or even billions of people would be I think just a touch on the insensitive side.
Indeed when I take family connections aside there is still one block in use at the moment as home to Glasgow’s asylum seekers many of whom left their native country because war or civil unrest had left them displaced and without safe shelter or refuge. The last thing they would want would be to be displaced yet again. So I for one am glad to see that common sense prevailed and that the flats are staying up even if it is only for a wee while longer. After all some people may want to take one last look before the demolition finally takes place. At least this way they will get the chance to do it before the bulldozers arrive and be able to say goodbye without the glare of the world watching what should be a private moment.
This decision was described as a victory for people power and in a way that is exactly what it was. Just like the keep the cone campaign when the council tried to remove the traffic cone from the head of the Duke of Wellington the people of Glasgow have spoken and when we speak we do so with the kind of voice which makes people listen to our case. It is also important to stress that when enough of us express our opinions on what we consider to be importance we can articulate the view that we may just be right to inform them of our legitimate concerns thus opening their minds to the idea of changing their minds.
By taking this step and listening to the voice of the people the organisers have shown good sense brought to an end an idea which should never have got passed the planning group brainstorming session and saved Glasgow from getting negative publicity at a time when the city will be receiving a boost from tourism. Make no mistake the Commonwealth Games can only be of benefit to Glasgow. In terms of networking and making global connections, the impact on the city will be felt long after the athletes have ran their last race in the city. This is why it was critically important to get every aspect right and none more so that the opening ceremony.
This is if you like Glasgow’s opening statement to the world, it says welcome to our city, this is who we are and what we are about. The sporting side of the games will take care of itself and for every current star who can’t make it a new star will be born in Glasgow be on the Athletics track at Hampden Parkhead’s Sir Chris Hoy velodrome our swimming pool at Tollcross and many who gain Olympic glory will take their first steps to stardom at Glasgow 2014. I know that I as a Glaswegian I want to the games to be remembered for all the right reasons, and the top quality sport we will enjoy. I do not want the memory of the games to be tainted or tarnished because of disputes over the opening ceremony.
It is for this reason I was opposed to what I believe would have been a PR disaster and I am glad that sanity has won the day. There is a Bananarama song from the 1980’s of which I am particularly fond. The song is titled It Ain’t What You Do What You It’s The Way That You Do It and never has any song been more appropriate to describe a decision than this one is now.
Yes we know that the end of the Red Road will soon be here. However I am thankful that due to this change of heart we also know, to use a phrase from my teenage years it wont give Glasgow a beamer.
Love And Best Wishes