Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Might Glasgow follow Edinburgh’s anti-tourist lead?

There were some intriguing media articles concerning the ever-increasing tourist numbers arriving in Edinburgh year-on-year, especially during the days of the Festival and the Fringe.

I can confirm the effect, although it’s many years since I was a regular visitor there, either on a random basis, or during festival time, and it could be busy enough and disruptive with the numbers I joined them. I can only imagine what it’s like there now, with significant growth in both the tourist/visitor numbers, and the matching growth in performers who have to be accommodated as well.

The locals are becoming hostile…

EDINBURGH residents left frazzled by the Fringe are snapping up passive-aggressive T-shirts aimed at getting tourists out of their way.

The bright yellow garments are emblazoned with the slogan: “Please, MOVE, I live here.”

In a bid to make sure on Edinburgh residents wear the £20 T-shirts, they are delivered free to anyone with an EH postcode. Outsiders have to pay a £30 delivery charge.

Edinburgh firm Print By Hand created the T-shirt to help locals navigate their city during August, when the world’s largest arts festival comes to town.

“Please, MOVE, I live here.” Edinburgh locals snap up anti-tourist T shirts

Apparently, Festival organisers are taking note, and adopting a ‘Not our fault’ stance…

Edinburgh is at risk of being seen as ‘anti-tourist’ in the wake of campaigners raising concerns about the impact of festivals and events on the city, the chief executive of the Fringe Society has warned.

Shona McCarthy hit back at critics of what is claimed to be a growing “festivalisation” and “exploitation” of the city centre for major events, describing some of the criticisms that had been raised as “a bit weird”.

She insisted the Fringe should not be held responsible for the management of tourism numbers in the city centre, but warned the city’s welcoming reputation was “seriously in danger” due to an ongoing debate about the impact of the industry.

Edinburgh is in danger of becoming an ‘anti-tourist’ city, Fringe chief warns

While I’m happy to let them work out their own blame allocation and solution strategy, I wonder if this might pre-empt a similar response in Glasgow?

I noticed disruption last year while passing through Glasgow Green, due to the numerous large scale events held there, although I tended to be there once they were over, so only saw the after effects,

However, this year I’ve found that the Green was completely closed at one point, and I was forced to cross over to the other side of the River in order to continue my journey.

And I’ve had my access to the city centre, and even bus journeys disrupted as the streets have been closed for significant periods to allow various events and sports to be carried out.

On the one hand, this doesn’t affect me much as I don’t live or work there – on the other, if I’m only there occasionally AND have my day disrupted, then as a percentage of my time there, that become a significant number.

So…

If the claims I’ve heard by some, that what happens in Edinburgh eventually happens in Glasgow, will an anti-tourist movement  rise in Glasgow?

It may be nice to bring all these things to the city, and that includes the growing numbers of film shoots (which lead to days of street closures and ogling celebrity watchers), but I suspect that, like Edinburghers, Glaswegians may have a tipping point, and the patience of some may run out.

Media sources such as GlasgowLive now carry regular list of street closures for these events

They affect people whether they’re interested in these things, or not.

Just a thought.

Please Move t-shirt

Please Move t-shirt

Update

So, it may not be tourism, but only days after the last closure(s), it is yet another event that’s closing the streets in the city centre, and inconveniencing those who are not interested – or just fed up being diverted.

Several roads will be closed across the city as Glasgow City Council host a free environmental event.

The Evolution Green fleet will be taking place at the City Chambers on Friday and Saturday – showcasing the Government’s strategy to improve air quality across the UK.

Road closures in Glasgow – Council ‘Clean Air Strategies’ environmental event to take place in city centre

How long until the next set of closures?

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19/08/2019 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More damned activists

Once again, I find myself flying in the face of Glasgow tradition – and commending the measured response of Glasgow City Council in the face of yet more useless provocation from yet another bunch of bullies activists.

Protesters disrupted a Glasgow City Council meeting to demand urgent action on climate change.

Members of Extinction Rebellion interrupted councillors to deliver their message on “impending disasters” caused by climate breakdown.

Some councillors walked out as one protester read out a speech, ignoring committee convener Bailie Malcolm Balfour’s request to sit down.

However, the committee later invited Extinction Rebellion to join its newly-approved emergency group, which aims to deal with the dangers of climate change.

Climate change protesters interrupt Glasgow City Council meeting

As usual, it’s the activists’ way, or no way…

“We are Extinction Rebellion and we will be on the right side of history.”

In a commendable act fo restraint, rather than calling security and throwing them into the street, councillors extended an invitation to the protestors to take part in future debate….

When the meeting resumed, Mr Balfour told protesters: “There may be room for you to be a member of the group. Your voice will be heard. It’s not the done thing to disrupt a meeting.”

Vice convener Martha Wardrop, who will chair the emergency group, said: “We appreciate you putting forward your views.

“We’d be delighted to involve you in work in the next few months. You have to have respect for the council’s policies and procedures.”

Councillor Maggie McTernan said: “Climate justice is a matter of moral justice as well. It’s really important to remember it will affect those who are disadvantaged first.

“It’s important to engage with people who are motivated, and also people who are not keen, uncertain or opposed.

“If we don’t do this together it’s not going to work.”

Well…

I’ll wait and see.

For how long this lasts past the first meeting where ‘they don’t get all they want.

And they walk out, whining on with their usual song of ‘Nobody’s doing what we say they should’.

Activists

07/02/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment

Soft protest at the Glasgow School of Art

Although the original Glasgow School of Art building (which I really really MUST learn to call the Mackintosh Building) is closed for restoration following the fire, the Glasgow School of Art lives on just across Renfrew Street, in the £30 million Reid Building.

Like most places, it’s closed most times I get near it, but I still get to press my nose up against the glass (and there’s plenty of it in the new building) and stare inside.

There’s also a little shop in one of the side windows, and this trio was smiling back at me last time I looked in.

Cats Protesting Soft Toy Rights

Cats Protesting Rights For Soft Toys

04/06/2018 Posted by | Appeal, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

How to deal with the mailings that Virgin and Sky use anonymity to beat MPS with

Now that I have MPS (Mailing Preference Service) stopping all the direct mail from landing on floor, the really annoying companies like Virgin and Sky circumvent the system by mailing their rubbish to my address, but leave my name out, instead addressing it to ‘The Householder’ and technically not offending the MOPS guidelines.

Before anyone offers a comment below criticising MPS and stating that “It is rubbish and doesn’t work”, I would advise them to use it PROPERLY, and read the instructions. It is not an immediate service, and you need to work the system in order to make it effective. It can take a year or more to get some mailing to stop, which is not down MPS but the offender, as some direct mailing companies don’t update their database, and until they do, your removal will not be effective. The second thing you HAVE to do is forward ALL offending mailings to MPS with a complaint. If they don’t know a company is sending items, then they can hardly deal with it.

After about 18 months, and a dozen or more complaints (for which there is a Freepost address to send the material, so it doesn’t even incur a cost) I don’t get any more direct mail with my name on it.

But Virgin and Sky still have stuff delivered anonymously, to ‘The Householder’

Since it’s monthly, all I do now is open their envelope, remove the part with my address on it, and stuff all the other leaflets for taxis, curry houses, gardeners, painters, builders, hairdressers, tree surgeons, supermarket offers, etc etc, into it, seal it up, and mark it ‘Unsolicited – Return to sender’ having made sure it has their address on it for returns.

No idea if they have to cough up the postage, but if enough people were to do this, then the carrier (Royal Mail) might get fed up and throw them out.

They need to be taught that some people will never respond to advertising, and are just not interested in anything ‘pushed’ at them – and even avoid any company that indulges in such campaigns.

Yes, if you asked, I do have Adblock installed, and the accessories that make it even more effective, so I never see online ads.

I’ve also got a list of companies that now detect use of this option, and beg us to consider turning it off, to make an exception for them!

Guess what? I make a point of adding their appeal to a new blocking rule (so never see it again) and make sure I give them bad reviews – even though I’ve never, and never will, deal with them.

If it didn’t involve having to cart the box around to the Post Office, I’d do this as well:

28/02/2014 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , | Leave a comment

BBC News – Protest held over Burntisland’s silent clock

Bats in bellso often, a story appears that catches my eye because it just has to be the tip of something else which we are not privy to.

I found my nose twitching when I recently read the story of a protest held over Burntisland’s silent clock.

We’re expected to believe that after only one single complaint was received about the disturbing noise from the bells chiming in time with the clock atop the town’s council chambers, not only were the bells silenced, but apparently Fife Council thought the matter so serious that it ordered the whole chiming mechanism to be whipped out, presumably to ensure there was no chance of the bells turning themselves on again at some future time.

Not only that, this one complaint which seems to have spurred the council into more action than many have seen during the recent cold spell, has seen thousands of townsfolk march on the council offices in protest, demanding the return of the chimes. 1,100 people signed a petition, and 200 turned up at the Burgh Chamber ringing bells just before Hogmanay.

Camps have formed, and reason has already been dispensed with, as suggestions that the clock, which could normally be heard throughout the town every 15 minutes, might be set to chime only during the day, are already said to have been rejected, with supporters seeing no reason to change – the bells have rung for 150 years, so they should continue to do so.

I hope there is a follow up, or someone might care to add a comment below, letting the rest of us know what particular power play is behind this.

03/01/2011 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photographers protest against police harassment

Spotted the following, which is a handy opportunity for those of us who can’t afford to jaunt down to London to add our support to the ongoing threat of over-zealous policing to our right to take photographs in public places:

Photographers protest Trafalgar Square London

January 23, 2010. Photographers protest in Trafalgar Square London © Andy F

Regular contributors to Geograph.org.uk were among over two thousand photographers who took part in a ‘Mass Photo Gathering’ in Trafalgar Square, London, on Saturday 23 January 2010.

The amateur and professional photographers were protesting against increasing harassment and over-zealous policing which, they claim, is obstructing their lawful right to take photos in public places.

The protest was organised by the pressure group ‘Photographer Not a Terrorist.org’ and many attendees carried placards bearing the group slogan. Protesters and onlookers were handed ‘stop and search’ information cards outlining their rights when taking photographs in public places. The event was publicised through word-of-mouth, through Twitter and Facebook, and on photography websites.

The protesters gathered from 11.30am outside the National Gallery but later moved down into Trafalgar Square itself. By 12.30pm there were between 1,500 and 2,000 people present. The event was very good-natured and illuminated by the almost constant flicker of flashes. The Metropolitan Police wisely kept a low profile with very few officers in evidence.

As it was a gathering rather than a demonstration there were no formal speeches and very little chanting. The spoof ‘Vigilance Committee’ (one of whom was on stilts) handed out literature and made mock ‘arrests’ and the Socialist Worker newspaper erected a sales stall. Many newspapers were represented by staff and freelance photographers and several radio and television crews recorded the event.

The protest came after a year of rising tension between photographers and police. Both amateur and professional photographers have been routinely harassed and intimidated by heavy-handed police treatment. The most frequent flashpoint has been misuse of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. According to protesters, Section 44 is being used used widely and indiscriminately against anyone with a camera. It is claimed that victims are often left angry and frightened by police officers. This is despite a recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which declared that Section 44 is illegal.

For more information see The Guardian website Link and the BBC website Link.

See other images of Mass photo protest, Trafalgar Square, 23 Jan 2010

Our thanks to to Geograph.org.uk for providing the above under Creative Commons, and to Andy F for the words which described the event.

31/01/2010 Posted by | photography | , , , , , | Leave a comment

People see off Pollok Park fiasco

Pollok Park protest

Pollok Park protest

I had been looking at some past stories the other day, and wondered if the story of Glasgow City Council apparently doing its own thing in order to parachute a Go-Ape treetop adventure playground into Pollok Park had gone away, regardless of strong objections and a large campaign against the facility by those living nearby, and concerned for abuse of the park, with respect to the terms laid out by the family which gifted it to the city (not the councillors).

It seems not, and the plan is now history.

The Go-Ape facility was given the go-ahead by councillors in March of last year, despite the active campaign against it, after the made a visit to the site and held a special meeting. It would have seen platforms and zip slides installed into the trees near the Burrell Collection, but the company behind the scheme is now reported to have pulled out.

Go-Ape is reported to have said that the venture is too expensive to pursue further.

One significant point worthy of note was the Scottish Government’s decision not to call in the plan or issue any restrictions after it was referred to Scottish ministers because the council had a financial interest in it. Despite the objections of the protesters, it simply handed the complete decision to the local council.

Robert Booth, Glasgow City Council’s executive director of land services, said: “Obviously we regret Go Ape’s decision not to proceed with their facility at Pollok Park. Our main objective was to secure an additional attraction for park users at no cost or financial risk to the council.”

Save Pollok Park said it was “delighted” with the decision of Go Ape to abandon its plans. A spokesman added: “However, the council’s failure to consult and respond to the real legal and operational issues resulted in over two years of unnecessary work and a waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been avoided. We call for a detailed inquiry into the council’s futile posturing and mishandling of the Go Ape affair.”

Although the plan may have been sunk, there may yet be an aftermath.

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

14/06/2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ofcom appeal over VHF radio licence costs for rescuers

Port askaig lifeboat and station © Copyright Gordon Hatton

Port askaig lifeboat and station © Gordon Hatton

I’m no stranger to the costs of radio licenses, having coughed up as a radio amateur, CB user, and even in business for site use by employees and for van drivers, but I had no idea of the numbers involved for organisations such as the RNLI and mountain rescue teams. The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland and RNLI have have both expressed concerns about licence costs.

There a big shake-up in the use of the available radio spectrum, which really is a finite resource and coming under increasing pressure as more wireless equipment and networking systems are dreamt up and installed, and systems get greedier as they tend to carry more information, which means each one wants to consume more of that space for itself. Ofcom (the regulator) is consulting on planned changes to the radio broadcasting spectrum which could be introduced from next April, and the changes mean proposed cost rises for the use of VHF radio frequencies. In its consultation document, the regulator said a review was needed to bring about a more efficient use of radio communications which it described as a “finite resource”.

Ofcom has suggested charities could be offered a 50% discount.

Even so, with limited resources and dependent on charity and public supports, the rescue services say this will strain their resources. The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland has written to Ofcom regrding the costs, and each team member has also been asked to write letters.

In terms of costs, the RNLI has revealed that it currently £38,000 per annum after the VHF licence fee has been discounted by 50%. Under the new proposals, they say this would rise to £260,00, or £130,00 if Ofcom’s suggestion of a 50% discount was agreed.

The use of radio use on all vessels is free of charge, however, the costs described still apply onshore and include lifeboat stations and pagers used by volunteers.

Ofcm’s consultation is due to finish on October 30.

10/10/2008 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scottish Government runs away from Pollok Park problem

Pollock Park protest

Pollok Park protest

The Scottish Government has declined to become involved in the matter of plans to create a controversial tree top adventure course in Pollok Park, home of the Burrell Collection in Glasgow, and a spokesman has stated that: “The council has been authorised deal with the application in the manner it thinks fit.”

Operator Go-Ape want to install platforms and zip slides in the trees near the collection, and the scheme was referred to Scottish ministers because the council has a financial interest in the venture – and had passed the application for the installation, despite strong local opposition to the proposal.

Campaigners against the scheme say they will now look towards mounting a legal challenge, on the basis that Glasgow City Council has no right to grant a lease (for 21 years) in Pollok Park, which was gifted to the city.

The countryside park with superb walled gardens and woodland walks was once part of the Old Pollok estate, and the ancestral home of the Maxwell Family for seven centuries. In 1966, the parkland and house was gifted to the City of Glasgow by the family, together with the remainder of the estate, used for farming and recreation purposes such as golf

Image from Save Pollok Park web site, where you can find further information about the campaign to save the park.

04/09/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pollok Park campaign boosted

Go Ape go homeIn the same week I found myself biting my lip and refraining from commenting about Glasgow City Council’s claim that local taxation would be “a disaster for Scotland’s economy” (I can’t afford to fight council backed lawyers), I was reminded of it’s approach to the “Wishes of the people” when the farcical story of the proposed Go Ape adventure area in Pollok park popped up in news once again.

Earlier stories recounted the council had carried out a consultation, which sounds good, but hardly anyone knew about it, and the results throw some doubt as to its validity, but what do I know – I never took part, and never knew about it.

The matter has been referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme.

Opponents against the development believe a recent archaeological find in the park backs their claim that the council was wrong to back the scheme. A team from Glasgow University and Glasgow Archaeological Society have found what may be the oldest surviving road in the city, dating back to 500 or even 700 BC, comprising a a paved path between 50 and 100 metres in length, discovered beneath woodland and vegetation within Pollok Park.

Campaigners are due to hand a 5,000 signature petition in to Holyrood next week, against the development, and say that any support should have been conditional on the site being properly investigated before backing was  offered.

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

20/06/2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Glasgow will Go Ape after council decision (but then Go Ape was the one to go)

Go Ape protestWe blogged earlier about the efforts of Glasgow City Council to Hijack Pollok Country Park, and it looks as if we were right. In a move which many locals will see as reinforcing opinion that it does what it wants regardless of what the people it’s supposed to represent want, the council has voted in favour of the development of a commercial adventure course in the park, which was gifted to the people of Glasgow by its former owners. The proposal was voted through by 14 votes to 6, and backs the lease of part of the public park to the development company concerned, Go Ape, for 21 years, and comes after a special meeting and visit to the site.

In a statement, the convenor of the planning committee George Redmond said: “It was important, given the high level of public interest in this proposal, that there was a full and fair hearing to allow the interested parties to make factual representations.

The application will now be referred to ministers at Holyrood because Glasgow City Council has a financial interest in the scheme. According to The Herald of February 8, 2008:

  • Objections to the scheme have ranged from the disturbance expected to other park users, and visitors to the Burrell Collection, to the fact that adults will be charged £25 and children £20 to take part.It has now emerged that the operators expect a turnover of £1.3m a year but the council will make only £2.2m over the 21-year period of the lease.

Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow, said Glasgow City Council had an abysmal track record in protecting its parks and greens spaces. He said: “They have permitted attacks on green spaces large and small, and they have earned the resentment of people throughout the city.”

Environmental campaigners have said they will continue to fight against the plan.

Update

The proposal eventually failed – as noted, it was folly from the start, and a mistake by the council.

The plans would have seen treetop walkways and zip slides

Controversial plans to build a treetop adventure playground in Pollok Park in Glasgow have been abandoned.

The Go Ape facility was given the go-ahead by councillors last year, despite a large campaign against it.

Now the firm behind the adventure course in the park’s north wood, behind the Burrell Collection, is pulling out.

Glasgow City Council has called it a “major disappointment” but the Save Pollok Park group said it was delighted with the move.

The proposed Go Ape adventure play area would have seen platforms and zip slides placed in the trees near the Burrell Collection.

In March 2008, members of the planning committee at Glasgow City Council voted in favour of the plan after a special meeting and visit to the site.

Despite a continued campaign from objectors, the Scottish Government decided it would not issue any restriction or call in the plan.

The scheme was referred to Scottish ministers because the council had a financial interest in the scheme.

Go Ape are understood to have now decided the venture would be too expensive to pursue.

Save Pollok Park said it was “delighted” with the decision of Go Ape to abandon its plans.

A spokesman added: “However, the council’s failure to consult and respond to the real legal and operational issues resulted in over two years of unnecessary work and a waste of taxpayers’ money which could have been avoided.”

Go Ape drops treetop park plans

Image from Save Pollok Park web site.

06/04/2008 Posted by | Appeal, Civilian | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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