Can a segregated city cope? – the problems with Glasgow

Slippery pavements, jaded faces, taxis mindlessly idling outside cafes, Glasgow stuck in congestion, thumping rubbish trucks on the pavement. Snafus everywhere: the green flu virus that swarms pedestrians on the pavement when the traffic…

Can a segregated city cope? – the problems with Glasgow

Slippery pavements, jaded faces, taxis mindlessly idling outside cafes, Glasgow stuck in congestion, thumping rubbish trucks on the pavement. Snafus everywhere: the green flu virus that swarms pedestrians on the pavement when the traffic light is red; the serious general strike of late 1999, with railway and bus services blocked; travellers stuck in taxi bottlenecks and painfully prolonged boarding times. While I am queuing to get into the airport: thick clouds of smog: evidence of climate change; evidence, too, of Stockholm syndrome as I waited in an ugly queue of hundreds waiting to board a plane about to depart for Stockholm.

Ah, Rome — ditto: consider the recent pollution in the late summer, and how many hundred people have died in a plague of black smog that pervaded the city. And, of course, London. Who lives in London any more? Who wants to?

Of the three, Glasgow is in the business of pleasing tourists, who understand taxis and flights. Our population is declining, the economy is under pressure. Privatisation of the railway is said to be an example of market failure. Soon there will be nothing to tax but cars and so Glaswegians will soon have fewer jobs and fewer tax payers, and ultimately more chaos. E-commerce will suck in people in search of lower wages, more affordable housing, and cheaper fare taxis, but the further development of Edinburgh airport will bring an influx of employment and homes to be taxed.

The consequent danger is low growth, unemployment, and poverty. Journeys from Scotland to countries such as Japan and Korea rely on transport, which costs Scotland dear. The people of Britain tend to spend and buy in the capital city. Take us out of the UK, and so the direction of trade has to be to Dundee.

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