COP26 climate change summit: Why is Glasgow so lukewarm about its biggest ever event? – Brian Wilson

If there is to be any clean-up of Glasgow at all in advance of COP26, it will be a very short-term and cosmetic one. With three weeks to go, there is certainly no sign of it.

The Armadillo auditorium at Glasgow's SEC, which will be hosting the COP26 UN climate summit (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

That is symptomatic of a general lack of engagement or sense that a huge event of global significance is coming to the city. Yet again, there is an impression of an opportunity passing Scotland by because of the politics involved.

Glasgow’s SNP administration is, by common consent, a mediocre outfit which has not dared utter a cheep about the savage cuts in funding which the city has endured over the past decade. And that, really, is at the core of its current condition.

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In the past, Glasgow has been really good at making the most of big events as leverage for improving the morale, status and amenities of the city. From the Garden City, through the City of Culture and including notably the Commonwealth Games, that has been the history. It is not the present.

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This is the biggest of the lot but there has been minimal civic leadership, public engagement or anything to suggest an impending global event other than a programme of road closures, and even the extent of these has not really been communicated or widely understood.

Perhaps this lukewarm approach reflects an ambivalence which is attributable to the fact that Glasgow is the venue solely due to the UK being the host country – and who wants to celebrate that? I’m confident however that more effort is going into ensuring the essential photo opportunities than to cleaning Glasgow’s streets.

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