Red Road demolition can be reflective moment of opening ceremony

THE demolition of Red Road has been criticised as a crass celebration, but no-one has suggested that is the intention.

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If it was to be a millennium-style countdown and the destruction of the five towers was the spectacular culmination of the opening ceremony then it would absolutely be inappropriate and downright stupid.

However I don't believe that will be the case.

As part of the story of the city, the demolition of the flats can and should be a reflective moment where the mistakes of the past and the myriad social problems that blighted Red Road and elsewhere for years, and still exist in Glasgow, are recognised and not swept under the Parkhead pitch.

If Glasgow was to show only the shiny and new to the world, beaming images of Buchanan Street, the Hydro and smiling people in smart riverside homes, with tartan bagpiping kitsch, then that would be crass and misrepresenting the reality of this city.

Some of the criticism is understandable and apart from the logistical risks, the fact asylum seekers are still living for a few months in the last block standing is an obvious problem, which requires more thought.

But why shouldn't the final minutes of Red Road be shown in the opening ceremony? And while we are at, it let's recognise the decline of the industries such as the shipyards in Govan, and engineering works at Parkhead and Possilpark, and the social damage that followed.

As well as the successes that Glasgow has had in its history, it must be recog-nised that not everyone has shared in that.

For years it was obvious that high-rise living was not working. But nothing was done and people were living in modern-day slums in homes built to eradicate the problem.

PRETTY soon the reality was no-one who had a choice wanted to live in the flats.

And, since the late 1970s, they have become far from the desirable homes they were when families first moved in full of hope.

Now the city is addressing the housing issue again and taking a different approach focusing on communities and not just bricks and mortar and the dreams of architects.

If showing the demolition of Red Road to the world is an admission of the challenges this city faces and a willingness to address it, then it's welcome.

Trying to ignore it and only showing what is good and happy about the city would be an embarrass-ment and an insult to the people who live here and who want a better life.

Some say they are embarrassed that we are showing the demolition of Red Road to the world.

I'd be embarrassed if we tried to hide it.


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