Spare us the flags, let's get on with the funding are us the flags, let's get on with the funding

THIS week saw the beginning of yet another ceasefire in Gaza.

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The humanitarian disaster which Gaza has become shames the world, but the nature of Arab/Israeli tensions is a hugely complex matter.

Is it therefore wise of Glasgow City Council to decide to fly the Palestinian flag above the City Chambers, in an act of solidarity with the Palestinian cause? I think not.

History can often provide an insight as to the wisdom of future action. Decades ago, parts of the nationalist community in Northern Ireland adopted the Palestinian flag as a symbol of solidarity with the Republican cause. Today, Catholic enclaves across Northern Ireland display murals of Yasser Arafat and of Palestinian fighters and the symbolism of the cause of both the IRA and PLO carries huge significance.

As a consequence, loyalist enclaves fly the Israeli flag and have adopted the Israeli cause as their own. Inevitably, the politics of Northern Ireland carry into the west of Scotland. Any visit to either Celtic Park or Ibrox will evidence the widespread display of these flags.

The Glasgow Jewish council have indicated their disappointment with this gesture. They are also entitled to their opinion.

The flying of the Palestinian flag, is the worst form of gesture politics, one which will divide, rather than unite, Glaswegians. After the fantastic unification event which was Glasgow 2014, I can think of few better ways to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Our Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, is an honest and hard-working politician, who represents our city extremely well. On this matter however, she has been badly advised and those responsible for providing that advice need to do their homework much more thoroughly.

Despite consistent provocation from Hamas, the Israeli action in Gaza is as appalling, as it is disproportionate. I fully understand the frustrations all of us feel in wanting to do something to help. How about a Lord Provost's Gaza Fund, with a target of raising £1 million in one week? I could get behind that.

Through Glasgow the Caring City Charity, we could provide food, shelter, blankets, water, clothing, medicine and the practical things that they need.

Spare us the flags, let's get on with the funding.

THE referendum TV debate saw some 1.7 million of us tuning in to Alex Salmond versus Alistair Darling.

Alex Salmond looked a little subdued, and in the opinion of most commentators, turned in a below par performance.

Alistair Darling on the other hand looked as though he had used a pre-debate cocktail of fizzy drinks and blue smarties, such was his unusually exuberant performance.

The debate probably generated more heat than light. In my opinion the outcome was pretty even on both sides and I doubt many of the undecided voters would have been swayed by either cause. It was however, fascinating television and it was interesting that on the issue of currency and sterling, Salmond simply couldn't, or wouldn't answer the questions. For his part, Alistair Darling also refused to answer questions put to him directly.

As someone who still considers himself an undecided voter, my concerns in relation to the economy, pensions and the use of sterling as our currency, still remain. I do find myself, over the past few months, leaning slightly towards the No Thanks camp, although my mind remains open.

WELL, it's official, Glasgow 2014 was indeed the greatest Commonwealth Games ever.

I, for one, feel slightly deflated now that it is over and that the party has come to an end. Our athletes were simply superb and gave us all such cause for pride.

Our volunteers, the Clyde-siders, were also outstanding ambassadors for the city. Even the weather was pretty decent.

From the opening to the closing ceremony, Glasgow showed the best of everything that it had, and didn't it look fantastic.

The warmth of Glaswegians shone through, and with the eyes of the world upon us, we delivered a superbly well-organised games. To all of those involved in the organisation, competition and delivery of the games I say well done, you have made all of us very proud.

AN OFCOM report highlights the use of smartphones is up 17% in the last year, taking Scotland above the UK average.

Our use of broadband and tablet devices such as iPads is also on the increase, and it would also seem that those of us in Scotland spend more time consuming media than those in the rest of the UK.

Does the increased use of smartphones mean that we are becoming smarter? Or, does it just give us something to do, during those embarrassing gaps in conversation. If television began the process of losing the art of conversation, will smartphones end it?

l The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Evening Times.

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