Not aff their heids after all. Common sense has prevailed. The flats will no longer be demolished as part of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, the reason cited to do with ‘safety and security.’ Er, yes. The decision still leaves the lingering question of why anyone thought it was a good idea in the first place but at least the outcome of  all the criticism is the right one.

I see Glasgow is going to blow up five high rise blocks of flats (apartments) as part of the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.explosion

Various worthies seem to think it’s a great idea. They’re quoted as saying things like

Glasgow is proving it is a city that is proud of its history but doesn’t stand still, a city that is constantly regenerating, renewing and re-inventing itself … [it’s] symbolic of the changing face of Glasgow … This spectacular start to the games within the opening ceremony will send a strong signal about the power of the Commonwealth Games … a bold and confident statement

There’ll be plenty of dust as the blocks come down and the plan is to show the spectacle on a 100 feet wide screen in the games stadium. The co-ordination sounds as challenging as parachuting HMQ into the London Olympic opening ceremony.

Personally, as a once-upon-a-time town/urban/city (take you pick) planner, I think they’re ‘aff their heids’ as a Glaswegian might say.

To me this gimmick sends the wrong messages, like

  • the renewal of our city has been a disaster for fifty years or more

and

  • we’ve got a lot of rubbish housing here.

Why focus on something that is generally regarded as having been a bad thing? Apart from anything else, it might prompt all those hundreds of journalists attending the games to spend their spare time having a look around some of the city’s housing triumphs that haven’t been demolished or noticing how well its motorways are integrated into the urban fabric.

No, it seems a funny way to start a celebration. About as meaningful as the Manchester games in 2002, when I seem to remember dozens of Morris Minors performing some sort of ‘dance’ in the pouring rain. A great reminder of everything that was wrong with British industry and the British climate.

I do hope Glasgow proves me wrong, but I’m not betting on it.

Footnote during the Games – I was pleased to see they never did blow them up for the opening ceremony. The Tunnocks tea cakes were by far better.