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Architect Speak Out Against Glasgow Vs Edinburgh 2006-04-29

Posted by clype in Glasgow, Intolerance, Scotland.

Leading Edinburgh Architect Sir Terry Farrell has lost patience with the lack of progress in getting Glasgow and Edinburgh to work together, and has condemned their ‘tribal’ rivalry as similar to divides in the Balkans or Ireland.

Mr.Farrell said he was ‘fairly gobsmacked’ by the lack of co-operation between Scotland’s two main cities and repeated his calls for one major international airport serving both cities and better communication links between them.

But his remarks in ‘Holyrood Magazine’ prompted a furious response from The Labour MSP for Glasgow Cathcart Mr.Charlie Gordon, and a former Leader of The Council of Glasgow City.

The Cathcart MSP warned Mr.Farrell that he was being ‘completely “over the top” and utterly offensive’ in comparing relations between the cities to the violence that has dogged some relationships in the Balkans and Ireland.

This is not the first time Mr.Farrell has called for greater co-operation between Edinburgh and Glasgow, but it is the first time he has used such incendiary language to describe his views. In doing so, he has aroused a fierce response.

Interviewed by the magazine, Mr.Farrell, who advises Edinburgh City on urban design, said:

Sir Terry
‘I think the rivalry is sometimes fairly “gobsmacking” to an “outsider”; it is the [same] kind of tribal rivalry in Ireland and in the Balkan states.

‘You get it with communities that have a tradition of tribes, but also smaller countries where there is often a lot of hardship and difficulty, so there is a lot of argument over lean pickings.

‘I don’t think that has to happen any more. I think things have changed and that is all in the past.

‘Competition is healthy, but so is collaboration. I think the time now is to collaborate. The whole scale of the global community has altered the standing of these things.

‘There needs to be one decent international airport, not two or three.

‘There needs to be one decent rail connection that is almost a fast, direct train from one centre to the other – but joins them and makes it really connecting two parts of the same metropolis.’ He concluded:

‘I think two cities, one metropolis, would be a good way to proceed.’

However, The Cathcart MSP responded:

Charlie Gordon
‘For him to compare it to Ireland and the Balkans, ie to murder and even genocide, is “completely over the top” and utterly offensive.

‘The fact is that Glasgow and Edinburgh do co-operate … on economic development, urban regeneration, community safety and community planning.

‘Actual competition between the two cities is quite limited. In any case, who is to say it is necessarily unhealthy for Scotland’s two great cities both to strive to be world class?’


1. Stuart Swanston - 2006-10-10

Fast, frequent, direct electric trains- 4/hr for 18 hours/day and 2/hr from midnight to 0600 should be a priority target for the two cities. That would have lots of popular support but a new central Scotland would have entrenched opposition from the established airports and whoever might have a new airport in their back yard. One airport would makes ergonomic sense but it would be as hard to sell as the perfectly reasonable idea of having just one premier league football club in each city. The tribes just wouldn’t thole it. The inhabitants of Minneapolis & St Paul seem to be proud to be citizens of the Twin Cities. Buda and Pest appear to be doing quite well together too. A world class rail link with upgraded suburban lines in each city and publicised by an easy-to- understand London Underground format map would foster end encourage synergies in just about every aspect work and leisure. At present very few people in either city know much about Glasgow’s suburban trains and most folk couldn’t tell you how to get to the Burrell Collection from Waverley Station or how long it would take. At present I know I could drive between those two places in an hour and twenty minutes outside the rush hour. The Glasgow Subway is magic but Lothian Buses are miles better by the way.

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