sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

And finally… #13

Posted on February 08, 2013 by

This splendid BBC news piece from 1975 about the Glasgow Underground appears to have been shot in some sort of awful, nightmarish post-apocalyptic wasteland. Or, put another way, a large and once-prosperous city run by Scottish Labour for 50 years.

We've forgotten whose Twitter feed we saw this on originally, sorry. But thanks, whoever it was.









Still, at least the BBC would never patronise Scotland like that nowadays, right?

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31 to “And finally… #13”

  1. muttley79 says:

    The union dividend?…


  2. Tamson says:

    Are you on Skyscraper City, Stu? Someone posted that vid there recently.


  3. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    What’s Skyscraper City?


  4. ianbrotherhood says:

    Brilliant stuff.
    At 31 secs in he asks ‘Where should I get off?’
    Steady now…


  5. Alan MacD says:

    Och come-on,that was a good wee video even with its continuous pokes in the ribs about Scottish football and how crap “CESSNOCK” is….
    It was a bit like a safari to that presenter fella, he looked bewildered/terrified!
    Anyhoo i think most Weegie’ s have alot of fond memorys fae that subway, i certainly do…….canni say the same for the london ‘metro’?……now that is a certified shitehole.


  6. Dave Smith says:

    I remember the Subway well. Went on it a lot as a wee boy with these old rattlers. I’ll never forget the smell, the noise of the rails and the compressors under the train.
    I remember vast swathes of the city looking this way in the 1970s too as my dad used to take us round the Barras on a Saturday then go and see my Uncle Jimmy in Lilly Street!


  7. Robert Kerr says:

    Glasgow….. Second city of the empire…..

    Then Labour f’ed it up.



  8. Christian Wright says:

    Now you got to wonder why on earth the good people of Glasgow kept voting for Labour. 

    The truth is when you’ve lived in it your entire life, it’s the way its always been and the way it always will be. Its ordained. And when you’re staring at it everyday, it starts to look not all THAT bad.

    Photos of Townhead Glasgow slums of the late 50s early 60s look appalling now, yet growing up in them, I imagined them to be just fine, as I delivered fliers for Labour councilors and the local MP for free (I also delivered them for the Progressive and Unionist Party (the Tories) but I charged them). Labour WERE us and we were Labour. 

    And those old hundred-year-old carriages of the underground? They were FAR superior to the clockwork orange that replaced them.

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode into town a bit later and sacked the land from late 1979 with devastation reaching its nadir circa 1983 when it seemed to me Thatcher had brought more pestilence and wrought more destruction upon my city than WWII, Beelzebub, and Labour, combined.  



  9. douglas clark says:

    Dave Smith,
    What do you mean remember it?
    I use it, pretty often.
    I had some ridiclous fun telling some friends from London that this was our Circle Line.
    At a three quarters scale, and that’s it!.
    Apparently it is being upgraded over the next few years. If they can take the squeek out of the corner north of Queens Street, Glasgow will always patronise this amazing example of what we could do back then. It is a hundred year old and a legacy from the same people that gave us clean water.
    Where did they go?
    The obvious lack of ambition for the Clockwork Orange – extending it. – is yet another reason to think we are lions led by donkeys.
    Just saying.


  10. If you are fortunate to have an underground station close to your point of origin and one close to your destination, you are indeed blessed, for the clockwork orange will deliver you there at near the speed of light (relative to other  conveyances).

    The great thing about it was that the old carriages were far more salubrious, and the inebriated  could safely pass out on the seat, spend hours in recuperative sleep, and STILL get off at their stop!
    Albeit the fourth or fifth time round.


  11. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The subway was great in a Glasgow fog. I went to school in Townhead but lived in Mosspark. In a real Glasgow peasouper I would have to walk all the way home unless I could get on subway at Buchanan Steet and get off at Cessnock. Still a bloody long walk and sometimes the subway was off as well.


  12. Semus says:

    I remember the subway well.I used to take it to work from Merkland Street to Govan X, Aye there was work in Govan then.Sometimes I would go back on the ferry, still remember that sickly sweet smell from the Clyde, Anyway I had a sudent pal who made his own wine in air locked carboys.Dreadful stuff. But when his flat got too cold at Kelvinbridge and it slowed down popping away,WE would cart about 8 carboys and put them on the back platform of the second coach,closed the gates wi the ticket inspector’s agreement,we waited on them coming back  and we went for a pint in the Doublet  Once they had done the circuit round Glasgow , They came back bubbling like glass volcanoes.Glasgow used to be fun, maybe I am just an oul idjiit now.


  13. “Sometimes I would go back on the ferry,”
    I had forgotten entirely about the ferry.
    Did you ever use the original Clyde tunnel with the wooden “paving”? Marvelous.
    Below the streets around central station the existed a long-forgotten underground shopping arcade. I was with BBC program Nationwide C1970 when we filmed there – extraordinary.


  14. pmcrek says:

    @Robert Kerr
    Hehe, I’ve recently been considering that the second city of the empire thing is a Stockholm syndrum manifestation of divide and rule. Turns out everybody thinks it, not just weegies!!


  15. Cameron says:

    I do not know if this is OT, but this video lecture by Prof. David Harvey goes a long way to explaining the origins of neoliberalism, or as we called here in Britain, Thatcherism. For those with not enough time to watch it, basically it was the Wall Street banks what did it. Their response to OPEC’s oil shock of 1973, was to cut all existing credit lines (sound familiar?). This effectively bankrupted the city of New York, which at that time was the world’s largest metropolitan authority. Having prepared the ground nicely for the Milton Freedman’s Chicago boys, a global economic system was established to protected the interests of bankers and investors over those of society.

    If this analysis appears a little Marxist in its interpretation, my second link is to a lecture given by James Wolfensohn, a former president of the World Bank. In this, he outlines the future implications of this global economic system, and the continuation of the relocation of capital from the developed world to Asia and Africa. Although this might be seen as essential to improving the standard of living for billions in the developing world, it can be expected to have exactly the opposite effect here in Scotland. Not a future I am looking forward to, and one which I most certainly think we need our independence to survive, without a catastrophic decline in our standard of living.


  16. Ysabelle says:

    My great uncle was a subway station master. I must show this film to my mother. She used to get a lot of free rides as a kid. And she used the ferry across the river too.


  17. douglas clark says:

    Christian Wright,
    Oh my!
    “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse rode into town a bit later and sacked the land from late 1979 with devastation reaching its nadir circa 1983 when it seemed to me Thatcher had brought more pestilence and wrought more destruction upon my city than WWII, Beelzebub, and Labour, combined.”
    That would be the truth. It is the issue that we all ought to have with all ideologues. They know not nor care about the damage they wreak. For the world will be a better place after ‘the change’. Can we trace the collapse of capitalism back to ‘The Big Bang’, described here:
    In the sense that it was a direction of travel rather than a destination? We wreak the whirlwind.
    Though I think that Labour were the fourth horseman, riding a nag called ‘us or the highway’ sired by ‘your mammy always voted oor way’ and damed by ‘canny see beyond this’.
    That nag, by which I mean “an old or worn-out horse”, is what we see nowadays from the Labour Party. Brian Wilson, for instance, used to be interesting. His ‘West Highland Free Press’ presented issues that echo even now, near feudal landlordism is as worthy of debate now as it was back then. It was probaby seen as ‘radical’ just to buy a copy.
    Nowadays he is no longer that. Indeed he seems to have become the advocate of a nuclear industry that walks away from it’s own legacy of potentailly taking the environment away from mere mortals. He has become the creature that he would have least identified with in his youth.
    This was, after all, a man who stood for something. When did it all go wrong Brian? I know not and I expect no explanation. It seems to me to be the case that almost all politicians become corrupted by power. We, rightly, celebrate those that don’t. Such as Ghandi, who illuminates this site with his wisdom whenever you open it, or Martin Luther King or Mandella. These are people, rather than politicial no accounts who have kept a precept in front of themselves that they have lived by.
    From ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ to cynical apologist in anyones (short) lifetime is a wrongful trajectory to take, in my opinion.
    I am unaware of a Labour Party leader, or MP even – living – that inspires anyone at all. For they have all fallen into the trap of negativity. And I say that with some regret, for I consider myself to be of the left rather than in the left. For instance, Jimmy Reid was the last man standing of a tradition I admired. And yet, they walked away from him. Did it gain them anything? Not obviously, except perhaps for a generous pension and some consultancies. Is that, nowadays, to be the measure of a mans worth? That those that die with the most toys won the game of life? How cynical would that be.
    Just saying.


  18. douglas clark says:

    Neo-liberalism owes as much to Ayn Rand, who was a daft old bird and a hypocrite, as it does to the Chicago School. A philosophy based on ‘self’ as a hero is the fundamental belief and flaw of the libertarian case.

    Decent people wouldn’t go near it with a barge pole. It appeals to folk that see themselves as strong and without any imagination about what life can chuck at you. It appeals to the aspirational nature of US citizens who all see themselves as billionaires in the making. It is, after all, the American Dream.

    I sometimes go to sleep imagining what I would do if I won the lottery.

    It is a nice, fuzzy, feeling. It is probably more realistic than the precepts of libertarianism. And it is just as daft!



    I intended to provide you with a link to the ‘The Devils’ Kitchen’ where a chap called Chris Mounsey would give you all the pomp and circumstance of the Libertarian case. Sadly – no, not really – it doesn’t come up on any search engine these days. I assume it has disappeared. Which is a tad odd. It was fruitcake Central for a while.


  19. douglas clark says:

    Well, this is the only example of Chris Mounsey’s wit and wisdom that still seems to be available. Frankly, he could have made a better fist of his case than he did there.

    Whilst I, along with oor Chris, believe in free speech, I also believe in our inalienable right to ignore stupid ideas. This latter right is not exercised enough when faced with morons exercising their single brain cell in public. :-)
    There are some who say that Ian Davidson MP is an intellectual giant. A man with a complete grasp of the issues. I tend to ignore such opinions, honestly held or not. We can all filter out that sort of nonsense if we are given an injection of the ‘critical thinking’ pill. The lack of it makes you into clone of Hothersall or Smart, and no-one would wish that on their worst enemy.


  20. Cameron says:

    @ douglas clark
    Agreed re. Ayan Rand, though the origins of monetarism go much further back than her. The reason I identified Freedman, was that he is generally credited for bringing the quantity theory of money, back in to popularity. Rand certainly comes across as a hypocrite to me, as I can not see how her libertarianism can co-exist with Oligarchy. After all, she identified Aristotle as her greatest influence, and he identified Oligarchy as the ideal model for a just and moral society. IMO Oligarchy does enable libertarianism and the worst excesses of individualism, but only for the privileged minority of the ruling elite.


  21. douglas clark says:

    Thanks for the link. My web browser or I must be short of a brain cell or two, too. It is ‘interesting’ that he has no real link to his original wit and wisdom.
    Perhaps I should let sleeping dogs lie? Because, on a personal basis, Chris Mounsey and I have debated stuff and he comes across as a reasonable human being. Not quite the rabbit caught in the headlights that the BBC made him look.

    I miss him and Mr Eugenides (sp?) for their take on planet Earth. It was fun whilst it lasted.
    He is, of course, completely wrong on nearly every issue, but that doesn’t make him a bad person. It’s just that his inner voices sing from a different hymn sheet from most of us.
    You won’t believe this, but he thinks anthropogenic global warming is a myth! Who would believe that!



  22. Cameron says:

    @ douglas clark
    Yes I would believe that he doubts that human activity is the cause of climate change, which is actually a view I have been coming to myself over the last few years. Have we not already discussed this? Note, I am not a rabid capitalist who believes that God created the earth for the benefit of mankind. I am a trained Town Planner and I actually support a lot of Agenda 21. Not really a topic for discussion here though? :)


  23. douglas clark says:

    The 😉 was a clue!
    I have a solid background in personnel. Half a PhD even. It is about as relevant as a background in Town Planning to a debate on AGW. As a planet, we paid these scientists to provide us with best advice on the issue, not just by training them but by giving them gainful employment.
    I am not at all sure that you don’t have a similar half understanding of scientific opinion as oor Chris. The issues are pretty complicated, and we would be extending OGHs license to take this thread even more off topic than it already is. I would enjoy that, because I quite like in depth discussions, mainly because I have to marshall arguements that require me to go beyond the lazy. Which keeps the old grey matter ticking over. However OGH closed down a thread that no-one else except me and this other guy were even vaguely interested in. What to do with Trident? as I recall. Did you know there isn’t an airport or even a runway on Saint Helena? Neither did I until that debate. I doubt that that will even come up in a pub quiz.
    (Without cheating, can you recall what the subject of this thread actually was? I can’t. [Cheats, ah yes, the Electric Orange. Who knew?])


  24. Cameron says:

    @ douglas clark
    I was enjoying that thread as well, though it was getting a little silly towards the end. Sorry if you took me as showing off my qualifications and playing a game of one-upmanship. That was not my intention.
    When I was training in the late ’80s and again in the late ’90s, climate change was just becoming a popular issue. As town planning is essentially concerned with meeting the development needs of society, the Kyoto Agreement and Agenda 21 became extremely influential in my thinking. Indeed, they became the predominant drivers of planning philosophy, and their adoption essentially brought about a complete about-turn in the presumption towards development. I would like to go on, but as you say, it might not be appreciated by OGH.
    Again, I am not suggesting that I know better than you do with regards to the causes of climate change. Rather, I am suggesting that town planning and Agenda 21 are now essentially joined at the hip. As such, planning students must understand the carbon cycle and its effects on the climate.


  25. James McLaren says:

    At Uni, in between exams, we used to organise Subway pub crawls.
    A pint at the first station, or really nearest pub, then round the circle stopping at each station and drinking a half pint with a final pint at the last station, which was also the departure point; Drinking was at breakneck speed and the rules meant you had to run between the stations and the watering holes. You do the Maths.
    Being a scientific type and having studied the digestive system I once drank a couple of pints buttermilk to coat my stomach and slow down the absorption of the alcohol. It worked great for about 5 pints worth and then I don’t remember a thing. I was told I finished the circuit but I think they said that because they were equally blootered and hadn’t a clue either.
    If I knew I was going to live this long, I wouldn’t have been so exuberant in my youth.
    I have to go now for my dialysis and insulin injection.
    Happy daze, eh?


  26. douglas clark says:

    Fair enough. Point taken.
    Apologies for being a bit tetchy about this subject. I usually take it as read that scientists know what they are talking about, although we should beware of being taken for fools. I spent a considerable amount of time getting ‘educated’ on the subject, because it interested me before it became a political football. What I do know is that climate change, whether it is anthropogenic or not, is a reality. Ice melt – polar caps and glacier retreat alone – tells us that much.


  27. Cameron says:

    @ douglas clark
    No need to apologise, I hadn’t actually appreciated that you were being tetchy. It can be quite difficult to pick up on these things on t’internet.
    I absolutely agree with you that the climate is changing and that the issue has been turned in to a political football. That is one of the reasons I started to re-evaluate my position. I think the last time we discussed this, I highlighted what I see as the absurdity of carbon taxes in the developed world. Given that China must achieve exponential growth in its economy, simply in order to prevent rioting and a breakdown of their society, the Chinese economy will double in size over the next 14-15 years. This will undo all the CO2 reduction achieved by the rest of the world. In addition, carbon taxes will also add to the flight of capital to China, India and southern Asia in general. Exactly where the multinationals have relocated most of their production too over the last 50 years. At the same time, China is developing Africa at one hell of a pace.
    For an academic perspective on exponential growth, here is a rather alarming lecture given by Dr. Albert Bartlett. Please note, I am not advocating eugenics or even voluntary population control!


  28. liz quinn says:

    I went to a fancy dress party on the subway once. It was also a sort of treasure hunt. Solving a clue told you which stop was next. Great fun!


  29. jon abroad says:

    @ douglas clark
    @ Cameron
    Found this if it’s of any use.


  30. Cameron says:

    @ jon abroad
    Thanks for the link, though I’m with douglas clark on this one. The guy does seam to be somewhere in orbit. 😉


  31. BillyBigBaws says:

    I loved that video, reminded me of the film “Deathwatch” starring Harvey Keitel, which is indeed a nightmarish dystopian sci-fi set (or at least filmed) in Glasgow.  It uses the old city’s atmosphere very well, and has some interesting things to say about capitalism, corporate invasion of privacy, and reality TV.  It was ahead of it’s time.

    Speaking of Thatcher and monetarism, I go by the words of Sir Alan Budd, one of her own economic advisors. Watch his brain working as he realises what he was involved in:


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