AS most of the UK came together last weekend to celebrate the Queen’s historic 70-year reign, there was one noticeable exception. While the streets of England and Wales were lined with flags and draped in bunting, Glasgow City Council stood on the sidelines like party-poopers, petrified that any cheer may be interpreted as an endorsement of Britishness.

Letters to the Herald and comments on social media show that Glaswegians themselves recognise that this was a missed opportunity. An opportunity to unite for one weekend. The jubilee was a chance for a communal knees-up that we all could have done with after Covid. Instead, the silence north of the border was deafening.

But there was an upside. The efforts made by small groups of individuals to celebrate unapologetically showed that for some, the Queen can transcend the political divide.

As support for our Royal Family has waned in recent years thanks to Prince Andrew’s smeared reputation and Meghan and Harry’s exit, there is one thing that most people agree on: our 96-year-old Queen deserves respect. Many Glaswegians, I'm sure, would have raised a toast to her.

READ MORE: Did The Herald give too much space to jubilee – or not enough?

It is a great shame that this quiet recognition wasn’t shared by Glasgow councillors. Instead, SNP council deputy leader and city treasurer Ricky Bell told The Herald: “Spending money on a jubilee celebration would in my opinion be crass.”

The Green councillor for Newlands and Auldburn, Leodhas Massie, said: “To set aside even a penny of Glasgow City Council’s budget for this during a chronic cost of living crisis would be sickeningly offensive”.

He added: "You are free to celebrate this ‘tradition’ at your own expense if you feel like you want to.”


This is the same council, claiming it wants to tighten its belt, that approved a £150,000 Filming Incentive Grant for Batgirl to be filmed throughout Glasgow. It hammered local businesses by paying them a paltry sum every day for closing and the lack of business even forced one to shut down for good. They claimed it would boost the economy by employing Scottish workers, yet one businessman claimed: “If it is bringing in money, it’s not doing it locally."

The truth is that this has nothing to do with cost. A few sandwiches and a bit of bunting would hardly have dented the council budget.

This was an intentional snub by the SNP and the Greens to anything that ties them to a British identity. It is an attack on our monarchy.

In years to come, perhaps once the Queen is no longer with us, Glasgow will look at the Platinum Jubilee with great regret that they didn’t bother to celebrate.

So spare us the excuses. In the weeks leading up to the jubilee, politicians intentionally set out to polarise the public.

At the start of the month, Green MSPs, including the party co-leader and junior government minister Patrick Harvie, left the Holyrood chamber before Nicola Sturgeon led tributes to mark the Queen’s 70 years as monarch. It was rightly labelled by opposition parties as petty student politics but I’m sure even the most ardent university campaigners wouldn’t stoop that low.

It's sad but true that Scotland as a nation was simply less interested than the rest of the UK in the jubilee. The official jubilee events website reported that more than 7,000 street parties and public events were registered in the UK, and fewer than 250 of them were in Scotland.

Here, the Union flag is tarnished. Instead of a symbol of unity, it has sadly become a symbol of division.

The streets, devoid of bunting and celebrations tell a wider story of Scottish division. How politics is affecting every corner of people’s lives, and how something as simple as a street party has been transformed into a political play.

Last weekend was meant to be a celebration of a great woman who has given 70 years of her life to us. Whatever your views, Glasgow will look back on the Platinum Jubilee with regret.

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