In just over three weeks, Cop26, the hugely important United Nations Climate Change Conference, will, after being rescheduled due to the pandemic, finally get the green light to go in Glasgow.

It is scheduled to run between 31st October and 12th November and is lauded as the most important meeting in human history. Nearly 30,000 delegates and dignitaries will descend on the city, including heads of states from over 200 countries, a worrying mix of 150,000 protestors and anarchic environmental activists, and over 10,000 well-drilled police officers.

However, with the clock rapidly ticking down, and the watchful eyes of the world’s media upon it, Glasgow still looks and feels very disconnected and ill prepared to host this once-in-a -lifetime pivotal event. Many Glaswegians and local businesses are wondering where they fit in, if at all, in the grand scheme of things.

It is a contrast to the run-up to Glasgow’s highly commended Commonwealth Games which was positively embraced, encouraged, and successfully promoted and marketed to the max, by all the major stakeholders and governing bodies, both abroad and here at home.

Other than a low-key drive for a smattering of Cop26 volunteers, there has been no meaningful engagement with the local community and businesses and no encouragement forthcoming from the council or the Scottish Government to become involved. No positive messaging, or advice given on how they can participate and as yet, no programme of events announced. It's a very worrying situation which many concerned business leaders from a variety of sectors highlighted recently in a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

Assurances have of course been given that it will soon change, but when, we all ask. Silence isn’t golden, not when there is so little time left to prepare, and certainly not when tens of millions of public monies have already been spent in bringing this critical showpiece event to the city, and there is still as yet nothing to show for it.

As the hallowed “green day” on the 31st October nears, the local climate for hosting this conference has changed from one of eager anticipation to one of disconnected apathy and dread, with many fearing that when Cop26 kicks off, the city will as well.

There is also a growing and palpable resentment that the arriving delegates are being treated as an entitled and favoured army of green gods, the latest shocking offer being a free travel card for the duration of the conference, while the majority of Glaswegians will still have to stump up.

Not for a moment do I think that Sleepy Joe Biden will jump on a 45 to Colston, or any other route for that matter. But fairs “fare”, why should the locals be excluded from free travel when it is they whose lives will be severely impacted by the mass protests and miles of road closures, the map of which looks like a massive exploding plook?

Also why are they allowed to network and mingle in their supposedly Covid-free Cop compounds, at a time when millions of Scots are being encouraged by our Covid-consumed First Minister to stay away from the office and work from home? It is harmful advice which has decimated footfall in our towns and cities and caused irreparable harm to our beleaguered retail and hospitality sectors.

Finally, why are the 30,000 delegates allowed negative test results, and not proof of being double vaccinated, as a condition of entry to their exclusive indoor events – something which is not allowed for people visiting a nightclub or attending a gig? The health secretary Humza Yousaf, a man with more moves and spin than a dancer from Strictly, has incredibly and with no hint of irony said that it would be discriminatory and unreasonable and discriminatory to ask them for vaccination passport. Scottish Government Newspeak for "we make it up, you do as your told".

Believe me, I want Cop26 to be glittering success, I don’t want to be left green with envy and red with rage when it's over. But unless the people and businesses who make Glasgow are treated as equals and afforded the same preferential treatment as the delegates then I will be, and I certainly won’t be alone.

If Glasgow is miles better, then make it so for Glaswegians.

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