Incase you missed it (and lets face it you must have been hiding under a cone or something), yesterday was one of those days when everything just got a bit silly. Here at A Thousand Flowers Towers, we’d intended to make the day all about Glasgow City Council’s disastrous mismanagement of public space, as the last sentence was handed down against the Kelvingrove “rioters.” By mid-afternoon, it became clear the day was going to be all about the Council disastrous mismanagement of a traffic cone. The much loved cone which is constantly thrown on top of the statue of Wellington outside the GOMA is proving too much for the Council and so yesterday, they announced a £65,000 “solution” – build an even higher plinth for Wellington and his horse.
The people had other ideas. A petition to Save the Cone was launched, garnering over 10.000 signatures, a Facebook page now has 77,000 likes and counting, all our national treasures from Victor out of Still Game to Rosie Cone, sorry, Kane, were getting a piece of the action. Thousands took to social media to share pictures, stories and cone related trivia. A demonstration was called by National Collective, in defence of the Cone, to be held this evening.
While it was doubtless a great night for Facebook and Twitter, comedy moment of the evening was provided by the traditional media. Some talking head who’d been forced onto Scotland Tonight to defend the Council’s stupidity was midway through delivering yet more joyless, hackish, anti-cone propaganda when he was interrupted with the news that the council had suddenly changed their minds. He probably wondered why he’d bothered going out the house on a cold, dark November evening…as did the public.
And so it was at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, Glasgow City Council surrendered to the Cone.
Not ones to kick the council when they’re down, it was decided that the anticipated protest would be transformed into a celebration of the Cone and of the peoples most glorious defence of it. No doubt, the many tens of thousands who clicked “like” on a Facebook group would have swelled the streets of our city tonight but since we’d basically already won (although the sleekit council waited until about half 4 to declare they may yet seek ways to impede the cone), it was a rather more low-key affair.
A selection of the great Scottish National Public were in attendance, with a rather disproportionate number of journalists and not one but two satellite vans to cover the event. There was even an alleged sighting of a Scottish Tory, as councillor David Meikle made an appearance, to stick the boot into his colleagues.
There was, as might be expected, a celebratory atmosphere as chants of “Yes we Cone” echoed around Royal Exchange Square. All the best puns were on show, “It’s IConeic,” “Coney no dae that,” “We came, we saw, we cone-quered.”
Of course, there are always those ready and willing to thrown cold water on proceedings. “It’s just a cone” grumbled some. But it’s not just about the cone.
It’s about Glasgow City Council’s constant mismanagement of everything decent, It’s about George Square, as the Audit Scotland investigation into that blunder rages on, it’s about Blythswood Square, now cautiously re-opened occasionally after years of there being nowhere for many people to sit and have lunch, on those rare days it’s not pissing with rain, it’s about Paddy’s market, now a distant memory, about their dream to demolish the Concert Hall steps and expand the Galleries outwards into a mass of glass and shopping. It’s about whether we really want a city where we spend money building even higher plinths from which the imperialist bastards of the past can look down their snotty noses at a sea of shoppers spending money in an identikit city centre or whether we need to demand something more than that.
And it’s obviously about the massive gap between our leaders and us. Along with general “WTF?!?” sentiment, there was also political gloom to contend with – people saying we didn’t care about the big issues, like the massive intelligence network that‘s watching us (which we discussed here), or the Bedroom Tax (here, here), or any of the other weighty topics we’ve been boring you about since forever. In reality, it’s the little things that most clearly demonstrate why these people have no right to run our lives anymore. This is merely the cone that broke the council’s back.
Setting aside all the politicking, grandiose social visions and our relentless vendetta against Glasgow City Council for a moment, tonight was about people saying that we have the power to decide that this is the night when we get together, meet our pals and celebrate a traffic cone on a horse’s heid, just because we can. That’s a power they coney ever take away.
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