Oh, Scotland… Four BIG Scottish Fails

‘Oh, Scotland… Four BIG Scottish Fails’ was published on scotcampus.com in February, 2015


Scotland is a braw country. You just need to look at a picture of a fine Highland lad in his kilt to know that we take pride in our appearance and everything we stand for, like our unrivalled singing abilities at sporting events and the way we can drink the rest of the UK under the table quicker than they can say “haggis”.

However, as smashing as we Scots might be, we have been partial to a silly decision or two in the past. I’d like to take this opportunity to bring you a selection of Scotland’s less fine choices.

The great step demolition of Glasgow – 2014

Following the news of their not-so-well-received plans for a £390m extension of Buchanan Galleries, I- alongside thousands of other passionate protesters- proudly participated in what can be only recognised as a traditional Scottish slagging of Glasgow City Council via Facebook. The consumerist development will supposedly see around 1,500 new jobs crop up within the city centre’s buzzing style mile towards the beginning of 2016. But as consequence to the council’s desire to maintain Glasgow’s title of ‘second shopping destination in the UK’, after London, shoppers must part with their beloved Royal Concert Hall entrance steps; an iconic location for shoppers to gaze upon Buchanan Street, each their lunch and avoid gull poo.

How the extended Buchanan Galleries will look upon completion

Jaffic Tram – Edinburgh Tram network, 2014

Edinburgh’s trams have been more than 14 years in the making. In between exceeding budgets, cost arrangements, safety compromises, lack-of-public interest, and exceeding budgets (have I said that already?), Edinburgh’s newest shiny toy has heard more insults than praise. You would be amongst the majority for admitting your desire for the costly project to be eliminated completely, which almost happened in 2011. Alas, Scotland raised a glass to trying harder and there we were with tickets in hand at the opening in 2014, rubbing the burned area of our empty purses with aloe vera.

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You can take our freedom, but you’ll never take our cone! – 2011

Remember that time Glasgow City Council challenged the public by banning the iconic traffic cone from being top the Duke of Wellington Statue? No? Well, you have a massive social media petition to thank for it. After the council released some pretty alarming figures, grunting that the removal of the cone 100 times a year was costing the council £10,000, they ironically put forward plans to raise the plinth of the statue as part of a £65,000 renovation that would prevent the public from reaching where the cone would sit. Naturally, we Scots folk did not appreciate the gesture. The cone appeared on top of the statue anonymously and Glaswegians have continued to keep the cone tradition since it was removed for promotional photography in 2000, resulting in outcry.

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The Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh – 2004

Completed three years later than planned, and £390m over-budget, the Scottish Parliament’s grand new building, featuring Enric Miralles “upturned boat” structure, opened its doors in October to a pool of controversy (sea what I did there?) Firstly, £390m is the full amount of what it will cost Glasgow City council to completely revamp Buchanan Galleries. Let that sink in. The building, which was branded by The Scotsman on March 19th this year as “cheaper to tear down”, exceeded the estimated construction budget of between £10m and £40m, leaving the City of Edinburgh Council with a total bill of £414m by the time of its completion. Although many primary school trip-goers will confirm that the building is very aesthetically pleasing and boasts one of the most experimental architectural designs of the decade, one might argue that this is not worth £141,000 in monthly outgoings to heat, light and maintain this wonderfully controversial structure. £11m has been spent on maintenance work since its opening in 2004 which surpasses the original budget set for actually building the parliamentary throne. Crazy.

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