COP commences with chaos

COP commences with chaos
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'COP26: no time for delay' scream the signs at Euston station. But for hundreds of desperate delegates yesterday it proved to be a cruel irony after dozens of rail services to Glasgow were cancelled thanks to a fallen tree and severe weather sparked rail chaos. Members of HM lobby took to their WhatsApp group to complain about the chaos, with Britain's hacks forced to engage in an undignified game of Planes, Trains and Automobiles to race across the country to reach the UN eco-jamboree.

The i paper's Paul Waugh had his Glasgow-bound train turned back at Milton Keynes while Red Lion regular Eleanor Langford was one of many forced to board domestic flights, as Mr S predicted on Saturday. Others hired cars from Watford for the seven hour drive while Sky’s Samantha Washington was quoted for £870 for a taxi for the 42 miles from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Veteran broadcaster Jon Snow meanwhile blamed the collapse of branches on climate change – something, presumably, he has never seen before in his 74 windy autumns on this earth.

Fortunately the Rail Delivery Group had plastered sponsored tweets over everyone's timelines so we knew who was (partially) responsible for the mess. For those lucky enough to arrive in Glasgow, they were greeted by an abundance of gas-guzzling motorcars outside the summit headquarters. At midnight, the GMB refuse workers voted to go on strike, potentially plunging Glasgow into an avalanche of garbage just as the eyes of the globe are on it. And for those who managed to drag themselves to the conference this morning there were lengthy security queues full of scores of disgruntled delegates being slowly processed.

And who was the local satrap welcoming the world to Glasgow? None other than Susan Aitken, Britain's worst council leader. By convention it should of course be the city's civid, rather than political, leader who does such greetings i.e. the Lord Provost Philip Braat. But when did tradition ever stop the SNP? Still, the one bright spot about Aitken's antics on the televised stage was that she had to pose by the hated Union Jack to deliver her speech – something which will no doubt have rankled with the lifelong nationalist.

Let's see what day two has in store for us!

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

Topics in this articlePoliticsScotlandcop26