It's just ten days to go before COP26, the green gathering described by Ed Miliband as 'the most consequential summit that has ever taken place anywhere in the world.' The eco-equivalent of Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam is set to begin in Glasgow next Sunday, with delegates jetting in from across the globe to hobnob, hector, hum and haw at the UN's climate change conference. So, ahead of His Holiness, Joe Biden, various Western satraps and other panjandrums gracing us with their presence, Mr S thought he'd provide an update on how things are going in the host city.
It turns out all is not well in Dear Green Place, where local bosses seem to be intent on re-enacting the Winter of Discontent. The (political) dead have been left unburied, with Britain's worst council leader Susan Aitken ineffectually presiding over a series of strikes which risk leaving the city at a standstill. There's firstly the bin workers of the GMB trade union, who last week voted for industrial action as rubbish piled up on Glasgow's streets, despite Aitken claiming the city merely needs a 'spruce up.' The garbage collectors have released a series of punchy social media clips fronted by charismatic local hype-man Chris Mitchell, a kind of Braveheart of the bins – they may take our lives, but they'll never take our refuse. Cleansing, school caretaker and catering roles will also be affected.
— Glasgow GMB (@GMBGlasgowCC) October 18, 2021If you can’t come back with a fair pay offer the @scotgov or @UKGovScotland must step in and secure a pay rise for all local government workers.Stand with us, Not against us pic.twitter.com/57efFzQkd0
Then there's the transport unions who have timed a walkout to coincide with the beginning of the conference. The RMT's spiritual successors to Bob Crowe last week confirmed that after months of disruption to Sunday services, members who work for both ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper will go on strike, joining a separate series of stoppages by ScotRail engineers, organised by Unite. This means that throughout the biggest eco-fest the world has ever seen, attendees will be forced to take gas-guzzling taxis around the host city, given that so many of those hotels closest to the conference venues have been booked up by the thousands of delegates. Awkward.
And now, even the lawyers are going on strike. This week Scotland’s three principal bar associations voted to opt out of a duty solicitor scheme due to continued mistreatment of defence lawyers, despite numerous arrests being expected at COP26. Members of the Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen Bar Associations, are refusing to participate and have been joined by others including the Hamilton and Falkirk bars. Add to that the reluctance of so many world leaders to attend – Russia's Putin is absent while Modi of India and Xi of China are yet to confirm – and it looks like the UN summit will be have to be re-dubbed 'FLOP26.'
Still, what chance have they got to save the world when they can't even sort the bins out?