Scottish Government’s £14 million vote of no confidence in Scotland for year of Independence Referendum

In the very year in which it plans to hold the Independence Referendum, the Scottish Government has, according to yesterday’s Sunday Herald, ‘appointed’ American events business, Jack Morton Worldwide, to create the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It has been given a budget of £14 million.

What does this ‘appointment’ say about the Scottish Government’s honest evaluation of Scotland’s capacity to function as an independent nation?

Is Scotland deemed by its own government to be unable to deliver such events?

Are we instead to play safe with a bland multinational corporate middle-of-the-roader?

Jack Morton Worldwide’s CV boasts the far from distinguished 2004 Athens Olympics; the 2010 Football World Cup in South Africa (who remembers anything other than the audience’s vuvuzelas?); and ”some of the celebrations’ for the 2011 Royal wedding. Which celebrations exactly?

This ‘appointment is itself astonishingly late in the day, failing to copper fasten confidence in the calibre of the advance planning for so major an event.

What Scotland needed was a gutsy and well founded vote of confidence in its indigenous ability to create, perfect and present memorable celebratory spectacles.

A marriage between Glasgow’s site specific imagineers, NVA and Edinburgh’s Unique Events would have lacked little in creative ability and experience of major events to enable them to take on and overcome such a challenge.

NVA’s capacity for spectacle in scale and innovative sophisticated engineering solutions is up there and presently out there in the spectacular human light show on Arthur’s Seat for the Edinburgh Festival. Details of this and their other celebrated events can be found here on their website.

Unique Events creates and manages the internationally renowned annual Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh; and has done the opening of the Scottish Parliament and the Glasgow 2002 Uefa World Cup.

Together these companies would have benefited from demonstrating that they could rise to and beyond the challenge of the two Commonwealth Games ceremonies. Failure to deliver – and to do so in good time and within budget would not have been an option. This is the sort of cliff face challenge without which we will not grow in ability, confidence and competitiveness.

And imagine the message about Scotland that an indigenous triumph would have blazed to the world.

The spectre of the calamitous mismanagement of every aspect of the Scottish Parliament project continues to be an awful warning. But no one then was suggesting Scotland should go it alone.

What the Jack Morton Worldwide ‘appointment’ demonstrates is first a government that is manifestly incapable of planning to the point of making so late a commitment to dressing the key international shop window for an event of worldwide dimensions.

It then lays down an irredeemably damaging testimony of that government’s lack of confidence in the country it is urging to fly solo.

If the SNP government, driving the independence agenda, does not think Scotland is ready to go, why should anyone else?

Let’s hear the defence of this decision.

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16 Responses to Scottish Government’s £14 million vote of no confidence in Scotland for year of Independence Referendum

  1. This is the sort of lazy thinking which our SNP government continues to utilise in its unwitting but constant effort to derail self governance for our country.

    It tends to indicate our ‘high heid yins’ lack courage to make decisions but instead, rely on ‘thought by committee’, aka the mandarins of the civil service.

    More scary is the website for the chosen company. They assume the are designing something for a live audience of 44,000 people. Hopefully, this means millions will not be watching it on TV but somehow, I doubt it. They’ve relegated the actual viewing figures to the next paragraph which indicates it scares them also.

    A genuine worry for our future.

    I am passionate about Scotland being able to stand on its own feet but our politicians seem incapable of escaping the ‘Sir Humphrey’ element.

    Even locally, the “Never Seconds” fiasco was not politically driven but politicians looked stupid due to a “Sir Humphrey”, somewhere.
    The FA commentary today debating whether ‘A Task Force’ is required for our major road artery again indicated politicians believed BS from a “Sir Humphrey” as it removed them from the dangerous area of making a decision and actually doing something useful.

    And of course, we have our ferry fiasco which has made each and every politician look an utter idiot.

    Rant over. Again.

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    • Glad you remembered the ongoing ferry fiasco with Cowal Games now at risk. The worrying thing is that the politicians did come and go, the constant factor was the “Sir Humphreys”, they are not up to the job, seem to have their own agenda but are teflon coated and untouchable.

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  2. The least I want from Independence is the freedom to “F…” it up ourselves. OK, we may do that very thing but at least we’ll have been standing on our own two (left?) feet while doing it!

    So come on SNP Govt. – get the act together – was this contract advertised – who else applied?

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    • And not so much of a tiny mention of the ‘Dome’ costing around the 800 million mark and generating a quarter of this amount. What about the British library, another unmitigated disaster. Not sure if your point is directed negatively towards the failings of Scotland as a Nation or the Labour govt. who were in power during its overspend and problematic Scottish parliament, the trams? – Voting went something like this councillors for, 17 Lib Dems, 15 Labour, 11 Conservative & 3 greens = 46. against 12 SNP. The Commonwealth games which will be held whilst SNP are in power haven’t even commenced and it is already being held up alongside the failures you have listed. Let us wait and see if we can hold our heads aloft before plucking some relatively recent Labour involved debacles from the air as examples of us being a pitiful, disorganised and clueless Nation. Scotland, our people, lack nothing in ability, determination, vision, creativeness that other countries have so time for some positivity maybe?

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  3. N.R.:”This ‘appointment is itself astonishingly late in the day, failing to copper fasten confidence in the calibre of the advance planning for so major an event.”

    Late in the day indeed.

    There is a huge danger of a fiasco brewing at Glasgow 2014.

    Take a journalistic look at the vacancies on the Glasgow2014 website.

    Many of them senior, most of them vital, all of them first uploaded in September 2011….still not filled !!!

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  4. Fairly typical of the SNP government, I would say. Equal to, if not worse than, the sourcing of contracts from abroad for the second Forth road crossing.

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  5. Casting my mind back to a previous comment thread – in what way is this different to the local tourist associations in Argyll outsourcing their website and promotional contracts to companies outside Argyll?

    I expect everyone got a chance to tender.

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  6. The problem seems ingrained in thinking at certain levels.

    I recently was given an instance where Business Gateway folk in Argyll suggested someone developing a specific project should ‘outsource’ design work to a company in Glasgow.
    He was aghast at the suggestion and continued the work in-house. And also created a new job which previously had not existed.

    The initiative has been successful despite the curious efforts of Argyll’s Business Gateway.

    (I am being deliberately circumspect and avoiding naming the business. He still hopes for future assistance from the organisation which claims to assist local business.)

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  7. Your comments show petty narrow nationalism which Independence is meant to cure,

    The Norwegians had the confidence to appoint a Finn to design the iconic Oslo Opera House

    The terms of the contract for the Games may surprise you

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  8. A company from Dunoon sent two builders to Oban (Soroba Bridge)to build a wall 1m x1.3m guess global warming does not exist, guess Oban has no local builders; Guess Oban does not have Builders merchants. Guess money is in abundance as far as Roddy’s council is concerned

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