Glasgow dirty and infested with rats? BBC’s Andrew Marr delivers verdict


There is a new member of the “one name club”, that elite group of people famous enough to go without last names. To Madonna, to Elvis, to Prince, to Beyoncé, we can now add “Greta”.

The 18-year-old Swede, formerly known as environmental activist Greta Thunberg, was treated to the kind of reception normally offered to minor rock royalty when she arrived in Glasgow Central on Saturday for COP26.

It was “Greta” this and “Greta” that from the media and fans as the school striker transformed into a killer of procrastinating politicians stepped out of the station, a police ring in tow.

She was in no rush to get up early before a tour of the Sunday political broadcasts. Given her choice of programs, she had already chosen the one that had the most audience. You can’t become a member of a one-name club by stepping away from the limelight, so that was the case with The Andrew Marr Show. In another nod to her now ‘we’ll come to you’ status, she pre-recorded the interview a few days ago at the Natural History Museum in London.

Sky News’s Marr and Trevor Phillips show on Sunday was among London and international media heading north for COP26.

Phillips had to settle for a seat in the press area of ​​the main conference arena which, given it was 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday, hardly buzzed. There were a few snags, which were to be expected, perhaps, when walking away from the base, such as the main guest, Alok Sharma, president of COP26, wandering in the shot before to be present.

Marr, on the other hand, had it easy as Sunday morning with the doors of BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay open to him. It had all the comforts of home – same studio furniture, signage, etc. – and a magnificent view of the Clyde, the Squinty Bridge and the Finnieston Crane.

Perhaps it was the feeling of being toasty warm inside as the rain pounded the windows that prompted him to praise the host city when reviewing the newspaper. Glasgow, or rather its council, he told viewers outside Scotland, had had a hard time in the press for presiding over a city littered with garbage and infested with rats.

Yet Marr, who was born in Glasgow, had made a different impression as he strolled through the dear green place again on Saturday.

“It was absolutely beautiful. It was sunny, clean, busy, it was friendly, there were demonstrations but they were cheerful and colorful. The city looked really good.

Susan Aitken, the SNP leader of Glasgow City Council, who came under fire this week for blaming the state of the city today on Ms Thatcher, couldn’t have asked for better.

Marr kept Greta’s interview until the end, with Alok Sharma, who was usually at the top of the list as a Cabinet member, appearing first.

As in Glasgow, the press, supporters and police surrounded her when she arrived at the Natural History Museum. Inside, Marr and a small team were waiting. She had nothing with her except a bottle of water at her feet, and certainly no notes, yet her composure and confidence would have been the envy of a politician three times her age.

She was a different Greta than the one that has sometimes appeared in the past. There was no reprimand, no ‘how dare you? No feeling that the pressures might be getting too much for a teenager.

The new Greta, the one we saw singing and dancing on Rick Astley’s Never Going to Give You Up recently, was relaxed and smiling. Diplomatic too. Gone are the days of the Greta who laughed at world leaders to indulge in “blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blown face done instead of taking action. She has always denounced their shortcomings, but she did so in general and not personal terms.

READ MORE: The prudence of the president of the COP undermined by the minister

That said, she wasn’t afraid to court controversy. Asked about the protesters who blocked the roads, much to the fury of the drivers, she said as long as no one was injured, such actions were acceptable.

“Sometimes you need to make some people angry. Like, for example, the strike movement in schools would never have been so great if there had not been friction, if some people had not been angry.

People in the UK, Sweden and all countries where there are clear rights to protest have “more responsibilities” to protest on climate change, she said.

Referring to China, she told Marr, “It makes you so grateful that we are really able to protest and it places more responsibility on us, who really have the right to protest, to use that right. ”

While she blamed China for being “disconnected” from building coal-fired power plants, she warned that there would always be other countries to blame for not doing enough and urged the world to work. together.

She said: “It is more important that we have to work together internationally and globally to make sure everyone makes this transition, and not the least of pushing China which is still building coal plants which are today. quite out of touch with reality if you ask me. ”

Closing on a note of hope, she added: “We can always prevent things from getting worse. It’s never too late to do the most you can.

Confident, knowledgeable and charismatic, it is no exaggeration to see the teenager in office herself one day. She had “considered the possibility” of racing in Sweden, but added: “No, at least not at the moment.”

Never say never: what a very political thing to do.

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