Podcast: The woman in charge at George Square


What do you do when you get one of the most powerful women in Scottish local government in front of a microphone? Well you ask her all about the job, what she wants to achieve, and a few of your own hobby-horses too. Like buskers with amplifiers, who are too noisy for Derek Bateman’s liking.

Derek Bateman

Our podcast host raised all this and more with Susan Aitken, the ebullient leader of Glasgow City Council, who swept to power for the SNP last May. Susan, seen as one of the most creative leaders in local government, has a big job on her plate, with her party having displaced Labour for the first time in 40 years.

You can tune in by clicking on the audio file above, via your usual podcast channels including iTunes, or using our RSS feed: http://www.buzzsprout.com/57229.rss

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  1. Citydeal money for infrastructure? “You build a bridge where does it go – it goes to Govan”? Correct, a bridge is expensive but at the end of the day it only offers one connection across a river. A better or complimentary and low cost option is longitudinal transport infrastructure on a river provided by ferries. I led two research studies on longitudinal river ferry transport along the Clyde. A system modelled on Brisbane River, Paramatta/Sydney, London (Thames Clippers) and many others, based on use of multiple high-speed passenger catamarans, would effectively link up all riverside developments (current and future) from St. Enoch’s to Dumbarton and multiple stops en-route. Previous councils were too rail and bridge oriented so ignored and blocked the ‘riverbus’ idea and tender. They left the river to die effectively. The river/port authority now owned by offshore bankers were also unhelpful. Yet all this needs is a tender to select an operator and for the council to put in place the river ‘bus’ stops (pontoons – not expensive), like many other cities have done. The riverbus system we modelled with 10 or so stops initially would carry over a million people annually and require far less subsidy per passenger trip than rail transport. Private operators such as Thames Clippers were interested to bid to operate the service and they would provide the ferries; but the council need to tender/facilitate a river ferry system just like any other global city. Susan, if you want to reinvigorate the Clyde from the city centre to Dumbarton, and though that lever future investment all the way along the riverside en-route, you should issue a tender for a riverbus system (like many other redeveloped waterfront cities), and also try to return regulation of the river to the public sector. As well as being important for commuters and residents etc, this service would also become one of the top 3-4 tourist ‘destinations’ in the city by volume – any visitor to Glasgow would be delighted to hop on and off a fast frequent riverbus, just as they do in New York, Lisbon, Sydney, Istanbul, London, Brisbane, Rio, etc etc etc. Let the people really rediscover the Clyde. Use your river, don’t lose it!

  2. The target of all the lies is always the SNP. Rubbishing their record on Government. When the opposite is the truth. On just about every measure our Scottish Government is doing much better than other parts of the U.K.

    The SNP have always said they have to demonstrate competence in Government. Our Unionist media are working to make people think they are incompetent.

    Instead of seeing our parliamentary vehicle to independence being diminished daily

    The YES movement need (something to do) to counter the lies and set the record straight.

    Irrespective of how soon Indyref2 is we need a national campaign to counter the medias lies. Many benefits will flow from this.

    • Who or what is going to get the ball rolling. Yes Scotland was stood down after 2014 referendum. Can’t see the SIC being the catalyst too much of a talking shop.


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