My ‘Sunday Best’ column is late. I blame Jesus, bunnies and Cadbury’s (not necessarily in that order). Kenneth Roy over at the Scottish Review (‘The Secret Networkers’) asks simply: who is Team Glasgow?
“Two weeks ago, I suggested that my old paper, the Herald, should conduct an investigation into the activities of Team Glasgow, the shadowy group ‘working behind the scenes to influence the workings of the city’ (as its Sunday stablemate put it), if only to show that it was no longer pulling punches in its reporting of Steven Purcell. Mr Purcell is one of only two people to have been identified by name as a member of Team Glasgow, the other being Donald Martin, the editor (or former editor – I am unsure of his current status) of the Herald itself.
The Herald duly published an investigation. It was called an ‘analysis’. But it was not quite the sort of investigation I had in mind; not at all, really. It consisted of little more than a string of favourable quotes about Team Glasgow in general and Steven Purcell in particular, going so far as to claim that Team Glasgow was now being considered as a model for similar initiatives in other parts of Scotland. I looked at the date of publication – 1 April – and pondered whether this might be some elaborate seasonal joke before concluding that, unfortunately, it was completely serious – in intention, at least.
According to the Herald, the network of key individuals branding themselves Team Glasgow are assessing how to fill the vacuum created by the downfall of figurehead Steven Purcell who, as a gregarious politician had been regarded as the epicentre of the group. I put many of these words and phrases in italics to show how language must be inflated in the service of something so devoid of merit as Team Glasgow.
It does not appear to have occurred to the Herald, before it committed its ‘analysis’ to print, that Team Glasgow has no address, no telephone number and no website – in other words, that it is impossible for anyone to contact it; that it is appointed by no one and accountable to no one; that it is without constitution or status; that it has no authority to act on anyone’s behalf; and yet that it presumes to be ‘working behind the scenes to influence the workings of the city’ and, in doing so, is uncritically supported by the city’s own newspaper.
I repeat what I have asked several times before without answer: of whom does this ‘team’ consist? We know of Purcell (now, presumably, retired) and Martin (who has gone, or is going, to the land of Francis Gay and The Broons, from which no man returns). Who are the others? The most striking thing about the Herald’s ‘analysis’ is that no one is prepared to confess to being a fully paid-up member. Or non-paid-up, for who knows if there is a subscription for joining? This coyness is remarkable. If Team Glasgow is doing such a fabulous job for the city, and wishes to become a ‘national model’ no less, should there not be a queue of enthusiastic founders proudly and publicly associating themselves by name?