Southsiders prepare to drive out M74 moto

Strathclyde Region's determination to press ahead with a £200 million, six- lane motorway which cuts through the southside of Glasgow has been described as a ‘contradiction in terms’ for a city that is hosting a celebration of architecture in 1999.

Dr Hildebrand Frey, director of Strathclyde University’s urban design study unit, points out that Glasgow's successful bid to become City of Architecture was based on community consultation. The M74 proposal, a last gasp plan before the region is abolished in the local government reorganisation, is certain to face opposition in areas affected by the proposed route, including Polmadie. Toryglen and Rutherglen.

‘lfthe 1999 award was won on the basis of community participation and involvement, then this is a blunt l example of that not happening,’ says i

Frey. ‘lt‘s one of those things where roads dictate what happens to the city once again.‘

Critics ofthe scheme say the motorway plan is a throwback to discredited urban planning, at odds I

Playgroups face council reform threatj

Early years childcare could be threatened by local government reorganisation as under-five organisations and playgroups battle to maintain funding.

Many voluntary organisations are waiting anxiously to find out what effect the reform, which abolishes


architecturally forward-looking. ‘This

Q is 50-year-old thinking,’ says Dr Gavin Stamp of Glasgow School of Art’s

architecture department. ‘No civilised European city is doing this any more. but there is still a Scottish obsession with motorway building.‘

Scotland’s two-tier, region-and- district council structure next year, will have on them.

One of those is the Scottish Pre- School Playgroups Association (SPPA) which administers under-fives groups attended by over 25,000 children every year. The organisation’s future is far from clear and, as SPPA’s Pat Irenaman points out, the reorganisation is causing huge headaches. ‘0ur current structure mirrors the present local authorities, so we are restructuring,’ she says.

However, the main problem is making sure funds don’t run out. ‘At the moment we receive funding from the nine regional authorities,’ Trenaman



.. w " ,. I

Glasgow for People: new scheme diverts attention from the M77 protest with a city trying to present itself as

Glasgow for People. a leading group in the protest against the M77 through Pollok Estate. was this week

. organising a meeting of cornrmrnity

groups to present a united front against the plan. "The biggest surprise is that the Regional Council is still pursuing it when they‘re going out of business.‘

says. ‘After reorganisation there will be 29 different councils with very different levels of resources available.’

SPPA’s services are indirect, which Trenaman fears may make them seem easy to cut by small authorites with tight budgets. ‘We are preparing to make our case very strongly to the new shadow authorities to make sure the value of playgroups is recognised,’ she says. (Stephen Naysmith)

The effect of local government reorganisation on children’s services is debated at a national conference organised by Children in Scotland at the Stakis Hotel, Glasgow on Friday 3 February. Details on 0131 228 8484.

Lifting the lid on Scotland’s torture trade

A sinister torture trail leading directly from Scottish factories to some of the world’s most brutal regimes is being exposed by human rights workers in Glasgow. From a quiet suburb in the city’s southside, Amnesty lntemational is monitoring Scots firms suspected of manufacturing equipment used to torture prisoners abroad.

Under Amnesty surveillance is one Glasgow firm recently exposed for allegedly manufacturing and exporting high-powered electric shock batons. Channel 4’s Dispatches alleged that Maryhill-based lCL Technical Plastics had sold the batons illegal in the UK to China, only months after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Floris Greenlaw co-ordinates Amnesty’s Scottish offensive on companies suspected of profiting from the torture trail. She claims there could be two Glasgow companies involved in supplying equipment to regimes with notorious human rights records. ‘There is one company in Glasgow we are sure of,‘ she says. ‘There‘s one other we have certainly been trying to get information from.’


Amnesty believes the problem of British firms involved in what it calls the repression trade, can only be solved if parliament has greater control of export licences. ‘At the moment it’s conducted very much in secret.’ says Greenlaw. ‘We want public disclosure of export licence applications so they can be debated in parliament.‘

Amnesty is also calling for a review of British law to ensure the export of military, security and police equipment is prohibited if there is a chance it will

lead to human rights violations. Greenwood stresses the problem does not stop with electro-shock batons and leg irons computer and radar equipment can be tools of repression in the wrong hands. ‘Britain exported to China in the 80s. surveillance equipment for traffic control.‘ she says. ‘But it was used at the Tiananmen Square riots to see what the students were up to.‘

Maryhill MP Maria Fyfe is demanding a statement from lCL Technical Plastics in response to the Dispatches documentary. ‘l’ve written to the company asking for an undertaking that they will not sell any items used to torture persons,‘ she says.

Fyfe praises Glasgow’s Amnesty International group for its work. saying: ‘lt docs excellent work in drawing attention to the kind ofsufferings that people endure very bravely for the sake of freedom of speech.‘ (Kathleen Morgan)

For information on the repression trade. contact Amnesty International on 0/ 71 814 6200.

rway plan

says Tom Martin of the Rutherglen Community Council. ‘We all thought it was getting dropped. but there seems to be a kind of macho fantasy surrounding road building.‘

The region‘s plan is outlined in a series of public exhibitions, in which it states that the motorway would reduce the number of cars on main roads and side streets in the southside. lt acknowledges that there is a widely- accepted link between new roads and increased traffic. but argues that other measures would be taken to prevent this happening in Glasgow.

However. Glasgow for People regards the timing of the M74 planning application and the exhibitions as a diversionary tactic from the controversial M77 scheme. ‘They claim it's democratic. but it‘s an attempt to salvage their tarnished reputation from the M77.’ says organiser Chris Higgins. (Eddie Gibb)

(ilasgoir'jor People is on ()4/ 552 8776. The M74 plans are on view in the district council 's planning department at 23/ George Street and community

l centres around Glasgow.

I Scripts scrapped Glasgow writer Peter McDougall's television adaptation of Jeff Torrington's Swing Hammer Swing has been rejected after BBC Scotland was unable to convince London drama bosses to fund the production. Plans to make a series based on Trevor Preston’s thriller The Negotiator have also been shelved.

I Talking point Lothian Regional Council is backing the first ‘Edinburgh Debate‘, which is intended to become a regular forum for l()() invited community leaders. politicians, experts and concerned citizens to discuss big issues facing the city. The first debate is called ‘The Crisis of Transport in Edinburgh’ and is on Saturday 28 January at the Royal High School. Contact Anne McMunn on ()l3l 220 3663 for details.

I Legal eagles Bell & Scott. a law firm specialising in arts. media and entertainrrrent, is holding a series of free seminars as an introduction to common legal problems that occur in these sectors. The first seminar is at the Traverse. Edinburgh on Friday 3 February and then in the Scottish Ballet Studios, Glasgow on Tuesday 28 February. Call Angela Reid on ()131 226 6703 for details.

I Weather report With another spate of mountain deaths in the past fortnight, Radio Scotland has started broadcasting special weather information aimed at climbers and skiiers, including avalanche reports. The first report is during ()ut (if/)(mrs on Fridays at 7pm. and is updated during the repeated programme on Saturday morning at 7am.

I G’day Bruce Despite the critical thumbs down given to Chasing the Deer, the film's producers have bounced back with The Bruce. They’ve already secured Brian Blessed and Wolf from Gladiators. but still need to cast Bruce. Interested? Write to Peter Ross at Bruce Pictures. 22 Forth Street, Edinburgh.

4 The List 27 Jan-9 Feb 1995