It never ceases to amaze me the lengths councils will go to waste money.
In Glasgow, right outside the Gallery of Modern Art on Royal Exchange Square, stands a statue of the Duke of Wellington on a horse.
As statues go, it’s just another statue of an old dead guy, but what gives it a unique Glasgow twist is that Duke is nearly always wearing a traffic cone on his head! No matter how many times the Council remove it, someone puts it back on again!
Last week, news broke that Glasgow City Council wanted to spend £65,000 renovating the statue. Most of that money was to be spent on building a plinth for the statue to sit on to make it harder for anyone to clamber up and put a cone on the Duke’s head. It’s apparently to do with that old chestmut, “health and safety”, and to reduce the cost of removing the traffic cone on a regular basis.
All the Council would be doing by building a plinth would be adding to the danger of placing it there, not removing that danger. As any Glaswegian will tell you, you could put the statue on top of a plinth as high as the column in George Square that the Scott Memorial totters on, and it would still have a cone on its head.
Following a public outcry, the Council has backed down on its plans to build a plinth, but what really stinks is the revelation that it costs the city £10,000 a year to have the cone removed on a regular basis! That’s right, the Council claim it costs them £100 every time they remove the cone!
Given the levels of deprivation and poverty found in the city of Glasgow, it beggars belief that a Council, and a Labour run one at that, would think it a good use of their stretched resources to spend £100 a shot removing a cone from the top of a statue – and then to repeat that folly 100 times a year.
If it ever needs removed in the future, I know a windae cleaner who will do the job for a fiver, but the point is the cone doesn’t need removed. It should be left exactly where it is. It is part of the city’s rich culture, a tourist attraction, one of the “top 10 most bizarre monuments on Earth“. It puts a smile on the faces of passersby and you can’t put a price on that these days.
Leaving it be would also remove the danger of someone having to clamber up the statue to replace it and would save the Council £10,000 a year.
Smiley faces all round.