Dec 4 2008 Steven Purcell
Steven Purcell reflects on the 20 years that have seen Glasgow, and The Glaswegian, flourish...
AS The Glaswegian prints its 1000th edition, it is amazing to look back over the last 20 years and see just how far this city has come.
Then Glasgow was gripped by the decline of our heavy industries. Before long, most of the Glaswegians who once filled the streets at the end of their shift, were instead heading for the dole queues.
Glasgow was depressing and many people felt depressed.
For a lot of people, Glasgow's first fight back came in the form of Mr Happy' and the launch of 'The Glasgow's Miles Better' campaign. The aim was to rid Glasgow of its proverbial 'No Mean City' title and almost overnight perceptions about our city were radically altered.
There was a genuinely fresh and tangible buzz about Glasgow, which made way for the subsequent awarding of the 1988 Garden Festival and the 1990 Year of Culture accolades to the city.
Since then, Glasgow has built on these successes and become a confident and modern place to visit, live, and work. Today we are known as the friendly city, which successfully hosts top class events and conferences.
In the last 20 years, we have also played host to the 1999UK City of Architecture&Design, the 2002 UEFA Champions League, the 2005 Special Olympics Great Britain Games and the 2007 UEFA Cup Final to name but a few.
The way we hosted and organised all these great occasions helped us make the case to bring the 2014 Commonwealth Games to Glasgow.
The Games will give us many ways over the next few years to lift our economy and create opportunities. You cannot underestimate how important it is to bring the largest multi-sport event every to be held in Scotland to our city.
The programe to build the Games venues and all the other related projects like the M74 extension are a valuable safety net for the city during the tough economic climate we are currently facing.
We know that work will not dry up in Glasgow, that money is in place and projects will go ahead in time for 2014.
Today job growth in the city has outstripped both the Scottish and UK averages. We have 80,000 more jobs in Glasgow than we had a decade ago.
And the number of Glasgow residents in work has gone up by around 40,000 in the same period. The number of unemployed has fallen considerably.
Development activity has risen too, up from s2.8 billion in value just four years ago to s4.3 billion in this financial year.
And the good news is that most of that money is committed and a large number of projects, both in the public and private sectors, are going ahead.
And there are many more indicators which prove that Glasgow is far from being an economic basket case of 20 years ago.
Glasgow now has a strong and diverse economy with the infrastructure, the sector mix, the skills and the experience to get through tough economic times.
It is amazing to think that when The Glaswegian first started 19 years ago, even the political landscape of our city was different. In fact Glasgow City Council did not exist. It wasn't until 1996, that Glasgow District Council was granted unitary status and became what it is today.
This council is working very hard on behalf of all our citizens.
We have overseen a massive regeneration of our city in particular in the Merchant City and the transformation of Buchanan Street into the best shopping location outside of London.
Along the Clyde, new communities like the redeveloped Gorbals have been created and buildings have spun up, including The Glaswegian's offices, the Clyde Auditorium (known affectionately by Glaswegians as The Armadillo), Glasgow Science Centre and in 2011 the new Riverside Museum will open its doors to the public.
This council has also overseen the three year refurbishment of The Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum which reopened in July 2006 and is Scotland's premier tourist attraction and the most popular museum outside London.
Glasgow still has a lot to do in particular, in the current economic climate. But every single Glaswegian has their part to play. I believe every citizen can make a difference if we galvanise our talents and work together as 'Team Glasgow'. But our enemy is indifference. We are all cogs in the wheels of our city's successes.
So I would urge you all to go out and support your local shops, restaurants and businesses like The Glaswegian. By doing that we are ensuring that our city's economy remains buoyant and confident despite the current tough times.
If we can work together, then I believe Glasgow and Glaswegians will continue to flourish - despite the tough times - and move forward with confidence.
I know that as we do this, The Glaswegian will be there to tell our stories and support our local communities.