The previous Loose Ends connection was in George Square, scene of protest, celebration and much else. It was perhaps only natural that I came next the short distance to the statue of Donald Dewar, which stands at the top of Buchanan Street. There too people gather to protest, busk or eat their lunch. It was night and I only had a few minutes. I stood long enough to get a couple of photos, never easy with a phone to avoid streetlight glare. The scene was quite quiet for an early evening, folk heading home or further down towards the town and the shops. I looked up at Donald Dewar and left.
Donald Dewar was a politician. He was the first First Minister of Scotland and did a lot of work to set up the Scottish Parliament. He gave a very powerful speech at its opening on 1st July 1999, his words warm and passionate on that summer’s day two decades ago. The first words of the Scotland Act 1998 are carved on the base of his statue:
‘There shall be a Scottish Parliament’.
Donald Dewar was particularly tickled by that concise statement which begat so much. I remember not only the Concorde flying over my primary school when the Scottish Parliament opened but about a year later watching his funeral on television. He had collapsed in the street, dying of a brain haemorrhage aged 63. I can only wonder what he would make of Scotland today, of the Labour Party and of the Scottish Parliament he helped to hansel.
To the connections and they are many from this statue. Donald Dewar represented Anniesland so a trip up Great Western Road might work. Or the Scottish Parliament, even the Royal High School up on Calton Hill that might have been its home at one time. The place of Dewar’s funeral, Glasgow Cathedral, has featured in this series already but not where he was educated, Glasgow University. I have the feeling it might be another Glaswegian one next…
Thank you for reading. This is part of the Loose Ends series here on Walking Talking. Other links in the series can be found on the Loose Ends page.