My Column

Our Creative nation taking centre stage and thats despite Brexit pantomime

  • Date: Monday 7th January 2019
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With so much uncertainty lying ahead in 2019, it’s important to keep your glass half full and remember the many positive things coming up this year for Scotland, particularly in the creative industries.

Of course Edinburgh is our capital city, but Glasgow has been widely considered Scotland’s media capital for a couple of decades.

The BBC and STV already have studios firmly installed at Pacific Quay, and earlier this year Glasgow made an excellent bid to host the new headquarters of Channel 4, which could have lured chunks of the UK television industry north of the border.

As we all know, Leeds unfortunately pipped us at the post. However, Glasgow was selected notably to become one of the channel’s ‘creative hubs’.

This will be a huge boost to the city and particularly to those working in the creative industries. I’d say that the next step is luring more big name broadcasters north of the border.

I hear that up to £250 million will be spent on producing content in the regions and nations, so I’m positive that some great programmes will be birthed in Scotland in the coming year.

2018 saw some major Hollywood blockbusters filming in Scottish locations, including a Fast and Furious spin-off which had locals on the lookout for Idris Elba around the city.

It was revealed that this shoot alone brought £1 million to the city’s coffers and it seems there will possibly be even more Hollywood stars coming to Scotland.

Screen Scotland recently launched its tender process inviting proposals from private developers to lease, refurbish and operate a permanent world-class film and television production facility in Leith.

This will add to a few other studios already in place including the studio in Cumbernauld where Outlander is filmed. A two year lease has just been signed so this will continue to bring a boost to the local economy for some time.

Of course, I couldn’t discuss the entertainment industry boom in Scotland without mentioning the Hydro and all the world class acts it has been bringing to the country over the years. It’s the only UK venue of its scale and was purpose-built for entertainment, welcoming over 140 acts and events annually. Only recently, it has hosted the likes of Paul McCartney, Kevin Bridges, and WWE Live.

And by no means is it slowing down, with the likes of Take That, Westlife, Still Game, Cher and Michael Bublé gracing the stage in the New Year.

With a capacity of 12,000, it’s a major boost to the city each time there’s something big on, with restaurants and bars in close vicinity often at capacity.

It doesn’t end there. Finnieston could yet be boosted further after the Scottish Event Campus lodged £200 million expansion plans with the ambition of making it a truly ‘world class’ destination for business and culture.

The idea is that it will enable the venue to host “the world’s top conferences, exhibitions and events”.

With plans to create more meeting areas, a raised outdoor space, and a dynamic new entrance, it’s thought that the venture could realise a £300 million boost for the local economy.

With all these exciting new ventures taking off, the Brexit clouds may just clear across Scotland in 2019.



While we lead increasingly fragmented lives, technology continues to be the glue that binds us together – and so it is in the world of business.

Disruption was a big word on the lips of many in 2018, and it’s certain to be even more influential this year as we see the status quo swept further aside.

For those that are able to think a little bit differently and bring something new to the table, the rewards are clear. The examples of Skyscanner and ASOS respectively taking on the travel and fashion industries and winning should be inspiration to us all.

Quite simply, those that spend most of their time trying to protect their current position will find themselves in a precarious spot. Meanwhile those that understand the opportunities for progression that are engendered by their current position and then are able to foresee the best line of advancement put themselves at much greater advantage.  

Those that are most responsive to customer demand will also be giving themselves a head start when it comes to separating themselves from the pack.

Undoubtedly, the ability to successfully meet customer needs on the move is now everything. Just look at the ASOS business model of getting the latest fashion quickly and cheaply to customers’ doors to see how it should be done.

Customers are now incredibly technologically savvy – to underestimate that is to imperil your business – and it’s an incredible driver of business growth if integrated correctly.

Of course, not every enterprise will have the technological answers at their fingertips, so collaboration is vital for success. Sharing of ideas in an interdependent business environment simply must be undertaken.

My advice in 2019? Never stand still.



You have to hand it to YouTuber Mark Hoyle for successfully nailing the nation’s love of pastry-covered meat products.

The dad of two wasn’t afraid to embrace his sausage roll-inspired parody of Starship’s 1985 rock anthem We Built This City and to help get it to the top of the festive music charts with a hilarious video.

And his newfound fame has given food bank charity The Trussell Trust a massive boost – a fitting festive recipient indeed after Mark hit financial woes when his wife Roxanne gave up work to have children.

But Mark is not an overnight sensation – his LadBaby videos had already clocked up 50million online views before ‘We Built This City on Sausage Rolls’ came along.

Well done to him. Let’s hope he continues to roll with it.



It’s maybe not top of your New Year’s resolution list, but ‘fatbergs’ are a huge problem at this time of year and a massive headache for sewage workers.

Festive fats and oils are poured down sinks which then congeal, cutting down the size of the pipe and leading to a huge spillover when it rains which can then block whole roads.

Most of the time, blockages are caused by the wrong items being put down sinks and toilets, but during the Christmas period, there’s an upsurge in cooking and people being lazy in how they clean up fat and oil afterwards.

Don’t believe that it’s a problem? One London fatberg was found to be 130 tonnes and 450 metres long.

Let’s stop making sewer workers’ lives harder and unite to fight the fat.



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