Channel 4 Relocation — [Sir Graham Brady in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 3:54 pm on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cities), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 3:54 pm, 10th May 2018

I very much agree. One frustration that I picked up in meeting some of the production companies and Channel 4 at a meeting that it hosted with me in Glasgow, at its West George Street base, was that of always having to look at things through a London lens. The creative decision makers at Channel 4 are often based down here, so basing Channel 4 in Glasgow would be a radical decision that would re-tilt the axis of the media in the UK. I feel that it would also bring benefits to Northern Ireland, which is within close travelling distance of Glasgow, and to the north of England. It would fundamentally change the way in which the media work in the UK.

Glasgow is many things, but it is also very closely bound together. It is a very cohesive city; we cannot ignore one another in the street. As my hon. Friend Stewart Malcolm McDonald and Mr Sweeney mentioned, it has diversity. It has people who have lived in Glasgow all their lives; interlopers like me, from Lanarkshire; and people from Somalia, Pakistan, Eritrea, China and Afghanistan. They have all come together and live cheek by jowl—not across boundaries, but cheek by jowl with one another in one of the friendliest cities in the world.

I would like to tell a wee anecdote to exemplify just how friendly Glasgow is. At an event that Radiant and Brighter—an organisation that helps to support people who come to the city from other countries—held at the city chambers in Glasgow, a doctor who was speaking at the meeting said, “My experience of coming to Glasgow was that I came out of Central station and was a bit lost. I didn’t know where I was going, so I asked somebody. That person not only told me where to go; he took me to where I was going. He took time out of his day to take me along the street and around the corner to the place that I needed to get to.” That typifies Glasgow for me: people are so friendly that they will go out of their way to help others and make them feel at home.

Channel 4 would be very welcome in the city as a large employer, but also as part of the creative culture of the city. We have in the city the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, bringing through great, wonderful arts graduates. There is also the Glasgow School of Art, which is a beacon of art and design. There are also other universities and colleges within the city, all of which produce great talent that would be very well employed at Channel 4.

I would like close with an anecdote from a member of my office staff, Alexander Belic, who had cause to leave the city for a brief period earlier on today. He told me what he saw when he came back in:

“There is a busker performing ‘No Diggity
on a guitar and a leprechaun releasing torrents of bubbles down Buchanan street—what a town.”

I think Channel 4 would fit well within Glasgow. I welcome it to choose Glasgow and back our bid.