After two successful nights to launch Falkirk’s latest visitor attraction, The Kelpies, Falkirk Council are patting themselves on the collective back for a job well done. True, the events were well organised by UZ Promotions who used to manage Big in Falkirk, remember that? Worth £2m to the local economy and scrapped when Labour and the Tories came to power.
Credit was also given to designers, engineers, government and agency officials and everyone involved in the project, well almost everyone.
Missing from the credits list were the visionaries for and drivers of The Helix, the SNP / Independent Administration of 2001 to 2007, an Administration that changed the face of Falkirk forever, an Administration that achieved so much in such a short time.
The Helix is a huge part of the re-branding of Falkirk district to diversify the local economy and create jobs in sectors previously out of Falkirk’s reach, sectors such as tourism. It went unreported by the Falkirk Herald that two SNP Councillors, David Alexander, who led that Administration from 2001 to 2007 and Steven Carleschi, gave evidence at the recent Public Enquiry against the proposal for Coal Bed Methane Extraction around Airth. Tourism was cited as a reason for the rejection of the application of the application by Dart Energy as Falkirk takes its place in the list of areas with a growing tourism industry.
How magnanimous it would have been if the leaders who developed the Helix concept, carried out the consultations and submitted the funding bids had been acknowledged in some small way by the current regime. I’m not talking costs here but a basic certificate of thanks, a photograph of their vision coming to fruition or just a message to say well done.
Had Provost Pat Reid publicly acknowledged the role of his predecessor, former Provost, Jim Johnston, current leader, Craig Martin done likewise with David Alexander how much taller would they appear to walk in the eyes of the public. Instead there was only the narrow partisan hope that people would forget who were the real drivers of the Helix.
I wasn’t a member of Falkirk Council at that time and so can not claim any credit or recognition for myself I also know that neither Jim nor David will thank us for raising this issue as both of them are content to know their ambitions and vision of a better Falkirk district are being realised now and that the seeds they planted are coming up a rich crop. Oh that others would replicate their qualities.
Cllr Cecil Meiklejohn
SNP Group Leader