The Barred Bard

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Opinion

The town has lost its sparkle

There are many positive aspects to the town but it is hard to escape the conclusion that the town is a mess. In 'The Rough Guide to Scotland' - the Bible of the independent tourist - Kilmarnock gets 16 words in a densely typed book about an inch in thickness. "Kilmarnock, a shabby manufacturing town, is known principally for being the home of Johnnie Walker whisky." The coded message is 'give it a wide berth'.

This quote does need to be challenged as its perception of Kilmarnock is far too one-sided. However, we won't do ourselves any favours if we ignore the element of truth behind their words. These were the views of an outsider and as Burns so wisely commented "Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see oursel's as others see us, It wad frae mony a blunder free us."

Kilmarnock is no longer 'a manufacturing town'; its biggest employers are in service industries. The town has to reinvent itself and given its geography and historic and cultural heritage, a bold commitment to culture - as outlined in the Chief Executive's vision for Kilmarnock when East Ayrshire came into existence - is a realistic option.

Pete Heywood

   

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