Monday, 19 January 2009

Death of a small town...

My Mum is a nice lady in her mid sixties, after a lifetime of paying taxes and working hard while bringing up her family she chose carefully when it came to the question of where to retire to and chose well. But her heart is breaking and I am fuming.

My childhood is a patchwork of happy summer holiday memories, the most dearly held of these spent in a little town on the west of Scotland; Girvan. My Mum and Dad obviously felt the same way, so some 10 years ago or so they packed their possessions on the proverbial cart, didn't dilly and dally and wound their way from Cumbernauld to Girvan.

They have a house that overlooks the park and the seafront, with fantastic sunset views over Ailsa Craig - their home has been a place of tranquillity, rest and refuge for me over the years - and my brothers and their families, friends and the many other people my parents have welcomed into their home.

Through the years Mum and Dad have immersed themselves in what is a friendly and decent community; my Mum working in the local cancer charity shop, and both participating in local art projects, SNP politics and various campaigns for local redevelopment. There have been many highlights over the years; torchlight parades, fireworks, fairs, the harbour day to mention but a few. The local community, the many tourists and those just making a welcome stop on the long road to and from the Irish Ferry ports south of Girvan all benefit from this real community.

But when the visitors go home and the town's inhabitants are left to get on with their day to day lives it is a different picture. Girvan's high street; a wander along which was a treat with a burning pocketful of holiday money for me all those years ago, is a pale shadow of what once it was. Boarded up shops (yes now including a Woolies), a proliferation of charity shops, pound shops and pretty much nothing else. The Beach Pavilion - once the centre of a vibrant seafront, harbour-side community amenity is now boarded up, left to rot by a neglectful council. The Stair Park pavilion (in the picture at the top of this blog) until recently a host to various displaced community groups has been condemned by the self same bureaucrats and closed, even the play parks are badly maintained, if at all.

This weekend my Mum called me, upset; she had been up since 5:00 am on Saturday morning - writing and rewriting a letter of protest, destined for anybody that would listen, as news of the latest blow to her beloved community had come to her. The closure of a swimming pool may seem small fry, and it is on a global scale - but when it is the single last community amenity left in a town that has been neglected by a council who have undertaken the development of shiny new Gyms and Pools in the wealthy well served areas under it's jurisdiction - it is an outrage.

Girvan's air is no longer that of ozone but decay, and this may be the final nail in the coffin of this small town that pretty much nobody cares about.

So what are the local South Ayrshire councillors going to do about the demise of yet another small town?

Well they are obviously committed to sports, so much so that the greedy bastards are off on a £15,000 junket to Dubai to play golf - at the taxpayers expense of course.

What a cabal of despicable sleazy, money grabbing demons, not fit for office , let's re-employ them to care for the only council tended garden left in Girvan - ironically a place where Robert the Bruce held court in 1328 as he tried to unite disparate political factions into one country.

Really, no really - when can I leave?


  1. I'm afraid this has been going on under New Labour for the past 11 years but the pace of decay and corruption is now accelerating as the Brown pile of failures mount. I think it is time to abandon silent protest and take to the streets until all corrupt politicians are booted out. It would be a fight for public rights not seen in Britain for I have no clue how long but we must stand up and start to fight for our rights as so called democracy just does not exist in this country especially under the dictatorship of Brown's Stasi thugs.

  2. Bravo TS, summed up succinctly. Depressing for an ex-socialist I must be honest.

    Brown and his gang of thieves must be held to account...

  3. TS you are so right, this gravy train "mentality" has to stop. I want my money back!

  4. I agree Brown is to blame but also the local council is to blame. Most small west coast towns are falling to bits. Maybe if they put a cap on the amount of second homes ie holiday homes and encouraged people to move back to Girvan then the council will reopen the baths !!