Pathetic! SNP sparks fierce row over cross-border power grab for City of Culture title.
A CROSS BORDER controversy has erupted over a joint Anglo-Scottish border attempt to gain City of Culture title.
The competition, delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in cooperation with the devolved governments, utilizes culture as a catalyst for levelling up places outside London and putting new sections of the UK on the cultural map internationally.
Dumfries and Galloway, Scottish Borders, Carlisle City, Cumbria and Northumberland councils expressed interest in being declared a City of Culture area.
Plans have been drawn up for a single regional bid across the five councils areas but SNP councillors in Dumfries and Galloway have resisted the plans.
Cllr Rob Davidson, deputy leader of the SNP-Labour governed Dumfries and Galloway Council suggested a Southern Scotland regional bid would be more appropriate excluding English local authorities.
He added: “Our issues with the Borderlands bid are, firstly, that we are not quite clear how the decision was made to go forward with such a bid.
“And, secondly, that we feel there is a huge risk that all Dumfries and Galloway has to offer doesn’t get the prominence and exposure to wider audiences that, for example, a south of Scotland bid would have guaranteed.”
But Friday night, former Scottish Secretary David Mundell slammed the statements by Cllr Davidson as “pathetic”.
The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP, added: “I can only assume that it is because of this cross-border element and honestly that is pathetic.
“The difference here with this bid is that involves a cross-border strategy and ultimately SNP policy is against cooperation with our friends and neighbours across the border.”
A record 20 sites from around the UK submitted an expression of interest to become the UK City of Culture 2025.
The winner will take over from Coventry who was awarded the designation in 2021 which saw more than £100million promised in capital investment to assist cultural projects in the city.
Sir Phil Redmond, Chair of the City of Culture Expert Advisory Panel, said: “From Derry-Londonderry to Hull and Coventry it has been a difficult and rewarding challenge to select the next UK City of Culture, and the list of potential candidates for 2025 indicates that life in the immediate future is going to be even more challenging!
“The three former titleholders have proved the transformative and catalytic effect culture can bring about, even.”Brinkwire Summary News”.