The Missing Majors: Council Cash Cuts, RSPBA Statement, National Press Involved

All those piling in on the RSPBA regarding the difficulties over the ‘missing majors’ should have a close read at this statement from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, the body that speaks for our local councils:

‘The Scottish Government has delivered a major blow to communities and has put councils at financial risk with a cash cut to local government. It will mean cuts in every community in Scotland and job losses across Scottish local government.’

By the Editor

You can see why pipe band championships are at the back of the funding queue as far as these councils are concerned.

If there is to be criticism of the RSPBA it is that they did not read the runes. Their dependency model whereby major championships were pitched at local authorities was sustainable only so long as said authorities had cash to spare.

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Anyone following the political shenanigans here in Scotland over the past two years would have seen that this model was heading for the rocks and got their contingencies ready.

Failure to do so has left us where we are now. Last week’s statement from RSPBA Chairman Kevin Reilly shows that fall backs, already proposed in these pages, are being seriously considered:

‘The Board of Directors are working hard to find alternative solutions for the three Major Championships yet to be confirmed. We are exploring a number of different options, and discussions are currently ongoing with various parties to secure a solution. 

‘One option being actively explored is building a Major Championship on an already established local contest. A number of suitable events have been identified and discussions are currently underway to agree the feasibility of this option. We hope to be able to confirm the position in the New Year.’

This is one, doable, solution, but can three majors be spread over all the minors? Perhaps not impossible but a lot of planning will be needed.

Nothing should be off the table, and the bands, the people that really matter in this crisis, need to hector their branches and representatives. Let them know that you demand these ‘missing majors’ go ahead. Impress on them that you are not expecting all the best facilities or prize money, just that the 2024 championships, UK, British and European have to happen.

If they don’t there will be a direct impact on the two majors we do have confirmed. A first run through at Dumbarton and then two weeks later the Worlds? How will that maintain standards and interest when compared to the momentum build of previous years? We all know the answer.

So let us keep the pressure and the campaign moving. The BBC’s report on the problem (above), also last week, has alerted the wider public. The story was picked up by the national press too.

As I said in my comments to the Beeb: ‘The pipe band movement brings millions of pounds every year into the Scottish economy, yet here we have a situation whereby these events can’t be put on because of a lack of money.’

Once more the pipe band movement is being short-changed. We can stand and watch the demise of a once great tradition or we can do something about it on our own terms. Hit those phones, write those letters, get to the branch meetings.

All is not lost. There is still hope, but time is getting short.

8 thoughts on “The Missing Majors: Council Cash Cuts, RSPBA Statement, National Press Involved

  1. It’s not just Scotland. ABC Council (Lurgan) aren’t willing to commit the money either. Why should they? What do they get for their money.

    Nevermind the fact that the BOD were ‘chantering while Washington Street burned’ and all the questions that remain unanswered about the tenders and waste of resources, the latest accounts show that the Association can afford to put on the majors themselves – but it would take a bit of work to find venues and other partners willing to join them. Still they’d rather put all their eggs in one basket and complain when those particular chickens stop laying eggs.

  2. Has anybody considered the huge cash outlay on Councillor salaries and expenses?
    My late father-in-law was a Councillor for many, MANY years whilst running his business full time and claiming only out of pocket expenses. Many big city Councillors actually take salaries which are HIGHER than MPs.
    It’s worth scrutinising just what percentage of ratepayers cash is taken from the pot, to fill the pockets of people who found it so lucrative….they threw full time jobs away to ride the gravy-train.

    1. So you want us to return to the days where only the rich could be councillors like Argyll in the 1950s because they had the means to support themselves and guess what they were almost all Conservatives. Bottom line, the reality is councils are now left in the position that they have to prioritise statutory services and pipe bands aren’t one of them.So what’s the answer? Our collective has to look at what’s out there.
      I suspect plenty companies with an interest in the Scottish tradition of Piping might be interested particularly if they can put it against tax. This crabbit old character raised £5000 for piobaireachd teaching for young folk by shearing 50 sheep. So if all of us with an interest pull our together surely we can do something.

  3. I cannot recall Scottish Civic or Political Society being at such a low ebb in my lifetime. There is no shortage of money but millions and millions of wasted pounds squandered on personal vanities.
    Hopefully pipers, and indeed drummers, will vote with their fingers.

  4. This is right the Scottish government are heavily to blame for what is happening with greed and corruption!but the rspba have to take responsibility too the decline in band competition’s this past 10 years has been unreal local band contests have 20 bands now in contrast to the 40 plus it used to be.things like numbers being capped has been ignored by the rspba for example Victoria police won the worlds in 1998 with 16 piper’s now grade one band have 25 plus piper’s this will obviously effect numbers of bands competing and support numbers of them bands

  5. Wouldn’t be a problem if the Councils actually structured their involvement and activities so that the didn’t make the horrendous financial losses they have done in the past!

  6. In reality there is not a ‘lack” of money it is the historical and present misuse of money…. Consider the money spent on policing independence marches and demonstrations….. In recent times the “ferry fiasco’….. The” plastic bottle “….. Then a senior politicians knowninly lying and supported by the First Minister in relation to the misuse of a Government device to watch football and the claím of £11000.
    A House of Lords member lying in a scam of tens of millions…. A Scots lady.
    As I say plenty money, the missuse affecting everyone from our pipe bands to the care in our NHS…..

    1. adding to the list of wastage, are the 9 pretendy “Scottish Embassies” abroad, costing the Scottish taxpayer approx £7 million per annum.

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