Chris Kane’s Blog – Billund, Bridges and Back to the Futureworld

  • ‘Embarrassing’ conduct of SNP Stirling Councillors
  • Letter to First Minister on Big Noise funding
  • Councillors from ‘Home of Lego’ visit Stirling
  • A trip back to the Futureworld

All in this week’s update from Stirling Council Leader and Scottish Labour Councillor Chris Kane

By-election Result

My thanks to everyone who came out to vote for Labour’s David Wilson in the Dunblane and Bridge of Allan by-election, and to David for standing up for Labour values and being a fantastic candidate.   Congratulations to Robin Kleinman as the newest member of Stirling Council.  I’ll leave it to others to pore over the data and try to work out patterns and infer thinking and suggest what it means for all the political parties, but Stirling Council is now back up to a full complement of 23 councillors.  All of us must now get on with the job Stirling’s citizens elected us to do – deliver the best local services we can with the money we’ve got, help those who need our help the most and work hard to articulate and deliver an inclusive, fair and prosperous future for everyone.

SNP Councillors ’embarrassing’ behaviour 

The SNP Group of Stirling Councillors have indicated their intention to be ‘in opposition’ to the Labour Minority Administration.  That is their choice but the SNP Councillors conduct at recent meetings is, frankly, embarrassing.  I’ve had Stirling citizens who vote across the political spectrum approach me to say parts of recent council meetings were excruciating to watch.  Don’t take my word for it – have a look at the recordings of the budget meeting and special council meeting and judge for yourself.

Big Noise

Last week I wrote of the funding issues for Stirling Council caused by the First Minister announcing on Twitter of a funding package for Big Noise projects across Scotland.  At the Stirling Council meeting on 9th March, council agreed to ‘ask the Leader of the Council to write to the First Minister to express our regret that (funding) information was not available to all affected councils prior to the budget setting process and to ask for a fair funding arrangement extending the same consideration to Big Noise Stirling as Big Noise Dundee and Big Noise Aberdeen’.  I have now done so, and you can read the letter here.  We’ve still not heard anything either in response to the letter or following up on the First Minister’s Tweet.

Billund Visit

Billund visitors at Codebase in Stirling

Stirling welcomed a delegation of politicians from Billund in Denmark last week for a tour of the Wallace Monument, Codebase and the Reuse Hub in Springkerse.  I was keen to hear of a collaboration between Lego, who are based in Billund, which has seen Billund branded as the Danish ‘Capital of Children.  Billund has an annual Children’s General Assembly and has been designated as a UNICEF Child Friendly City.  I think it’s a great example of a town working to forge its own identity when it could so easily be consumed by an overwhelmingly large and internationally important brand in the area.  By working in partnership with Lego, Billund Council are giving another reason to stay and explore the area while recognising many people will initially be attracted to the area by the theme park.   Stirling is incredibly lucky to have world class heritage attractions, but I think we also have to work hard to show visitors there’s more to our City and our district than monuments and castles.  I hope we can keep in touch and Billund and Stirling can collaborate and learn from each other in the years ahead.

Wallace Monument

My visit to the Wallace Monument marked the first time I’ve climbed the 246 steps to the top in over ten years.  I nearly didn’t set off up the stairs – I do need to lose, ahem, a bit of weight and I was nervous about how difficult I would find the climb.  But I’m glad I did and it reminded me that everything starts with the first step, sometimes metaphorically and sometimes literally.  It is good to get a reminder every now and again and for a while at least I’ll be thinking of how I good I felt making it to the top rather than how apprehensive I was at the bottom.

Stirling Bridge Lights

Congratulations to the Guardians of Scotland Trust for realising an ambition to light up Stirling Bridge.  The bridge lights are a fantastic complement to those that illuminate the Wallace Monument in an array of different colours throughout the year.  Along with looking fantastic, the colours are aligned at different points in the year to mark different occasions and causes.  I recall the monument being lit up during the pandemic in solidarity and celebration of the NHS.  Perhaps the most striking of the colours  on the monument was in support of Stirling’s ‘City of Culture’ Bid last year.  I took this picture from the car park and it reminded me of the logo to the 1980s ‘Future World’ vision for Stirling.


When the plans for Futureworld were unveiled in 1984 they were of a scale rarely seen in Scotland.  I was at primary school at the time but many of the elements were so creative and imaginative that I remember today the excitement I felt about the notion of self-drive cars and technology driven visitor experiences.  The promotional video hosted by Magnus Magnusson is available via the Stirling Smith Youtube channel and it is fascinating to see how the Top Of The Town looked in 1984.  Futureworld was a project of its time, but forty years later I hope we can harness that level of ambition and creative thinking for Stirling’s future.


That’s all this week

That’s it from me this week and I haven’t had space to talk about pedometers for cows – we’ll keep that for next time.