Comment :The wrong target.

Unite the Community Tayside plan on protesting the opening of the V and A Museum in Dundee on the 15th September.

The group argue that:

“Economics based on bars, restaurants, cafés, museums and visitor attractions are firmly based on low wages in Dundee and across the globe.

“It is not anticipated that wages and secure employment would suddenly be booming and this directly attacks the SNP council’s arguments for this form of economy.

I totally agree with their sentiment. Poverty, unemployment, drug and alcohol misuse, poor health outcomes, mental health and the rise in food banks blight the City of Dundee, as they do far too many cities across Scotland, but the V and A weekend shouldn’t be the target.

The V and A is not the answer to Dundee’s problems, most Dundonians know that and understand there is no magic wand here. But the V and A being in Dundee will bring some light into a City that has been shrouded in darkness for too long. I hope the museum is embraced by the folk of Dundee but it’s not really for us is it. It’s for the people from all over the world who may come and see it.

Will people get jobs if there is a tourist boom, yes they will. Will these be high paid, secure, career advancing jobs, no they won’t be. I would also bet that there are very few Dundonians in the leadership positions in the museum, if any at all, but I could be wrong.

The simple reality is manufacturing jobs are not returning to Dundee, or anywhere else in Scotland, in large numbers again. Those days are gone and they are not coming back. Does that leave a generation behind in Dundee, yes sadly it does. The simple fact is the many issues that Dundee face all add to things like low attainment and I suppose low aspiration in too many.

We should be fighting poverty, ill health, drug mis use, unemployment etc. But the protests should be aimed at those who helped cause these issues. Dundee has been failed for too long by Labour, Tory and Liberal governments and councils.

Dundee has been let down by an economic model that allows the wealthiest to avoid paying their taxes while supporting low poverty wages within a U.K. where no one wants to pay more tax for better outcomes. Greed is good, nothing has changed since my early teen years and Thatcher.

Dundee has its problems, the same problems it’s had for 30 years, if not longer. The V and A did not cause these problems and will not solve them. Some argue the money could be better spent, yes it could but it wouldn’t have been spent in Dundee it would have went somewhere else. The redevelopment of Dundee waterfront was long overdue and something both the SNP local Council and Scottish Government should be congratulated for.

I miss the old Olympia but not the old Tayside House. The V and A building looks amazing and I enjoy looking at it. I hope it’s filled with people from Dundee but it probably won’t and it won’t be free all the time but it’s better than not having it at all.

We should protest the injustices in Scotland, the disgusting levels of poverty, drug and alcohol mis use, food banks being a growth industry as I said but there are no easy fixes. We can start by being engaged, by voting, by campaigning, even by blogging. We can vent our anger where it deserves to be, at the politicians who let us down at every turn, mainly unionist. We can vent our anger at the media who don’t challenge and provide no balance. We can chose to not spend our money in the places that don’t pay tax.

Protesting the V and A will just leave a bad taste in the mouths of Dundonians who have had enough of that for too long. The weekend the museum opens should just be left alone, let the City have its day, I won’t be there as most people won’t. But I won’t begrudge it’s chance at success or the city to have the spotlight on it, even for one weekend.



  1. Ricky

    Can’t argue with your viewpoint on this , you’ve got it right . Just wondering does Dundee attract a large consistent number of tourists , no just from around Scotland but from Europe and further afield , to sustain an attraction like the V and A ?

    • grumpyscottishman

      I think people will come and see the museum and hopefully enjoy the City. A lot more will need to be done that’s for sure, the City Centre looks tired and old, run down and that is not a great look but it’s a start. I agree with the sentiment of the protest but not the target, i wouldnlet the City have it’s opening weekend. The protests are for later and targeted somewhere else, they could actually do more harm than good on this occasion.

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. trispw

    It seems to me that in the UK (and it is the UK that sets minimum wages) most jobs are low paid.

    We might aspire to a Nordic model which pays good wages to people who work in catering, tourism, retail and other service industries, but of course, within Britain, we never shall.

    The die is cast.

    We won’t change unless we leave Britain behind and strike out in a Nordic direction.

    As for protesting on this particular weekend?

    What the hell for? Some would say better low paid jobs (as that’s all there is in the UK) than no jobs at all, and the constant harassment of Esther McVey’s evil regime.

    Way to go, to spoil the opening of the museum when eyes from around the world will be on Dundee.

    Go to Westminster and protest there for a change in the ridiculous so-called living way, that you couldn’t live on.


    • grumpyscottishman

      I don’t agree with the protest on that day but totally agree with the sentiment they are raising. The issue for myself is that it might alienate the very people they are trying to reach out to in many ways. Everyone I have spoken to understand that the V and A is not going to solve Dundee’s problems, many I have spoken to are not all that much interested in it but they understand why the City pursued the idea, anything that improves Dundee to some degree and raises its profile won’t hurt it. It will become a thing for the board members and the middle classes of the city as Neil implies, they will feel important and now have the V and A and the DCA to prance about in. Fine with me. What I will be looking for is to see any additional money raised to be invested in our community and at the very least living wage employment, if it fails on that front then the politicians will answer for that at the ballot box. You are also correct that the U.K. is a sweat shop low wage low skilled economy now, all the more reason to get out.

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Neil Anderson

    Trispw. The people taking this action are not idiots and you have no right to call them as such.

    The v&a is a “British” institution; have you suddenly converted to waving the flag for this kind of abhorrence? The v&a in Dundee cost £80 million pounds to create. Just reflect on that.
    The quote “and it won’t be free all the time” is key; no Bruce, it won’t be filled with the good people of Dundee all the time. The fact that it will be charging for admission to “some exhibitions” tells the whole story. Note this as a trend which will become more and more common in the coming years. The v&a Dundee is “one of the first” to start charging admission. There’ll be more, have no doubt.
    You’re right to say, Bruce, that Dundonians will not occupy the higher paid posts in this new folly. Indeed, I’d be prepared to bet my hard earned next months wages that you’ll hardly hear a Scottish accent at forthcoming board and executive meetings.
    The v&a Dundee is only the latest example of the gentrification of Scotland’s major conurbations. For “gentrification” read “acquisition”.
    The colonisers have already stolen our peerless rural areas, they’re coming for our cities next.
    When all you build are museums, hotels and restaurants, clubs and bars, the writing is very much on the wall. There’s no need for 5 million cleaners, cooks and security guards; think about that for a minute. And I mean actually think.
    There’s more I could write about this sorry affair (and I’m talking about Scotland’s future if we don’t all wake up) but I’ll leave it at that.
    But, please, don’t call people with a legitimate cause for concern, about all of our futures, idiots.

    • grumpyscottishman

      In defence of Tris, I don’t suspect for one second that he would ever by happy with Scotland remaining in the U.K. of that I have no doubt.

      The V and A for me does add something to the City and without it the badly needed waterfront redevelopment would never have went ahead. Is it the gentrification of Dundee, and Scotland, yes to a degree it probably is. Does it make Dundee more British no I don’t think it does, those days are gone. I also agree that you will be lucky to hear a lot of Dundonese when it opens within what will be it’s leadership team, a former colleague raised that issue several years ago and while it was the right question to ask he was warned about it. That said more about managers than it did my former team mate but he wasn’t wrong.

      Neil I do think about Dundee a lot, I work with some it’s most marginalised and disillusioned young adults. I have more aspiration for the city than low paid low skilled employment but those jobs are pretty much what there is sadly in far too many cities across Scotland. What then V and A might do is raise awareness of the City and encourage better jobs to come here. If it does they won’t go to the people I work with I know that but it might create more spending in our communities to allow people to find hope, aim for something different than sanctions and poverty. I’m not saying it will but nothing else has worked so we have to keep trying.

      The marchers are wrong to use that opening weekend though. I spoke to enough people to see that many just want the city to have its weekend in the spotlight. They know what the V and A stands for, they are not stupid people, but many just want a little light for one weekend, one day and then back to reality. I won’t begrudge them that in a City where life is hard. The V and A if it doesn’t reach out to all the city will have to answer for that and while in all for protest the target isn’t a building for me the target are the people who caused the problems in the first place. They are the ones we should protest.

      Thank you for commenting.

  4. Gordie

    I used to play football regularly in Dundee in the 80s and early 90s. I then spent time visiting my mate (a fellow Aberfeldy man)in Dundee who is still a fireman in the city today. He has three absolutely outstanding Dundee lassie’s with a tremendous Dundee woman who works as a local primary school headteacher. I hadn’t been to the town for at least a decade when i returned for the march the other Saturday. I spent the night after bevvying with my pals then spent the next afternoon wandering round the town. Dundee and its people are right in my heart (by way of explaining where I am coming from) and It is a city that is giving me every impression of being on the up and having been on the up pretty much for the past decade or so. I wouldn’t knock tourist money either. Yes tourist money was frowned on in the past and traditionally not the best paid but tourism is a booming industry in Scotland and there are now real careers to be had in that industry. There are also new industries now on the go that Dundee is well placed to take advantage of and Dundee people are in place to get involved in that.

    When I visited for the march I felt quite emotional when I saw how well the town looked. Perhaps that is superficial and sentimental but it was exactly how i felt when I came up escalator at the train station, met my mate and one of his daughters and stepped out of the train station. I was happy for the city and the people. That was my feeling.

    The human history in the town, population growth, living and working conditions has made Dundee its own place and given its people an identity that to my mind is to be admired and It’s a town with plenty to build on. Investment is the key. We suffer from not having enough of it so when some mystery investment comes along we complain that it is not the right kind or in the wrong place,We should be demanding more of it and demanding public access to it. Dundee and Scotland would thrive and it would happen quickly.
    (no sure what happened as I tried to post this earlier. Apologies if I have repeated myself)

  5. grumpyscottishman

    I have had a love and dislike relationship with Dundee. It’s my home and I don’t ever want to live anywhere else having bad the good fortune to live abroad I saw that Dundee is no better or worse than anywhere else.

    I think the City paid a heavy price for years of Labour Councils who did nothing for the City accept make bad decisions after bad decisions. The City is changing and growing into new industry etc but while I understand the reasons why it will leave others behind so we have to ensure that any growth does not leave those in need even further behind.

    The protest I’m not for, not this time. It leaves a little bit of a bad taste for me. The V and A doesn’t mean all that much to me if I’m being honest, it just doesn’t. But I don’t have a problem with it and I love the design, I find it fascinating when I see it. The City will go on, it always does. Maybe not the most popular city in Scotland in any shape or form but it’s a place where what you see is what you get. We have avoided a lot of the nonsense that other cities have with gangs and religion. We’re a resilient bunch and we won’t bow down to anyone. I’m glad you have a found experience of the City, it’s as good as anywhere else.

    Thanks for commenting.

  6. hettyforindy

    As you say the problems of Dundee wpuld not be solved by not having the new V&A there.

    I don’t recall any protests in Newcastle when the Baltic was ened or the Sage was built, or the Tate in Liverpool.
    Why? Because people welcomed these new attractions, for their cities and because they knew it would brung in money and put them on the map.

    Who are these protesters? Is it a case of SNP bad again, or the Scottsh cringe, Scotland’s s***e from Britnats?

    It seems a convenient way to highlight how Dundee is not prosperous, and to blame the SNP. As you point out though, 300+ years of the so called union, and decades of Labour, Tory and Libdem rule, has kept Scotland poor. Dundee was very industrial, where did the money go, London.

    We can bet the media will focus on the negative and so these protesters will get lots of attention. It’s going to take a lot longer than 10 years of a government actually working for Scotland, after so many long long years of unionist damage, left to fix. That goes for much of Scotland.

    The new V&A at least puts Dundee on the map, because the Britnats would rub Scotland off the map if they could.

    • grumpyscottishman


      Don’t worry about typos, I use my phone a lot to blog and make lots of them. I think the protests are from the unions and others I suppose. I don’t mind people protesting and I agree with the issues on why they want to, I just don’t think that is the weekend to do it. It will cause a lot of resentment which will just make it more difficult for their cause in the long run, let the city have it’s weekend, lets worry about the crap stuff we face every day after the opening.

      Thanks for commenting.

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