Argyll and Bute’s MP and MSP have both given their support to the ‘Stand Up for Bute’ petition, joining more than 1,750 islanders in signing it.
As previously reported in the Buteman, Argyll and Bute Council’s decision to recently drop the name Bute from marketing and publicity materials left the local community fearing that Bute’s identity was under attack. The strap line ‘Choose Argyll, Love Argyll’ used in email correspondence, replaced ‘Argyll and Bute: Realising our potential together’. The concern has been raised that Argyll and Bute Council’s promotion of the area is focussed only on Argyll at the expense of Bute. However, the council has now promised a Bute strapline.
Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell (SNP) commented: “I am disappointed that actions of Argyll and Bute Council required the local SNP branch and the Bute Community Council to raise a petition to engage on this matter or that the Provost of Argyll and Bute, who is after all a Bute councillor, was unable to respond to the concerns of the community.”
Local MP Brendan O’Hara (SNP) added: “I congratulate the community of Bute for what they have done in raising awareness of this issue.
“We are Argyll and Bute and I think it’s important we all remember that.
“It is absolutely right that Bute, with its own unique culture, identity and place in Scottish history, is fully recognised and that it isn’t airbrushed out of the council’s publicity material, whether to secure a snappy advertising slogan or any other reason.”
Joint organisers of the petition, Isobel Strong and Marlene Hill, thanked the local community for supporting the petition and vowed not to end the challenge until Argyll and Bute Council respond to the wishes of the community of Bute.
Local Councillor Jim Findlay (SNP) criticised the “new communication policy”. He said: “In today’s competitive environment for investment and tourism, Bute cannot afford to be diminished by this new communication policy. A policy and associated expense that has not been passed through any committee of councillors for approval.”
Argyll and Bute Council denied there is any such policy.
An Argyll and Bute spokesperson added: “We have had constructive discussions with all three local Bute elected members, to listen to the concerns expressed by the residents on Bute, and have discussed evolving a family of brands under the over-arching campaign www.abplace2b.scot and #abplace2b.
“Being part of #abplace2b will make it easier for Bute to raise its profile by promoting its businesses, successes and attractions by using the strapline ‘Choose Bute Love Bute’ in the same way as ‘Choose Argyll Love Argyll’ will promote that part of the council area.”