You may have picked up the triumphal announcement by the Scottish Government VisitScotland that they were planning a major concert to mark the start of the Ryder Cup. (We have not missed out an adjunct between Scottish Government and VisitScotland - we accept that some in the tourism business can't tell the difference between the two bodies anymore as they become more homogeneous and referendum focused!)
What may have skipped everyone's attention and indeed ours was that the Scottish Government VisitScotland have allocated up to £1.2 million for aforementioned opening concert for the Ryder Cup!
Yup £1.2 million pounds of public money on a pre-event event that makes the private sector organisers buckets and buckets. Nothing of course to do with the referendum immedaitely before it. Nope that would be cynical and churlish.
The tender document described the goods and services to be provided as thus:
"This is a contract to engage a promoter to devise and deliver a once in a lifetime concert to mark the beginning of the Ryder Cup week, delivered on behalf of the Scottish Government." (sic the tender was issued by VisitScotland - as mentioned one and the same really)What added value? What additional visitor numbers? What direct revenues? What return on investment? What opportunity cost? What an ego trip...
It is intended that the support for this event will be in the range of £800,000 to £1,200,000 depending on the funding requirements tendered for the Services."
The Ryder Cup is a private event (if you ask Scotland's golf tourism operators a VERY private event) with massive profitability from the sale of rights, merchandising, tickets, packages and licencing.
Yet here we have a cash strapped country paying £1.2 million of public funds for a bloody concert. And we just stand around and applaud and say "Well the profile will be good for tourism." Yeah a bit like the £6 mill spent on Brave?
Once the BBC have run out of Rangers stories (accepted that may take a while!) wouldn't it be great if they could just go through the list of tender documents under VisitScotland over the past three years and maybe just ask the occasional pertinent question to those in charge?