Tourism Tragedy |Barry|Sue’s View

Flabbergasted or frustrated, I can’t work out which one quite hits the spot as I listen to the ongoing, and quite depressing, debate on the Barry Museum dream.

I have already made my view crystal clear, and should have realised it would be like running in treacle trying to even get the idea off the blocks without, as always, our community, taking the lead.

Just when will some of our unambitious elected politicians actually twig that constantly striving to save cold hard cash can often leave us completely culturally and socially skint.

Catching up on the current state of the play, I am shocked to see that our fair fight to preserve the town’s history and heritage can’t apparently be considered until austerity ends.

Why is that fiscal fact always used as a stick to beat the ambition out of any forward-thinking idea that has a cost clipped on to it.

Yeah, yeah, I do know that this is taxpayers money. I totally get that flashing any council’s cash randomly and recklessly is an absolute no no.

And I am acutely aware that some of our very vital support services, that have seen crucifying cuts, need cash too.

But surely we are missing a trick if we let the austerity threat constantly shut down any sort of social scheme or cultural campaign without a full and fair discussion.

People who pay Council Tax, and I am one myself, may be minded to see a small increase,  for the greater good, to promote social cohesion, or to leave a legacy for the future.

Twenty of the twenty two local authorities in Wales also find the funds for some sort of Museum.

So, call me controversial, but our residents may also have varying views on whether their contributed coin is budgeted that brilliantly anyway.

Has anyone actually asked them?

Well, sort of I suppose. Local, country, and national,  elections are our chance to make a mark on what we think of our present politicians –whatever their colour.

And I have also made my view quite clear on the Vale’s vote in that festive fag-end of the year General Election that finally gave the green light to Get Brexit Done.

I thought that, in the spirit of this newly revived blazingly blue One Nation Conservativism, austerity could be coming to an end – along any more seriously savage cuts, and the shutting down of debate on any new community campaigns.

Switching political sides completely, I was also under the impression there is also a deep desire amongst the politicians running our own country to deliver equality –  economically, socially, environmentally, and culturally.

How does that work then in then austerity argument is still being regurgitated. This well-worn phase just makes us unambitious, and leaves us poor – financially and intellectually.

Credit then to the volunteer-led Barry At War Museum, based in Barry Island railway station, who were right to realise that our town was crying out for some hard history and curated culture. Thank you.

This collection, of course, is in one perfect place. So suggestions that the Barry Museum should have artefacts displayed randomly around the Vale does not give it the credibility or kudos it deserves.

Shoving links on-line is not going to cut the mustard either – no town visitor boost, or sense of civic pride there .

Mind you, I’m all for an clever mix of digital and down Memory Lane artefacts with a few interactive ideas thrown in. Just look what a lovely little Lottery Grant and a large amount of energetic ambition did for Bletchley Park.

To be honest though, be it Museum or Memo, I’ve never really thought that we make the most of the tons of tourism opportunities beautiful Barry has to offer.

Barry island is the jewel in the town’s crown but we are so much more too.

The kept in the dark Docks Office is a treasure, the really great RNLI Exhibition is a hit with the kids, the afore-mentioned Wartime Museum should be marketed much more widely.

And don’t even get me started on the massive fan tourism fail around that Gavin and Stacey Series sensation.

Finally, I may as well kick off about the epic fail of any accommodation on the island while I’m on a roll.

In my view, a hotel, caravan park, or camping site –  all, or any combination of that tourism trio, would brilliantly boost Barry’s appeal.

But, like the Barry Museum, I can’t see that happening any time soon

Abundance of austerity, or absence of ambition?

You decide.

Speak soon.




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Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.

Sue’s Views is the reboot of her much-loved infamous B&D opinion column from back in the day. Recently resurrected in Style Of The City Magazine, it focuses on the hot topics we are all talking about in beautiful Barry, and beyond – the good, the bad, the ugly.

Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.