"FAIR exchange is no robbery.''
The above is a wise Scottish saying we stole from the internet. And it perfectly sums up the plan to move the Wingham Scottish Festival games day to Taree. This was outlined in the Times last Friday (Bonnie Taree Scottish Festival?)
Warwick Murray, described in the article as a 'long standing member of the Bonnie Wingham Scottish Festival organising committee,' is behind the idea. He believes Taree Park would be the perfect venue for the games day, as it is now fenced, so punters would have to pay to get in. This is a very Scottish notion and a sensible one as well.
It's no secret that this column has been lobbying for years to have the Scottish Festival switched to Taree. Our Scottish blood boiled when it was it was announced that Wingham would be the Scottish Festival epicentre. Why, the above mentioned Warwick Murray and this correspondent were involved in a very public spat in these pages over the issue, Wok even offering us a place in the festival heirarchy to placate us.
It didn't work. We have maintained the rage until this day.
We've said all along that the Scottish Festival could be the perfect replacement for the Aquatic Festival. Taree needs a festival of such magnitude.
However, please don't think that this is an anti-Wingham rant. We have nothing but good things to say about the Capital of the Upper Manning. In fact these days if we want to belittle a neighbouring shanty town we look a little to the south. It's a much better target.
Now as we understand this, under the Murray Plan, the games day would be held at Taree Park on account of the place now being fenced, but all the big ticket items, such as the Scottish Ball, would stay in Wingham. Not good enough Warwick. We're calling for a total relocation of the festival to Taree. A Taree takeover if you will.
Again, according to Friday's Times, Warwick has discussed the idea with 'one or two key members of the organising committee.' We are unsure as to who will make the final call.
Well bugger that Warwick, we scream. If you don't get the green light, let's go Super League on them. Let's form a breakaway Scottish Festival Committee. Dammit, if Wingham can organise a Scottish Festival, we know Taree can.
We'll have no trouble forming a high-profile group to run the show. The mayor's family comes from Ireland and that's just across the way from Scotland, so he'll be on board. Not only is this writer's surname McDonald, but we were once married to a lass from Clan Murray (no relation to Warwick, we hasten to add), further enhancing our Scottish roots. Editor Bell is usually awash with Scotch whisky by 11am most days, so she'll want to be involved, although there could be a clash of interests as she hails from Dead Dog Gully, a Wingham suburb. We're sure we'll be able to get a couple of publicans on side and we're equally as sure there must be some Campbells around here who will want to be involved.
No, this is a winner. We envisage a parade starting at the aptly named Edinburgh Drive and heading to Taree Park to kick the show off. After the Scottish Games are finished we'll have a concert in the park to get the kids involved while the rest of us will don our kilts and head to the Scottish Ball at a venue to be confirmed.
So there's no time to lose Warwick. It may be painful, but ties must be cut with Wingham as we look to a glorious future.
"Whisky may not cure the common cold... but it fails more agreeably than most other things.''
That's also a wise Scottish saying. It has nothing to do with today's column, but we thought it as good a way as any to finish off.