Why Fife has a self esteem problem

An artist's impression of the �1.41 million Kirkcaldy Waterfront regeneration plan
An artist's impression of the �1.41 million Kirkcaldy Waterfront regeneration plan

I often wonder why, as Fifers, we are .... well, the way we are.

We seem blessed with an abundance of great things here in the Kingdom, and yet there is such great potential for much more.

We have some of the best scenery in the UK. The area is steeped in history, culture, and more recently our food and drink sector has taken off hugely, thanks to some local restaurantours, craft breweries and distilleries.

Fife draws in more than its fair share of tourists – increasing numbers are now flocking to the Kingdom, and not just to play golf in St Andrews.

And yet, inexplicably, we remain oddly downbeat about our prospects.

It seems so ingrained in us that we are almost incapable to seeing the potential for any sort of improvement on our situation.

Given that we’re often forgotten about by the powers that be, wedged in between two cities and barely thought of as an extension of either, it’s up to us to shout about ourselves, because no one else will.

A recent partnership between Fife and Edinburgh councils was launched to promote the Forth Bridges as tourist attractions, yet it seems that all the investment, planning, and of course benefits will go to the Edinburgh side.

Why? Because they shouted louder and made more of a fuss about themselves. That’s just not something we do very well.

Looking at Kirkcaldy’s Esplanade we could make so much more of it, but any attempt to do so seems to be shot down just by sheer attitude.

The Prom is basically a big grey mass of concrete blocks – brutal minimalism at its worst – but looking out onto the Forth you’ll find a tranquility you never knew was there.

Council plans are under way to reduce it to single carriageway (shock horror), allowing us to make more of the space there. And yes, maybe the plan to just throw in more parking spaces is laughably short-sighted and missing the point, but at the very least it’s a start. We need to give people an excuse to go there, whether we’re talking cafes, retail, monuments, greenery, anything!

There seems to be no drive or aspiration. I think that’s why it was so heartening to see the success of the recent half marathon.

We need to show a little bit of ambition and self-belief, and the half marathon certainly had that.

It showed Kirkcaldy is more than capable of hosting an event that brings people together from far and wide and helps put us on the map.

It was also great to see that the team at the Kings Theatre have opened the Live Lounge bar and cafe this week.

Their drive and optimism to see something grow out of this town that can benefit everyone is to be admired.

Right now, the people of Dundee are up there basking in renewed optimism because they built a museum and put grass down at their waterfront.

Optimism ... Dundee! I know, me neither.

So why can’t we, as Fifers maybe look beyond our situation with a mind to improving it more often?

If you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?