The Scottish city of Stirling is to appoint a resident poet, or makar, it has been reported today. After an absence of 500 years, the bard will write poetry for special occasions and festivities and will "celebrate everyday life".
Now, I don't want to be a killjoy, but it occurs to me there isn't much to rejoice about in yet another frivolous council appointment. The people of Stirling probably do enjoy a good rhyme, but those who are keen on poetry are certainly free to read, write and sing it whenever and however they please.
I am sure the fact their council is already £90 million in debt and still hiring doesn't make them feel like "celebrating life". With Scotland's rich cultural heritage, and great outlets such as the Edinburgh Festival, one has to ask: is there really any need for this appointment?
Schools should be pouring all available funds into improving resources for pupils, not committing themselves to additional costs. Children should be inspired to write poetry by their English teachers, and while the idea of a resident bard may be appealing, this money will be coming straight out of the pockets of ordinary families and is paid for by a council, not a Royal Court.
If you live in Stirling and want to take this matter up with your council leader, email him here