What’s in a name? Quite a lot when it comes to city status apparently.
It was five years ago tomorrow that the town of Perth became the city of Perth.
It had always rankled with the people of the Fair City that city status had been arbitrarily withdrawn during the local authority reorganisation in 1975.
Securing city status – or “restoring” the title as many would have it – became a cause to be fought for.
Leading from the front was the then provost of Perth and Kinross Council, John Hulbert.
As MP Pete Wishart acknowledges in the foreword to Dr Hulbert’s book on his quest, he put the case with “quiet determination, convincing persuasiveness, but most of all with his conviction of the ‘right’ of Perth to join the elite community of Scotland’s cities”.
As the dust settles on the victorious campaign, enough time has passed to examine what it has meant beyond the change of name.
On one level it is simply an intangible sense of pride and recognition that Perth is a city among equals.
On a practical level it opened the doors to funding that might not otherwise have been there and Perth’s role in the Scottish Cities Alliance has given the city a platform to promote all that it has to offer.
Apart from pride there is a real feeling locally that there has been a turning of the corner and that Perth is bound for greater glories, evidenced by the many infrastructure projects in the pipeline or already under way.
Perhaps the greatest endorsement of Perth’s true worthiness as a city is within her grasp – if the bookies are to be believed Perth is the front runner in the City of Culture 2021 contest – and success for the bid would be the crowning glory of the journey which began five years ago.