there is a widespread feeling that these days public honours are bandied about at times almost like confetti.
The recognition of unsung community heroes in the Queen’s Honours list is always warmly welcomed. But the MBEs – and even knighthoods – handed to some sports stars and other celebrities mid-career do not always seem so well earned.
It might seem staid these days to insist on a lifetime’s achievement before elevating someone to special status, but there is a lot to be said for the “old-fashioned” idea of pausing a while before handing out serious accolades.
In this context, the city council’s rules forbidding streets being named after someone until at least ten years after their death seem wise. Decisions swayed by passing fashions and emotions are unlikely to pass the test of time; far better to take sensible steps to avoid them.
The idea of naming a street in the shadow of Easter Road Stadium after legendary Hibs striker Lawrie Reilly is certainly an emotional one. It would mean a great deal to so many in the Capital to see one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes celebrated in this way.
And it would be ridiculous to suggest that ten years from now anyone would think any differently. If you asked the quesion ten years ago “does Lawrie Reilly deserve such an honour?” then the answer – even in Gorgie – would be a resounding yes.
With some of the final forseeable building work soon to be completed in the area, this is an opportunity that can’t wait another ten years.
The best rules wisely applied allow room for exceptions. There have been suggestions in recent weeks that Nelson Mandela should be one, so that Festival Square can be renamed in his honour.
Creating Lawrie Reilly Street in his home city would perhaps prove even more popular. It is time to honour an Edinburgh legend.