Martin Hannan: Festival should be a logo zone

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No doubt you have already had a good laugh at the attempts by Marketing Edinburgh and The Leith Agency to create snappy new slogans to promote the city. I thought “incredinburgh” was a joke, but apparently it was for real. As for “wellfedinedinburgh” the only thing you can say is that it’s better than “you’ll have had your tea?”.

The trouble for the marketing gurus is that they are never going to beat “Glasgow’s Miles Better” which has been the benchmark for Scottish city promotion campaigns since it emerged in the early 1980s.

Now I have considerable sympathy for The Leith Agency and Marketing Edinburgh. A long time ago in a different life I was involved in a group that tried to think up a new friendly image for Edinburgh District Council to replace the Improving Services Creating Jobs campaign that the Labour Party brought in when they took control of the city in 1984.

We alighted on the image of Greyfriars Bobby as emblematic of the best qualities of the people of Edinburgh – friendly, selfless and loyal. One senior Labour politician looked at our dog and said “improving services, creating jobbies” and that was the end of that idea.

There have been several attempts to create new images and campaigns to promote Edinburgh, possibly the best of them being the “inspiring capital” branding exercise, but none has beaten “Glasgow’s Miles Better” for the simple reason that no campaign about this city has ever used the best symbol of Edinburgh – the Festival.

All the marketing and design experts cannot get away from the truth that there is only one activity, one attribute, that most people around the world associate with the capital city of Scotland, and that is the Festival. The problem with using the Festival, we have always been told, is that it only happens in August. But why not turn the logic around and say something like “It’s always a Festival in Edinburgh” with various sub-headings to promote our year-round theatres, pubs, shops and other 
attractions?

Sometimes in marketing, you just have to do the bleedin’ obvious and stop trying to be smart. Edinburgh does need promotion in an increasingly competitive tourism market, so why not use the most recognised thing about the city to promote it?

Personally, I loathe him

Following the “lamontable” nonsense spouted by Labour’s Scottish leader Johann Lamont about universal benefits, now we have more quite disgraceful claptrap from the Liberal Democrats’ Scottish leader, Willie Rennie.

You’ll recall that Lamont got personal about the wealth of Nicola Sturgeon and her husband Peter Murrell during her frankly pathetic performance on the issue in the Holyrood 
parliament. Now Rennie has gotten all personal in attacking the choice of independence supporter Martin Compston to be one of the faces of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Here’s what Rennie said in a tabloid newspaper: “It’s ill-advised for organisers to secure his services when he has declared support for the SNP’s independence policy. I urge them to rethink their decision.”

The implication of that remark is staggering. What Rennie is suggesting is that anyone who supports independence should not be taking a part in public life.

Let’s reverse his policy: Maitland Mackie – yet another failed Lib Dem candidate – and Boyd Tunnock have both declared themselves as anti-independence and pro-Union, so does that mean anyone who disagrees with them should boycott Mackie’s ice cream and Tunnock’s caramel wafers? Of course not, because unlike Rennie, most people can differentiate between an individual’s political views and their jobs.

What a crazy world we live in when a young man who is lending his celebrity to the cause of the Commonwealth Games should be “disappeared” because he supports the policy of his country’s government.

Rennie is supposed to be a Liberal and a Democrat, not some Stalinist purger of people who disagree with him, and again a party leader has allowed hatred of the SNP to colour his odious remarks.

Add this to the continuing personal attacks on Alex Salmond by the other parties and their lackeys in the press and the tactics of the Unionists in the run-up to the referendum are quite clear. Adding to their entirely negative arguments, they are going to resort to nasty personal smears.

This is known as ad hominem arguments, and any scholar will tell you that once someone resorts to 
those sort of tactics, their defeat is inevitable.

Fortunately I am not a spokesman for my party, the SNP, on anything, so I can weigh in with some invective of my own. Willie Rennie comes across as having less charm than a snake oil salesman and no amount of make-
overs could stop him appearing as anything other than a rude ranting nonentity, the leader of a party doomed to extinction because it put the Tories into power in Westminster.

I’ll happily stop slagging them when Lamont, Rennie and crew decide to debate issues and not personalities. But like Lamont, right now I don’t want Rennie going anywhere, because as long as his nasty and brutish utterings are associated with the the defence of Union, the better it will be for the cause of independence.