For two entirely unconnected reasons, last week the Royal Mile was in the news across the UK and beyond.
For legal reasons, I can’t comment on the siege at the Royal Mile Pharmacy, a place I know well, except to say that I am so very pleased that none of the attentive staff were hurt.
The Canons’ Gait public house is another establishment I have been known to frequent, especially if I can’t be bothered walking up the Mile to the Jinglin’ Geordie.
It is a cracking bar that sells good booze and decent food, and in all my time there I have never seen a hint of trouble, except when a few potty-mouthed supporters of a certain lower division football club from Glasgow gathered outside and challenged some bystanders to a fight – though not in such polite terms. Lothian and Borders’ finest promptly pounced from a nearby close where they had been waiting, and you never saw so many miscreants evacuate their bowels so quickly.
Imagine my surprise, then, when the Canons’ Gait was featured in television news broadcasts and newspaper accounts of the “visit” of Nigel Farage, the United Kingdom Independence Party leader.
Poor wee Nigel’s Man of the People act disappeared quicker than a Liberal Democrat’s majority at the next election after some young students took exception to his presence in Edinburgh.
Again for legal reasons I cannot comment on the incident itself, because two people have been charged with criminal offences and some of us still believe in the old truth that people deserve to be tried free of press interference.
What happened afterwards was laughable. Farage tried to make out that his heckling was racist in nature, and he overtly attacked Scottish Nationalists – of which, as I always remind you, I am one – for being anti-English.
Clearly Mr Farage is possessed of superhuman powers and used his X-ray vision to spy the SNP membership cards in the pockets of the demonstrators.
When it was revealed that the would-be Clark Kent of British politics had got it wrong – one of the leaders of the demo was an Englishman and president of Edinburgh University Socialist Society – did we hear any apology from Farage?
No, because he had yet again shown what a creep he is, all glib bluster and no substance. His party rightly has no place in Scottish politics because of its disgusting policies on immigration, its attacks on comprehensive education, and its proposals to cut public spending by tens of billions, among other daft ideas.
He is also pig ignorant about Scotland and Edinburgh – has he never heard of the Edinburgh Mob, that instant popular uprising which has so often determined the history of this city? Farage was lucky – in 1736 the Mob lynched Captain Porteous.
He should have stayed away, for Farage’s presence in Edinburgh helped to very neatly divert attention from a real question that the Better Together campaign is struggling to answer.
David Cameron and Farage have now both promised an “in-out” referendum on UK membership of the European Union. Could someone on the pro-Union side therefore please explain why they want to stay in a Britain that may well be out of Europe, something no sensible Scot can countenance?
And if I may adopt some Unionist heckling of Alex Salmond from a while back – name the date, Mr Cameron, and state the question now.
Day of shame
Shame on those employers who did not mark Victoria Day yesterday. It’s Edinburgh’s own
special holiday and should always be celebrated.
Looking good for the Hibees
The story in yesterday’s News that Hibs have already planned their victory parade should they win the Scottish Cup has provoked derision in certain parts of the city.
Those of a maroon tendency have been heard to mutter words like “chickens hatching” and “that’s one bus that won’t leave the garage”, and those were the most printable comments.
Hibs have no chance, they say, but can I be the first to point out an interesting fact?
The last time that Hibs won the cup was in 1902, and the team they beat was Celtic, while the cup winners the previous year were none other than Hearts. It’s the same this year. Lucky coincidence?
Farewell to the best type of Conservative
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I knew many decent Conservative politicians, and sadly we have lost one recently. I just want to add my tuppenceworth of tribute to former councillor Ian Berry, a decent man who served his constituents faithfully for 30 years.
Due to our shared love of horse racing, I got to know him well, and he was the best type of Tory – he could talk to the common man and to lords and ladies alike, and he cared for people no matter their politics.
This doughty fighter for Portobello will be sadly missed.
Dambusters hit by DJ blunder
Just a small anecdote from the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Dambusters’ raid, the audacity of which still amazes after all these years.
Apparently some DJ played the Dambusters March from the film “in tribute to 633 Squadron” – a good movie, but not a patch on the real Dambusters’ 617 Squadron.