The Scottish Cup final will be one of the biggest days for Edinburgh in years. Not only are around 50,000 supporters heading through to Glasgow to support their team, but tens of thousands more will be heading to pubs and clubs to watch the match on television. Add in the Champions League final in the evening and you do have a “Super Saturday” of sport.
With Edinburgh potentially losing out on spending as supporters go west to Hampden it is natural that pubs would seek to extend their opening hours.
Licensing chiefs, however, have refused 21 applications for drinking hour extensions across the Capital following “strong” opposition from police in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
While a blanket ban seems draconian – especially on a historic day for Edinburgh football – the police are in the best position to judge whether extending opening hours will enhance or detract from the occasion. We should trust them on this.
The majority of pubs will still be able to open for 14 hours on the day, while off-licences will be able to supply alcohol at the usual times.
Many of the pubs hoped to open early on the Saturday but is this really what we need? Fans will able to drink from lunchtime. That seems perfectly reasonable.
Sending alcohol-fuelled fans through to Glasgow on buses and trains after drinking from 9am is in no-one’s interest: not the clubs, the police, the health service, the SFA or the sponsors. And certainly not the general public and the city of Edinburgh.
There might be lost revenue for hard-pressed publicans but what about the clean-up cost if things get out of hand?
The licensing decision is hardly prohibition. It is a sensible response. We all want Saturday, May 19 to be remembered for the right reasons.
Hire and higher
the private hire car driver who has clocked up an incredible 30 tickets in two weeks is in for a nasty shock.
He obviously likes to get about quickly – but if he doesn’t pay up fast he will end up with a bill for £1800. And if he carries on like that he will end up shelling out £45,000-a-year to use the bus lanes as his own private road.
Most law-abiding drivers who take care to follow the basic rules of the road will have no sympathy. In fact, they will be pleased to see persistent queue-jumpers being punished.
It remains to be seen, though, whether the system will be flexible enough to treat fairly those drivers who have simply taken a wrong turn or had to manoeuvre into a bus lane to avoid an obstacle in the road.