Susan Morrison: Donald’s playground would trump city centre shambles

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Good news for the hard-pressed businesses of what used to be known as Edinburgh city centre – the council is to put oodles of dosh into a scheme to remind people that there are, in fact, shops behind the scaffolding.

Only last Tuesday I got a terrible fright. I thought someone had made off with Primark. Who would know? You can’t see it. Now that, my friends, would be shoplifting.

Money galore – ours, I assume – is going into a marketing campaign, so that people stop seeing Princes Street as some sort of First World War re-enactment site and can get retail therapy without having to leap trenches or rescue people caught on huge steel fences.

£2.2 million is about to be splurged to entice the tourists and give the old gal a wash, brush up and a bit of Botox, just as soon as those fabby trams start moving.

Ah, the disappointment of that last sentence. The trams. Moving.

It seems Essential Edinburgh spotted the lack of shoppers and tourists in the city centre. Well, actually they are there, but they are all going to the bus station to go to a place where they can shop, such as – whisper it – Glasgow.

So, Essential Edinburgh, being marketing and trendy and all, had a consultation, which I imagine was on the same level as me claiming I once directed Oliver Reed. I did, as it happens. In my young day I was a cinema manager in the old ABC in Lothian Road. One day we had a special showing for the press, Oliver Reed turned up, asked me the way to the toilet, I said second on the left. Voila! I am a director.

Essential Edinburgh had a consultation, probably by asking each other in the office what the problem was, and suddenly it has £2.2m to fix 
Edinburgh.

I admire the optimism on two counts. To begin with, who knows if those trams wheels will ever be 
rolling?

See that statue up on North Bridge of the soldiers looking anxiously towards Leith? I propose renaming it Waiting For The Tram.

And secondly, a mere £2.2m? So far, it’s cost nearly a billion pounds to wreck one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Seriously, if we’d just sold the whole dang thing to Donald Trump and said, “there you go, mate, turn the place into Brigadoonworld”, we couldn’t have done worse.

In the market for bare essential assistance

ESSENTIAL Edinburgh is riding to the rescue so we can stop worrying. Marketing Edinburgh say that this is a good thing so, again, a relief.

What exactly is the difference between Marketing Edinburgh and Essential Edinburgh? Does Marketing Edinburgh market bits of Edinburgh that aren’t Essential? Which bits are those then?

Great Junction Street does look a bit ropey, I’ll give you that, but it’s fairly essential, if only to link the bookies shops, and it needs some marketing. But, let’s be honest, just what tourist demographic are you aiming at for that market? Those adrenaline junkies who think that bungee jumping into a volcano is a bit of a hoot?

Court in the act

SPEAKING of Primark, during my recent foray into the legal system where I had to spend an interesting morning once again hanging about the sheriff court to do my citizen’s duty as a witness, I overheard a loud, chain-smoking young lady at the front door telling her adoring beau that she was being arraigned for, she claimed, helping herself to goods worth some £3500 from Primark, which is quite clearly fantasy of the first order. You can’t even see goods to the value of £3500.

No-one’s sweet on dirty habits

MARKETING, though. I do know about that. I used to work in marketing. I had an iron rule. Never, I told myself, look out of the window in the morning. Otherwise what would I do in the afternoon?

It was the days of the hyphenated surname, shoulder pads and a lot of girls called Jacinta.

Of course, I don’t work in marketing now. They sussed me out pretty sharpish when I was caught using an elastic band to hold an old notebook together and realised I didn’t actually own a Filofax. Wasn’t even my notebook. Or elastic band.

I do believe I was, and still am, a pleb, but I can pass for polite if I have to. For example, I have learned not to lick the teaspoon before shoving it back in the sugar bowl. This, I discovered, is not how things are done in civilised society. Neither, come

to that, is the plebeian habit of wiping one’s nose on one’s sleeve. Or, indeed, the curtains of one’s hostess.

Gee whiz, I could make the grade as a Tory, except I was taught as a working-class oik that the police, if they were doing their duty, should be politely deferred to.