‘Why should we listen to the Tories?’

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The Conservatives have unveiled their manifesto for the forthcoming local authority elections. But just why should we listen to them?

This might be the first question many residents will ask when confronted with a Tory candidate on their doorstep ahead of the May vote.

This is the party, after all, which has all but written the textbook on how to destroy your core political support.

But it is time to move on.

The local council elections are operated under the single transferable vote, which means a coalition is a certainty and almost all parties will find some level of representation at the City Chambers. It also means that ideas from all quarters – including the Tories – can be put into action.

The Conservative call for strong leadership is an important one and should be welcomed.

Edinburgh has weathered the economic storm better than many had predicted. But tough challenges lie ahead, challenges that will require councillors to work together for the good of the city.

When placed under pressure during the trams fiasco, this didn’t happen. Too often, politics was put ahead of the people.

The Conservative focus on education is also worthy of consideration. The Lothians has some of the best schools in the country – and some of the worst. Tackling this must be a priority for the incoming administration.

With an ever-tightening budget councils must look at new and innovative ways of attracting support for our most needy schools. The Tory call to involve parents and businesses must be considered, with the necessary safeguards put in place.

A strong Edinburgh requires ideas from across the political spectrum. There is no monopoly on wisdom.

Hail Haile

Haile Gebreselassie is the exception which proves the rule that you should never meet your heroes.

It may only have been a roundabout cyberspace encounter but the fact that the great man would take time out to support the endeavours of Sam Gough as he trains for the London Marathon is a wonderful story and only reinforces his position as an inspirational figure.

Now all we need is Jennifer Aniston to join in and we have the makings of a Hollywood hit.