Eurovision: Edinburgh's farcical bid to stage 2023 event highlights need for major venue in Capital – John McLellan

Thanks to the Local Democracy Reporter service, the paucity of Edinburgh’s bid to host the Eurovision final has been revealed.

Edinburgh had no chance to stand in for Ukraine, following the Kalush Orchestra's victory last year, as Eurovision host (Picture: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)
Edinburgh had no chance to stand in for Ukraine, following the Kalush Orchestra's victory last year, as Eurovision host (Picture: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s taken a freedom of information request to wrest the information from the authority, and now we know someone thought a depressing Royal Highland Showground hangar could demonstrate how the city could put on a major international event, and the council could risk taking on a £17.6m guarantee despite facing a £76m deficit. “It’s near to a tram stop… and there’s a bus service from the airport,” said council leader Cammy Day, which is true if you don’t mind trudging a mile down a road with no pavement.

The only plausible explanation is it was a half-hearted attempt no-one seriously expected to win, or perhaps someone had been watching too many Mel Brooks movies and this was some sort of “Springtime for Hitler” ruse with a clever scam behind it.

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But why did it take a sham bid and a lame cover-up attempt to reach the point where there might be a look at how Edinburgh can get the kind of venue every other European capital takes for granted, and for which this paper has argued for 25 years. Had the authority simply held up its hands and admitted it had no chance, the debate would have re-started six months ago.

“Should we always have to travel to Glasgow or to Manchester and Newcastle for events?” asked Councillor Day. If cavernous cattle sheds are all we can offer, then yes.