Newly knighted Sir Ian Rankin deserves Edinburgh's Freedom of the City award – Susan Dalgety

Setting aside any quibbles about the archaic nature of the British honours system and its ties to our colonial past, I am delighted that Ian Rankin is now a knight of the realm.

Monday, 6th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Sir Ian Rankin should also be given Edinburgh's freedom of the city award (Picture: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)
Sir Ian Rankin should also be given Edinburgh's freedom of the city award (Picture: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

No-one deserves a knighthood more than him. The Fife-born Edinburgh citizen has done wonders for the city’s profile through his spell-binding crime novels.

But his honour is not just for creating the greatest detective of all time, John Rebus. It’s also for his charity work, which is less well known.

Some years ago, Rankin and his wife Miranda Harvey set up a charitable trust to fund projects at home and abroad. In a good year, he estimates he gives up to 30 per cent of his net income to charity – “because I don’t need it,” he told the Times newspaper.

A modest man, he celebrated news of his knighthood with a visit to his local, the Oxford Bar, and the day before he tweeted a picture of his visit to one of my favourite coffee spots, the Beach House in Portobello.

If anyone could be called a man of the people, it’s Sir Ian Rankin. But as I argued here only a few months ago, there is another honour he should win, and that is Freedom of the City of Edinburgh.

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Our new Lord Provost, Robert Aldridge, has barely had time to try out his chain of office, let alone draft his to-do-list for the next five years, but may I be so bold as to suggest he puts Sir Ian at number one?

After all, if Her Majesty chose to honour the author on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee, then surely her representative in Edinburgh could go one further and make Sir Ian, like Sir Sean before him, a free man of the Capital.

Sean Connery received his honour more than 30 years ago in the Usher Hall, followed by a slap-up dinner at the Balmoral Hotel.

I am not sure the Oxford Bar is big enough to host Sir Ian’s after-party if he gets a similar accolade, but I bet he wouldn’t mind swapping a pint for a glass of champagne on that occasion. It’s over to you Lord Provost.