it is hard to take anything in the Edinburgh-baiting article in the latest Oldie magazine too seriously. It’s all good knockabout fun. The Royal Mile full of tartan tat? The tram project a shambles? Fred the Shred wrecking the UK economy? Tell us one we haven’t heard before.
Of course, author Toby Sculthorp was being tongue-in-cheek and looking for a reaction.
And we shouldn’t put too much stall by the words of a man who thinks Edinburgh is built from granite, but some of his barbs will strike a chord with a lot of people.
It is interesting to stop and reflect for a moment on the ones that do – if only for a chance to “see oursels as ithers see us”.
If truth be told, we are a sitting duck for this kind of treatment. The city really has left itself open to ridicule after some of the developments of recent years.
The trams debacle and near collapse of RBS and HBOS have done untold damage to our reputation across the UK and abroad. We are now slowly rebuilding our good name.
While he might lay it on with a trowel, Mr Sculthorp does have a point about the Royal Mile, too.
There is a place for “tartan tat” there, but most visitors would agree that it is now in danger of overwhelming the street, and that cheapens the Capital in tourists’ eyes.
Edinburgh is an expensive destination for many visitors. In tourism terms, we trade on our history, heritage and authenticity. Yet one of the lasting impressions many will leave with is endless rows of “Jimmy” hats and Nessie toys.
We should perhaps be grateful that the correspondent from The Oldie didn’t even get started on the potholes and litter.
It would be wrong, though, to dwell on these negatives. There is far more to be proud and excited about in Edinburgh, from its historic beauty and festivals to cutting-edge science and the potential of the trams. That is the message we need to take to the world.