‘It’s time for Holyrood to take the lead’

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WHAT impression do visitors leave Edinburgh with?

Hopefully of a modern, friendly city which embraces its history at the same time as looking to the future. Hopefully, it will be the trip of a lifetime, which they will extol to family and friends.

Hopefully . . . but not always. For some it seems the overwhelming impression they take back home is of a city with a “Third World” road network.

Whether or not you agree with this brutal analysis, no-one can claim that the Capital’s roads are in a good state. It is easy to blame the tram works and hope that, come 2014, everything will be rosy – but will that really be the case? The roads were not exactly pothole-free before the project began, after all.

The new Labour-led council has promised to pay proper attention to things like bringing streets and pavements to a good standard, especially in busy areas.

It has also pledged to control the work standards of the utility firms which are continually digging up our roads.

Of course, it is difficult not to feel like you have heard this before. Any new investment is welcome but has to be seen against today’s warnings that Edinburgh’s roads may now be in a state of gradual deterioration with each new set of roadworks.

That would indeed be worrying for a capital city which strives to attract new business and sell itself in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

But it may be exactly what is needed to alert the powers-that-be that we may soon end up on a road to nowhere.

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, and so perhaps it is time for the Scottish Government to take the lead in tackling our disgrace. A co-ordinated action plan is now needed to ensure the reputation of the Athens of the North is not continually tarnished.

First impressions are everything – let’s hope that impression is not of a pothole.

Vital signs

Tim Davison is a man with a huge job on his hands.

The new NHS Lothian chief executive has been parachuted into an organisation in crisis following the waiting times and bullying scandals, not to mention the ongoing issues with PFI partner, Consort.

So it will be reassuring to staff and patients to hear that he has not taken long to show his mettle. He will know that the vast majority of workers are dedicated professionals who will welcome such leadership.

It will not be an overnight recovery, but the vital signs are good.