Jings! Oor Wullie needs to watch out for the tourists – Kevin Buckle

Visitors standing in the middle of the road taking a Scott Monument selfie are blind to the risks, says Kevin Buckle.

Saturday, 22nd June 2019, 6:00 am
Oor Wullie statues are popping up all over Edinburgh

Interesting to see Oor Wullie statues appear on Edinburgh’s city centre pavements this week as part of the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail. Considerably bigger than an A-board, businesses will be wondering how the visually impaired and infirm will ever make their way past them. However, having seen them in action it is more complex than simply avoiding Oor Wullie what you really need to avoid are the crowds photographing Oor Wullie.

Particularly interesting is Oor Wullie on Princes Street by Marks & Spencer where there is already an issue just further along with visitors so desperate for a photo they stand in the road normally in front of my bus.

Reminiscent of my time in the Grassmarket where folk stood balancing on bollards to get a better picture of themselves with the castle I’ve noticed a similar phenomenon only this time visitors seem to think that taking a few steps off the pavement into the road will give them a better picture in front of the Scott Monument.

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This normally involves them standing in front of a stationary bus – which, to state the obvious, don’t remain that way forever. When walking along Princes Street I’ve seen entire families take turns at this manoeuvre. So focused are these keen photography groups that they are oblivious to those having to make their way around them.

When Paul Lawrence, the so-called Director of Place (I’ve been watching reruns of W1A), worried about a visitor going under a bus last year I don’t imagine this is what he was thinking of.

Also interesting this week to see the cycling lobby having to take some of their own medicine in Kensington and Chelsea of all places.

What seems to be a very sensible flagship scheme for walking and cycling has been scuppered by a “large” number of emails and some celebrity support a signature tactic of the cycling lobby.

Their objection is eminently sensible in that the 450 emails represent only 0.3 per cent of those in the borough but of course that is exactly the position cyclists take when low thousands either campaigning for something or arguing against a plan claim some sort of majority when in fact they represent a very low percentage of those who could have an opinion.

What is more even these figures are the result of relentless encouragement from certain quarters to supporters to make their views known. Of course this does not just apply to cycling but other areas such as heritage but it means that because lobbying is so extensive the wider public’s views are never known.

More often than not if every person was made to give an answer the result would be a few per cent for, a few per cent against and 90 per cent-plus answering that they just don’t care.

I think it has to be accepted that most people will always have their own cares and worries that leave them little or no time to get involved in causes and there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What would be good though is if more people stood in the middle ground and tried to improve people’s lives now and in a realistic manner. Plan for the future of course but let’s try to get the present right first.