Leader: '˜Still plenty of reasons to be optimistic'
The start of the New Year is always a time for reflection and the dawn of 2017 certainly brings plenty of food for thought.
A lot of people have already written off 2016 as a disaster thanks to the shock wins for the Brexit campaign and Donald Trump in the US, as well as the deaths of so many well-loved celebrities. There is certainly far more uncertainty about what the future will bring than we have known for many years.
We are very much an international city and proud to be one which looks beyond our own geographic limits to the wider world and invites it in. Our tourism industry, hospitals, university laboratories and pioneering digital firms will all suffer in a world where we are forced to look more inwardly. There is a lot to concern us all as we wait to see what a post-Brexit Britain might look like.
But amid all the turmoil and unpredictability, Edinburgh has plenty of reasons to be optimistic. The city’s economy continues to defy gloomy predictions with more jobs being created, while several of our industries, especially in science, technology and tourism, are producing global leaders.
Who watched the spectacular Hogmanay fireworks display and did not feel some surge of pride at what our great city has to offer? The TV images that were beamed around the world were a powerful reminder to billions of people that Edinburgh is a stunningly beautiful city that knows how to throw a party. That’s good news for tens of thousands of people whose jobs rely on tourists.
Desperately-needed new homes are being built across the Capital, the long-awaited City Deal should finally deliver significant investment in Edinburgh and we might even get the concert venue we all deserve when the Ross Bandstand is redeveloped.
The challenges of dealing with a fast growing city loom large, but there are plenty of reasons to look forward positively into 2017.