Leader: ‘Volume should go off after 10pm’

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THE Olympic torch’s historic first visit to the Lothians was everything that we hoped it would be.

Around 50,000 people lined the streets of Edinburgh to witness the flame passing through the city’s streets, creating a real sense of occasion.

Everywhere that the torch went, it was greeted by enthusiasts of all ages, with parents taking their children to see the once-in-a-lifetime event conspicuous by their numbers.

It was hard to imagine a better outcome. Heck, the rain clouds even vanished for the two days, making way for bright sunshine.

It is clear that there is a real enthusiasm for the Olympic Games across Scotland even if the idea that these are our games as well as London’s has not really caught on.

Everyone will hope to see a little of this carnival spirit repeated in Edinburgh during the Games themselves.

Especially with our truly international population, there is every chance many of the great sporting contests will catch the imagination of significant numbers of city residents.

The big screen at Festival Square could provide a great venue for some Olympic “street parties”, particularly if the sun shines.

But it is only a suitable venue at certain hours of the day.

There are many benefits to being a cosmopolitan 24-hour-a-day capital, but switching on the volume of the square’s big screen at 6am and turning it off at 11pm, or even 12.45am, should not be one of them.

The screen already broadcasts pictures around the clock with its speakers switched on between 7.30am to 10pm. That is enough.

The extended hours will not mean that the Festival Square screen will be able to show any extra live events. It will only allow for more pre-event build-up and re-runs of edited highlights.

What will the extra hours gain? Other than disturbing the residents who live around the square, as well as visitors to the Sheraton Hotel, by encouraging late night drunks to linger.

The screen could yet prove an asset to the city during the Games, but only with its volume switched off after 10pm.