local Liberal Democrat politicians and activists will surely have been biting their lips as they listened to their national party leader on his flying visit to the area yesterday.
Nothing Nick Clegg said was particularly new – we’ve heard his justification for joining the Tories in their cost-cutting coalition at Westminster many times.
But what will stick in the craw of local party members is his blithe assertion that voters will have seen the sense of the coalition’s policies by the time the next general election comes around in four years or so.
This may or may not prove to be true. But what seems abundantly clear right now is that there is little chance of a significant change of mood among electors by the time the city council is up for grabs in May. And if last week’s City Centre by-election and this year’s Holyrood poll are anything to go by the Lib Dems will go from leading the council to a bit part in opposition.
If the rumours are to be believed, local party leaders are speculating that even with their beloved proportional representation the number of Lib Dem councillors could be more than halved, to six or seven.
No wonder so many senior Lib Dems have decided not to even stand – though, as Labour’s Ewan Aitken’s decision shows, that is not restricted to the council’s biggest party.
Local factors have done much to undermine Jenny Dawe’s group’s cause in the city, and the gravestone we use today to illustrate our latest trams revelations could just as easily read “Edinburgh’s Lib Dems RIP”.
But the impact of Nick Clegg cosying up to David Cameron has been massive too, and has undermined his party at a city and Scottish level.
As the first Lib Dem leader in government for decades, Mr Clegg seems to be revelling in his title of Deputy Prime Minister and enjoying his government Jaguar. Such accessories might look better on him if he acknowledged the harm they have done to the prospects of his local party colleagues.
Hot stuff in Porty
it is easy to understand why some parents get hot under the collar about the amount of sexual images young people are bombarded with these days.
And one or two of the murals currently decorating empty shop units in Portobello High Street are a bit close to the knuckle. Those most revealing images should be removed.
But let the majority of them continue to brighten the drab shopfronts. After all, you’ll find more bare flesh on the walls of the National Galleries and more explicit images on a Wonderbra billboard advert.