A secret council document was leaked to me last Wednesday, and I had to digest its contents over the weekend before deciding this was a memo that had to be given to the hardy readers of the News uncut and unedited.
It was entitled: Edinburgh Driving Licence – not just a way of making money.
It read: “For some time now the City Council of Edinburgh has been contemplating the issue of road safety, especially in the city centre.
“The time has come for tough measures to ensure that drivers possess all the attributes that a motorist in Edinburgh requires.
“The Council should consider the issuing of its own Driving Licence which anyone intending to drive any sort of vehicle, including bicyles and prams, must possess before they are allowed on the streets of Edinburgh.
“Candidates for such an Edinburgh licence would require to have the following physical attributes:
n No peripheral vision to see vehicles on either side.
n Cloth ears to survive the loud horns of such vehicles.
n Gluteus maximus muscles made of steel to survive the long hours in traffic jams.
n A complete inability to read maps or listen to what a sat nav is saying.
n Utter pigheadedness when sat behind a driving wheel, translating to total macho lunacy in males especially, though women should have a testosterone test to ensure that they, too, can drive like mad men.
n Whatever nerves are needed to enable a person to drive at night in a city full of people who think they are invulnerable when staggering drunkenly onto busy roads.
“As well as these physical attributes, candidates for a licence would need to undergo examinations to check that they a) are marginally lunatic enough to drive in the Old Town; b) possess a God-given right to batter onto pavements when cars in front of them won’t move; c) they need three car lengths in which to park their unfeasibly large SUVs. The latter requirement is particularly necessary for women doing a school run, though in keeping with Council equality procedures, that issue can be ignored if said women kick up a fuss.
“In return for taking the test and gaining the licence, new drivers in Edinburgh would be allowed to emulate existing motorists and call all cyclists by rude names, even when not running them off the road. The new licence would also formalise the practice of caravanners driving through the city without giving a care about anybody else. “There would of course need to be an exorbitant charge for this licence, in common with the fees already imposed unfairly for parking etc. This of course would be portrayed by councillors and the PR department as a necessary expense for drivers that is in keeping with the council’s health and safety regulations and green policies, and not just a way of making money.
“Suitable examinations for achieving the licence can be easily arranged – anyone who can make it from Portobello to Cramond via the city centre while still remaining alive and slightly sane would automatically qualify.
“So would all tourists, as self-evidently they possess all the necessary attributes already.
“It would need a year to organise the Edinburgh Driving Licence, so April 1, 2016, should be the target date.
Signed, Paolo Rilf.”
Roll on next year.