Martin Hannan: Take time over Queen honour

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Didn’t you just love the suggestion that all or part of the tram line could be named in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee?

The only problem is that it would actually have to be called the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Line, for it feels like it will be another ten years before they finally get the system up and running.

The idea that some local landmark should be named after Her Majesty in honour of her reaching 60 years on the throne is one that nobody except ardent republicans could argue against. The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Business Centre, as suggested by Tory councillor Dominic Heslop, is a non-starter, however, because it’s just too much of a mouthful.

No, if we are going to name something after the Queen, let’s make it a substantial new place that truly honours her. It doesn’t have to be tied to the Diamond Jubilee which is over and done with, so there is time for proper consideration as to what landmark could bear the name Queen Elizabeth II.

No doubt there will be those who will say that it’s just the locals sucking up to the royals again but, let’s face it, Edinburgh has a tradition of doing just that.

If we were to try and undo all that royalist sycophancy, we would have to remove the names of Princes Street, Hanover Street, Frederick Street, George Street, Charlotte Square, Prince Regent Street and Queen Street for starters. As for the Royal Mile – well, that would have to be the first to go as it is so out of date on a couple of fronts. The Holyrood-Lawnmarket Kilometre-and-a-bit would be a more accurate replacement, but all those souvenir shops would struggle to get the new name on to their signs.

And what will happen if Scotland votes for independence in 2014? Rose Street and Thistle Street will have to go, of course, since they are the very embodiment of the Union.

Perhaps they could be replaced with more apposite names, with Rose Street becoming Stag or Hen Street. Come to think of it, Thistle Street could stay, as only we Scots could chose a jaggy weed as our national emblem.

All this worrying about a new royal naming means we could take the opportunity to rename whole swathes of the city with much more up-to-date names that reflect the modern culture of Edinburgh.

Young Street, for example, would just have to be named Rebus Street, after Ian Rankin’s detective who is the street’s most famous denizen, hanging out in the Oxford Bar.

The mark made by Trainspotting would best be reflected in Leith – wouldn’t Constitution Street be better named Sick Boy Avenue? A wee statue to Irvine Welsh at one end and a monument made from empty syringes at the other, and the Trainspotters would flock there.

We could also make street names more politically correct. Cowgate should really be Cattlegate, Dumbiedykes really needs to be called Verbally Challenged Street, while Fillyside must be renamed Young Equine Place.

Alternatively, we just leave all our present place names alone and wait for a suitable new landmark to come along and ask the Queen to open it and bestow her name on it. The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge has a much better ring to it than Forth Replacement Crossing, and that’s my suggestion for what it’s worth.

Driven mad

STILL the roadworks continue to cause havoc. In the last few days in the Pleasance, for instance, there was one set of works which was nothing short of deadly dangerous.

As you approached from either side, there was no advanced warning of the hole in the ground which extended across half the width of the road.

There were two rudimentary barriers on either side of the excavation, but at various times these were flat on the ground either because of high winds or because drunken idiots had decided it was fun to knock them over.

There was no sign saying who was responsible for the works, and the most galling thing of all was that for days there was no-one actually working in the hole.

Time and time again we see this in Edinburgh. Massively disruptive roadworks erupt all over the city and then whoever digs them goes off and leaves the blasted things to be a nuisance.

Is there some kind of rule that roadworks have to be carried out by invisible people? You rarely see anybody actually working in them, at least until the late evenings or weekends – double time and all that.

Or maybe the idea is that there are specialist diggers who create the holes and then another team comes along and does the work, and then another mob fill them in. Meantime, buses have to take ludicrous diversions and car drivers can chuck their sat navs in the bin for all the use they are.

We all know that the utility companies need access to their pipes or whatever, while the council is trying its best with limited resources to repair the damage to our roads.

But do large parts of Edinburgh need to be turned into “no go” or “slow go” areas? For that is what happening in the Capital now, and it is really beginning to drive its hard-pressed citizens quite mad with rage, especially those empty roadworks.