Remembrance Day: ‘There is plenty of time to take down the lights’

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It is easy to forget now just how many doubts there once were about reviving the two-minute silence on Remembrance Day.

Most people, it was feared, would be too busy to stop in the supermarket or office in the middle of the working day.

But the nation has embraced the tradition since it was reintroduced in the wake of the 50th anniversary of VE Day in 1995.

The terrible death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan, including many servicemen from this city, has simply served to add to the poignancy in recent years. As has the death of the last remaining veterans of the trenches.

So it is easy to understand why many people will be upset by anything that detracts from the solemnity of the occasion.

And having Christmas lights hanging around the City Chambers as wreaths are laid on Edinburgh’s Stone of Remembrance next Friday will do just that.

We understand that there are umpteen miles of decorations to be put up around the city streets before the official switch-on at the end of the month.

But surely those lights on the Royal Mile could have been left until last – after next week’s ceremony.

Certainly, no-one will have intended the slight when they hatched plans to put up the decorations at the start of November.

Remembrance Day was just an after-thought – and that is the problem.

Keeping the tradition alive takes more than that. The local authority must follow the public spirit and place the greatest importance on the event.

It is not too late to make amends. There is still plenty of time to take down the lights – just those immediately surrounding the city’s war memorial – before the day.

That is the right thing to do.

Top of the class

Amid all the gloom of council cutbacks, complaints about overcrowded schools and reports of falling standards, there is a ray of light today.

Edinburgh’s school pupils are continuing to out-perform the rest of Scotland in their Higher results while city schools are also making progress on driving up Standard Grade performance.

There is even better news in Midlothian, where Newbattle High has just achieved its best results in 42 years thanks to an innovative academy system which is attracting attention around the world.

Well done to all the pupils and teachers involved.