Steve Cardownie: Edinburgh's Christmas Market critics need to get a life

Edinburgh is for everyone, not just for those who would rather it was devoid of activity, writes Steve Cardownie.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 11:29 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 12:08 pm
Edinburgh's Christmas Market has come in for widespread criticism this year. Picture: TSPL

I recently visited the Christmas Market in East Princes Street Gardens on a Saturday afternoon where I was confronted by hordes of smiling faces, young and old, who looked to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

It was around noon and the assembled throng was intent on sampling the many different cuisines on offer. The market is open until 10pm and I recalled my time as council recreation committee convener when the Gardens closed before 4pm throughout the festive season, leaving them bereft of any activity, or at least any that could be mentioned in a family newspaper.

I knew that there would still be thousands of people enjoying themselves in the Gardens well beyond that time because of the market. But to hear some people, particularly some councillors, you would think this crowd was exclusively made up of visitors and that Edinburgh people did not participate – what claptrap.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

East Princes Street Gardens is now open longer, offering a fantastic Christmas experience to residents and visitors alike, not closed to the Edinburgh public as it was before the market materialised.

That same Saturday, just after noon, I estimated how many people were in West Princes Street Gardens. I might be exaggerating if it reached three figures. So much for much needed space being taken up by the market, depriving people of a quiet space.

Some councillors and other commentators ought to get a life. God forbid that working-class people should be afforded the opportunities to enjoy themselves lest the chattering classes take umbrage. This city is for everyone, not just for those who would rather it was devoid of activity and that ordinary working folk did not venture out.