Unfortunately, it would appear that political battle lines are already being drawn over Edinburgh city council’s £314m strategy for its ten-year City Centre Transformation Project which, if allowed to continue, does not bode well.
Surely councillors can debate, discuss and listen to alternative points of view with an open mind rather than adopt what may develop into entrenched policy positions due to knee-jerk reactions based on party allegiances?
I relished the crossing of swords and the cut and thrust of debate across the floor of the Chamber when I was there, but there are many occasions when the council is at its best, when party dogma is relegated to the sidelines and open and frank discussions are allowed to flourish without dismissing good ideas because they come from a councillor from another party group.
The City Centre Transformation Project is far too important for it to be caught up in party political squabbles that may grab the headlines in the short term but will do nothing to further the interests of the city in the long term.
What is required is calm, reasoned debate and discussion, where all points of view are listened to with respect and rational decisions made based on intelligent feedback, not political point-scoring and grandstanding, the signs of which we are already witnessing.
This issue will have a far-reaching effect on city residents for generations to come so it is vitally important that we get it right.
Councillors will not be readily forgiven if they fail to grasp this opportunity because they allowed themselves to get caught up in a political dogfight.