For somebody who writes about what is happening in Edinburgh the current administration is just the gift that keeps on giving.
The latest news is that with anybody trying to get to, or travel through, the city centre finding their journey disrupted in some way as the filming of Fast and Furious 9 takes place it transpires that the council are making no money from this at all.
Personally instead of getting the bus outside Waverley Mall I can either walk to the other end of Princes Street or instead take the train and then have a walk at the end of my journey. The walk will do me good and if it all helped to fill the council’s coffers with money to be put to good purpose then even better – but their policy of not making money is just one more example of how unbusinesslike they are.
I can’t even imagine how the costings for all their city centre plans are going to pan out in the next few months and the devastation to the high street that Edinburgh St James will cause is also now starting to loom on the horizon.
Add in the hopefully imminent announcement on whether the Old Royal High School will become a six-star hotel, exactly as the council wished until they changed their mind and their personnel, and there is little chance of the council staying out of the news in the foreseeable future.
One suggestion somebody made to me was that if there is to be a council official for Place as there is with Paul Lawrence then there should be an Executive Director for Business whose sole purpose is to safeguard and support the city’s businesses.
Similarly I’m told councils in the past have tried to make money from various ventures but normally contrived to lose money instead. This does not mean this was a bad idea but more likely just highlights the inability of the council to run like a business.
What is even more bizarre is that now every commercial decision has to go out to tender and every council plan needs the obligatory workshops and consultations that somehow this has contrived to make things worse than the dark days when councils throughout the UK would make bad decisions but were only accountable come election time.
Edinburgh Council has never needed more to come up with some good news. I’ve not heard anything recently about their plan to use the Road Mole but a Boris Johnson-like pledge to fix every pothole by Christmas would certainly be popular!
Cool heads required
Last night, assuming all has gone to plan, the City Centre Transformation papers will have gone live and I do hope people actually read the contents rather than look at headlines and rely on social media comment.
I regularly get sent reports from the green/active media lobby who not only fail to understand that on many occasions we are on the same side but also have clearly not read the report themselves.
Unfortunately you can guarantee that whatever is in the report there will be uniform approval from some quarters when what is needed is a far more level-headed assessment and hopefully that will be forthcoming from others.