Riding the Waves to Eternity

Hangin' with the Cosmic Surfer

Skip to: Content | Sidebar | Footer

Auld Reekie

1 January, 2019 (21:45) | Uncategorized | By: Ian Burdon

We went into the city for a walk up and around Calton Hill, a way to blow away the cobwebs of the old year. It was a nice walk as far as it went–the light was good, the views over the old town and across to Fife were great, despite the construction cranes, and a kestrel happily hovered and hunted, oblivious to the number of people who were up there.

But the city itself was a shocking mess. It wasn’t just the detritus of the Hogmanay party–though we’ll come to that, it was the general state of Princes Street and Rose Street which look run down. They were already bad, with dreadful 60s, 70s and 80s buildings destroying the amenity, but now there are added homeless people in every second or third doorway and also litter, the remains of last nights vomit, and a pervasive smell of urine from every likely spot.

And the Hogmanay stuff: I understand that it was a major event with lots of attendees, but it seems to me that a licence to hold the event ought to bring with it an obligation to tidy up, something that we didn’t see any sign of until early afternoon.

There is a cluster of different problems, and I’m not drawing any equivalence between homeless people and the state of the streets, but taken together there is something seriously wrong with our city, and I see no sign it is likely to get better. In fact it looks as though it will get worse: the council can’t afford to run the services it already has and is reluctant to impose any kind of service charge for tourists to help cover the infrastructure costs of them being here. I don’t know why, I’m used to paying something similar everywhere I go, most recently in Porto and Lisbon. Homelessness is a much deeper and more intractable problem, but the last Labour governments made significant inroads into addressing the issue, inroads that have been reversed in the last 8 years.

It is obvious that, as they say, something must be done. Like all such things, the place to begin is not what others should be doing, although I have views on that, but on what I should be doing. I don’t know what the remedies are, but I do know that is something for me to think about as the year turns.

Happy New Year!

Write a comment