How different worlds collide
- 17 September 2013
- From the section Scotland politics
Sometimes events conspire to give you pause. One such concatenation confronted me as I sojourned into Scotland's capital earlier today.
To my side was a bus emblazoned with adverts pronouncing its greenery, its self-proclaimed contribution to a low carbon world.
Up ahead was a BMW with a personalised number plate whose exhaust was belching forth more fumes than Cox's Stack in its heyday. (Look it up. Keyword: Dundee.)
And on the wireless? A report from my esteemed colleague David Miller on the subject of transport in Edinburgh.
Apparently, there are to be trams on the streets. Relatively soon.
Now, to the citizens of Auld Reekie, the tram has always seemed like a chimera, a mythical creature.
They had heard tell of them. Older residents claimed to have seen one, once, back in the day.
But actually running in Edinburgh? You'll have had your tea.
However, David is not to be disbelieved. The seemingly endless task of digging up Edinburgh's roads will end in October (at least as far as the trams are concerned.) Sisyphus will take a well-deserved rest.
Then trams there will be. With passengers. Perhaps in May next year or even earlier. The costly chariots will run from the airport to the city centre.
It is difficult to overstate the damage which has been done to the collective confidence of Edinburgh and hence, albeit to a lesser extent, Scotland by the trams fiasco.
Whisper it - but is it just now possible that the project might be able to regain some degree of public support? Will those citizens - who, rightly, castigated the costs and delays - be able to summon a fractional degree of pride as they finally board the vehicles and glide through the streets?
I know. Asking a bit, isn't it? But think. The Holyrood building was even more roundly condemned as its costs rose. And now visitors happily gaze at its ambitious architectural lines, not one of them straight.
I hear, I hear you. Don't push it Brian.