‘Pravda had no place in a modern capital’
the council’s propaganda sheet newspaper, Outlook, was never a sensible use of £200,000 a year of taxpayers’ money.
So city leader Andrew Burns deserves credit for recognising that Edinburgh’s answer to Pravda, the newspaper that was the mouthpiece of the Soviet state, has no place in a modern capital city.
The question now is how best the money saved by this sensible move should be spent. And there is certainly a strong case for saying it should not be spent at all.
Don’t forget the city council needs to find almost £100 million in savings over the next three years as the public spending cuts start to bite.
This would be an easy way to knock more than half a million off that total. A drop in the ocean admittedly, but the old saying “look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves” has rarely been more apt.
In this day and age, there are many cheap and effective ways of communicating with the public, through social media. It is right that the council makes growing use of these.
And its “council TV” plans to broadcast important local authority meetings on the internet is an interesting experiment in opening up the workings of local democracy.
Yet, at the same time, the habits and preferences of the large number of people who do not make daily use of the internet must not be forgotten.
The council must also keep using traditional media in order to continue communicating effectively with the public.
Effective communication is essential to good government and that does not always come at no cost. But it can surely come at a lower cost than the £2m or so that the council threw away over the years on Outlook.
As we shiver through days in June, no-one needs reminding that life in Edinburgh is different to that in New York and Paris.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t copy some of their great successes in breathing new life back into neglected parts of their city.
The “gardens in the sky” walkways in those two cities are now significant tourist attractions as well as hugely popular with locals.
There is no reason why a miniature version of that, as outlined by architect Pierre Forissier elsewhere on this page, can’t prove extremely popular here.
And it is exactly imaginative projects like this that Edinburgh needs if it is to turn the vision of more people walking and cycling around the Capital into reality.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 24 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 5 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North east