What on earth got into the mindset of those souls who were responsible for the historic return of Edinburgh’s trams?
Our family came up from south Britain for a week’s holiday in the capital and were convinced that there would be some kind of spectacular inaugural ceremony at the end of our week.
Of all the interests that were on offer to tourists and residents, the return of the trams was going to be la crème de la crème.
Would it be a pre-Festival festival? Would Princes Street be bedecked in saltires and tartan and how many pipe bands would be playing or even marching proudly in front of our shiny new transport system, designed to ease our sclerotic roads and save the planet? Oh dear, once again the authorities, having lost their civic confidence over the fiscal farce that preceded the great day, didn’t dare expose themselves to the risks of international ignominy and instead opted for an absurdly early morning launch while most normal people were still in bed.
Pipe band? Ceilidh? Party spirit? Forget it! As each new tram slipped down St Andrew Square and apologetically trundled and screeched along Princes Street, the startled onlookers were distinctly underwhelmed.
There wasn’t a tram flag to be seen; no banners, no ceremony, no castle guns booming out a welcome! How was this possible?
It was as if the great Scottish death wish had descended across the city in an attempt to hush up the shameful act of environmental rejuvenation.
What a golden opportunity to present Edinburgh and Scotland to the world, instead of meekly turning away from what should have been one of the world’s most celebrated transport U-turns. Let’s hope that Glasgow will flourish and lead the way when the Commonwealth Games begin.