when Labour and the SNP got hitched at the City Chambers, it was never going to be a marriage made in heaven.
There is no love lost between the two parties who are squabbling on the national stage in the independence debate. But, as they approach their first anniversary, Edinburgh’s odd bedfellows are making far better partners than many expected. Together they have managed to forge a team that is working for the city, even if the suspicion remains that there are tensions below the surface.
It has not been an easy year, with the trams, statutory repairs and the Mortonhall ashes scandal forcing the coalition to face genuine crises. There has been real progress on the trams – with credit due to council chief executive Sue Bruce – but thousands of homeowners remain desperate to see similar steps taken to clear up the statutory repairs mess. While the handling of the ashes scandal has not been flawless, city leaders recognised the significance of the situation and acted accordingly.
Council services are in general well run, despite significant problems introducing fortnightly bin collections. Refuse collection services needed to be modernised and the city deserves credit for grasping the bull by the horns.
Yet, it is a failure to be bold enough in other areas which has brought the Labour-SNP coalition most criticism. There is a feeling that they have failed to grasp the nettle when it comes to difficult decisions such as the closure of Leith Waterworld and Castlebrae High School. The city also needs to set a stronger course when it comes to housing supply, making sure that enough land is made available in the right places to avoid piecemeal development in pockets right across the Capital.
Too many of our sports facilities remain below top class standard, but the exciting bid to house the National Performance Centre for Sport in Edinburgh offers a golden opportunity to help put that right.