Gina Davidson: More kapower to unlikely lads

WELL I tried. Honestly, for your sake and mine, I did try. Ever since the council election result was announced and all the candidates had gone home to drown their sorrows, toast their successes or attempt a leadership coup, I have thought of little else. But I have failed to find something else to write about.

I pondered whether I should tell you about the big thing which has happened in my life since Friday – a new kitchen floor. Could I really hold your attention in this column by waxing lyrical about three years of living with a gaping hole in the floor?

Telling laugh-out-loud tales of how we pretended that no-one really noticed the odd piece of insulation board covered in an increasingly tatty bamboo rug which would splinter and embed itself into unwary bare feet? Or that really funny time when we told people to step over gran after she fell in and we couldn’t get her out?

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Or how we grew to think of it as a physical lesson in bad financial planning for our children – holes in the floor are what happens when you spend your money on wine rather than making sure you’ve enough to complete your extension.

Perhaps instead, something on parenthood and those fleeting moments of pride before epic fails? Such as when in the car recently they asked to listen to Kasabian, the two-year-old yelling “Velociraptor”, just before he began to chant “McDonald’s” as we drove past the golden arches. From a surge of pride to the hollowness of shame in seconds.

Then, of course, there’s the really big news of the week – the release of the Evening News Scottish Cup final song, Go East. A song to bring the supporters of Hearts and Hibs together in harmony, a song about how great the Capital is compared with the Weege.

Now there was something to write about. It’s a work of comedy the likes of which are few and far between. Without doubt it plays to cliché and there’s more than a whiff of cheese about it but, call me a sentimental old fool, it makes me feel strangely proud.

But I can’t avoid it. It’s like trying to get past a charity mugger in the street when you’re overloaded with shopping bags – an impossibility.

So here we go. Edinburgh has a sparkly new council, an unholy alliance of Labour and SNP councillors.

Andrew Burns and Steve Cardownie are the Batman and Robin of local politics, a duo (I will reserve the use of the word dynamic for future columns, possibly in a disparaging way) determined to save Edinburgh from recession, ridiculous planning applications, privatised bin men and any more trams.

This new coalition, led by a current Labour member and a former one, only came about, though, after days of talks and meetings – with anyone else but each other.

In fact, if all reports are to be believed, SNP leader Councillor Cardownie had to face a vote of confidence after his group failed to become the largest party on the council just after he faced a vote of no confidence in his ward – only scraping through in the eighth and final counting of all transferred preference votes. Then he was allegedly promising all sorts to the Tory group in a bid to form a coalition to prevent Labour being involved in the administration at all.

At the same time, Labour was also manoeuvring for an alliance with anyone who was willing.

First, it was the Greens and the Liberal Democrats. The latter, down to a rump of just three councillors, were apparently too shell-shocked by their party’s destruction at the polls to contemplate anything but their navels. So then it was with the Conservatives and the Greens, but the newly enlarged environmentalists were too full of integrity – or perhaps it was just lentil bloat – to blot their copybooks with a dalliance with the Tories.

Given that there was nothing left for either side, they only had each other’s arms in which to fall.

It’s funny how politics works. Thanks to proportional representation we are either left unsatisfied with the result, or get more than we bargained for – in this case, two old enemies forced into working together. Now we expect them to work out their differences in the glare of the media and electorate spotlights.

It’s like asking two children fighting over which football team is best to shake hands and apologise. On the surface the issue is resolved, but bubbling underneath is seething resentment and sly kicks will be exchanged under the desk. I am led to believe there’s already a book open on how long this budding relationship will last.

But perhaps I am just too cynical. Perhaps this new forging of friendships is too grown-up, adult and sophisticated for me. Perhaps this coalition will rise above personality clashes and pettiness and really will put Edinburgh and its people first. I am desperate for it to be so.

Indeed, in a radio debate before the election, when asked if he could work with Steve Cardownie, Andrew Burns laughingly replied that they had worked together in the same party for long enough. Perhaps it really is possible.

However, if nothing else, like the Evening News’ Go East video, it will be fun to watch.