Leader: Solutions to Edinburgh’s planning problems

THE scene: The office of Edinburgh city council’s chief executive, Sue Bruce. Enter Dave, a senior official, red-faced and waving a sheaf of documents.

Dave: Sue, I’m sorry, ma’am, the Cockburn Society are beelin’ over Christmas lights on Jenners and the rest of the heritage mob are havin’ a rammy about the Cowgate. They say we’re gonnae lose wur World Heritage status. Whit are we gonnae dae?

Sue (sipping tea from a fine china cup): It’s all in hand, David. Our new lighting strategy will apply only to permanent fittings, so those miserable little people won’t have a leg to stand on.

Dave: But whit aboot the Cowgate, ma’am?

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Sue: Don’t worry, Jenny Dawe’s so desperate for votes she’ll do just what I tell her. And I’ve already told Cardownie to get the Nats to vote through the twiddly bits the heritage lot are getting all steamed up about.

Dave: But how can ye be certain he won’t double-cross us again?

Sue: Hush, David. I made sure his boss took care of that. It’ll be fine. And after sorting out that tram mess, they know who’s in charge around here.

Dave: Ye’re a genius, ma’am. Oh, here’s that number for Donald Anderson you asked for earlier.

Oh ma’am Sue, How many “Good grief, Hector, have you seen the latest news about Princes Street?

“I’ve just read it in The Scotsman: they’re going to have lights on the outside of buildings, including this one. Can you pass me a scone?”

Hector: “After you with the Darjeeling, dear. Indeed I did. I can tell you the talk is of little else at the club. They’re so exorcised, they have even stopped talking about the mess the tram works made of the setts and the damage it does to the Land-Rover’s suspension.”

Donalda: “You won’t be surprised to learn there’s no more talk of that vulgar Nancy woman on Strictly at the bridge circle. Princes Street becoming like Blackpool is all we discuss. There’s talk of a petition.”

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So, the Cockburn Association has objected to city council’s “free-for-all” on Princes Street in allowing retailers Jenners and Primark to light up their buildings after dark without permission. It should reconsider. Does it really want conversations like this in tea rooms all over the capital between now and Christmas?