Image problems - 'Work harder to sell our city to the world'

AS a city that relies heavily on how it is perceived by outsiders to support our vital tourist industry, it has not been a good week for Edinburgh.

The disgraceful scenes at Tynecastle have brought international media attention in the most distasteful of circumstances.

The resultant impression of the Capital as a city blighted by sectarian hate will be foreign to all who live here, but unfortunately that is the sort of image that has been portrayed to millions across the UK and abroad over the last 36 hours.

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Despite what some commentators have been saying, we know that there is simply no comparison between what happens in Edinburgh and the deeply ingrained problems facing Rangers and Celtic and wider social tensions in parts of the west.

Even there, sectarian hatred is restricted to a minority - here that number is as tiny as it is unwelcome.

It isn't in the same league, but the "night of shame" at Tynecastle followed other negative publicity when Edinburgh was being compared to war-torn Tripoli.

Frankly, tram boss Vic Emery should have known better, but at least he has now apologised.

Taken together, these events show that no matter how many garlands the Capital gathers, it is easy for a city's reputation to be besmirched.

That means that everyone - starting with the Scottish Government, the city council and VisitScotland - now has to work harder than ever to sell the Capital to the world, so everyone else sees Edinburgh as we do.

We have a strong message to get across and we must shout it from the rooftops: our city is a place of culture and beauty, it is not a place of hatred and chaos.

Endangered species

The anger was palpable as the normally reserved members of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland let off steam at last night's emergency meeting in Murrayfield.

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They were rightly furious about the way their zoo has been managed recently, with a financial crisis and the suspension of executives top of their list of complaints.

And there was an inevitability about the vote of no confidence in chairman Donald Emslie - in fact, the surprise was the rejection of a second vote against the whole board.

Today, it appears certain that Emslie eventually will have to follow the will of the members and go.

But that should not happen immediately. With no chief executive, Emslie is one of the few people with senior management experience left. He must stay, in the short term at least, and sort out the mess.