Edinburgh in Rain Square

Central Edinburgh on a Saturday night is a dystopian nightmare

I HAD the great misfortune of being in central Edinburgh last Saturday night. The evening of 5th July should have been a joyous occasion, what with Scotland triumphing over France at Murrayfield and the beginning of the Edinburgh Fringe. Plus, I was meeting up with my brother-in-law, my two nephews, and my son who now lives on the Old Town.

The portents of disappointment and doom were gathering as I walked down Princes Street from Waverley Station. Massed crowds of drunk, fat, baldy-heided and tattooed men crowded the uneven pavements, together with an assortment of intoxicated covens of the female equivalent. Effing and blinding seemed to be the lingua franca of the evening. (Not locals then? – Ed.)

The wastepaper bins were overflowing and spreading their contents over the humming streets. (As an aside, isn’t it about time that Edinburgh City Council woke up to the realities of life in a major tourist city and got their bin men – sorry, waste management executives – to work over the weekend when their services are most needed?)

Our capital city reeked of dirt, disorder, and decay, and quite what the French rugby fans and other assorted tourists made of it is a depressing and frightening prospect. But pretty it ain’t. As a native Scot, and a generally proud one, I felt both embarrassed and ashamed. What a midden!

The pub that I met my family at was middling to fair. Mildly over-priced and with culinary pretensions which didn’t quite match up to what was presented on our plates, it was saved by the genuinely nice lassie who took our orders and could not have been more pleasant. I’ll not name the venue, but it is on William Street. I’m sure regular pub-goers will be able to work it out.

But, once again, my ears were assailed by the screeching banshee women at the next table, all totally drunk and beyond making sense. If I’d had a hearing aid I’d have taken it out. They weren’t even amusing in their drunken state, just obnoxious.

It didn’t get any better after I took my leave of my erstwhile companions. Although now closer to Haymarket Station, my train goes east so I walked back to Waverley, where it departs from. Naturally it had started to rain, or more properly drizzle; that steady, dampening, mist-like precipitation which appears innocuous to the unwary but soaks everything. Anyway, central Edinburgh – George Street, Rose Street, Princes Street – took on an apocalyptic aspect.

I have been in Paris in similar conditions, and the locals continue to look chic despite the wet. I have also been in German cities in the same circumstances, and even in – God help me – the American Midwest, where the rain stoats off the road like shrapnel when a storm passes through.

None of these are close to replicating the miserable dystopia of Edinburgh in summer rain. Glum gadgies pull their hoodies over their heads, and girls who should have known better clearly regret their choice of micro skirt and crop top as they get soaked to the skin. Nothing glamorous about being drookit in Scotland on a typical Saturday night.

I’ll spare you the details of my train journey back to the park and ride where I hade left my car. Suffice to say the train was rammed to the gunnels with more neds, jakeys, and ne-er-do-wells that had only recently infested the streets of our not-so-fair capital city. It was a relief to get off and reach the safety of my car.

But the whole experience got my thinking. Why is it that we seem to accept such poor levels of service and behaviour? Dirty streets, bellowing drunks, low standards across the board.

And you know what the answer is? It’s because we have let it happen. Middle Scotland, however you might wish to define it, has allowed the country to be ruled by an inept, incapable, and intellectually challenged  sub-genre drawn largely from a section of society which has never been taught what proper standards are. Those who should be running Scotland prefer to spend their time on the golf course than become involved in public service. Our Victorian ancestors must be birlin’ in their graves.

As the celebrated Plato (no, not the great Brazilian Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher) once said; “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors”.

Couldn’t have put it better myself. And, if you want proof of his words, just visit any major Scottish city on a Friday or Saturday night. Those in government, both national and local, are just not up to the job. Don’t you think it’s time to do something about it?

If you appreciated this article please share and follow us on Twitter here – and like and comment on facebook here. Help support ThinkScotland publishing these articles by making a donation here.

Photo of Edinburgh in the rain by Iurii Sokolov  from Adobe Stock


Weekly Trending

Scroll to Top