UNESCO, the United Nations’ (that august body that Bush and Blair normally ignore) cultural arm have given our lovely city of Edinburgh the first ever award as the first ever City of Literature. Coming on the Old and New Town’s status several years ago of World Heritage Sites it is a huge coup and a remarkable honour. The city’s literary history – how many other cities boast a monument to one of their most world renown writers that towers a couple of hundred feet? – combined with recent history with writers as diverse as Ian Rankin, Muriel Spark, Iain Banks and Irvine Welsh along with the Scottish Poetry Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Scottish Book Trust and, of course, the Edinburgh International Book Festival have fused together to garner this first ever issue of this honour. As a lifelong reader, professional bookseller, reviewer and someone who has used these to try and support writers and increase awareness of good writing I’m totally thrilled that Edinburgh has been chosen. Obviously I am totally biased, but in my opinion it is quite deserved and reflects well not only on the city but all of Scotland.
Just a shame the wankers in charge of London’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games are now blaming a lack of support from Scotland as one of the reasons their bid may falter. Er, what exactly have we got to do with it? Every time a world event like this is proposed it is always for London, which is hundreds of miles away from most folk in England let alone those of us fortunat enough to reside in Caledonia. If another Olympics is held in London its not going to mean much to folk in the North of England and even less to Scots, so why should we be enthused about it exactly? Huge amounts of the UK taxpayer’s funds will be used for something that will not impact on most of the UK, so again why would we care about it coming here? And more to the point, since we are not involved in it, how can our lack of enthusiasm affect it? Or are the London mob just rehearsing excuses if they fail in their bid? So nice of them to share these sour grapes with us on the day the Scottish capital was honoured.