EVERYTHING local authorities do they tend to do badly - and expensively. In an otherwise handsome city, the really grotty bits of Edinburgh are created by our local authority. The two obvious examples are the soul-crushing council estates and the blight of planning by which large parts of the city are kept in squalor.
My ideal local authority would have no more than three employees: A manager to put everything out to tender; a lawyer to check the contract details and a book-keeper to pay the dividend out to every citizen.
There may be a few core functions that the City would retain, but even ceremonial ones seem better organised by anyone other than the city fathers. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Hogmanay Party are now world famous, but were created in the teeth of opposition from the then- councillors. They even objected to the Edinburgh Festival, complaining of the nudity and the extra queues for the trams.
Almost every municipal service could be provided far more efficiently if it was delivered by competitive tendering. Refuse collection is far better done by contractors at street level, not via a mega-monopoly, city-wide contract. Refuse is highly valuable if graded and recycling helps us make our environment better. Municipal Man treats it jus