Peace in our time! Combatants in the long-running Edinburgh tram wars are negotiating a Christmas Armistice. The Council is promising that Edinburgh’s Princes Street will be cleared by next week. Rejoice! Rejoice! Citizens have been out waving saltires and offering their daughters to the flourescent liberators mopping up the remains of the German resistance.
It has been tin hats time for plucky Edinburgh folk for most of the year, ever since heavy units of the Bilfinger Tramm Corps blitzed much of the centre of the capital city. The central thoroughfare of Princes Street was almost totally destroyed by crack sturm-arbeiter who seized vital supply lines cutting the city in half and making movement almost impossible. The enemy also laid waste to much of Granton and Leith Walk, while traffic through the crucial Shandwick Place corridor was halted during daylight hours. Pack animals were imported from Eastern Europe to help with the movement of essential supplies.
Yes, there’s been heavy pounding across this once gay city that will never be forgotten. Princes Street, it’s historic heart, still presents a sorry face, with huge craters where once proud Edinburgh matrons paraded in their fur coats, luxuriating in their lack of underwear. Where pawky wee squaddies danced their jigs and reels on furlough from Edinburgh Castle. Where bonus bankers calculated their pension deals in the armchairs of the Edinburgh New Club. Now all that’s left is rubble and memories. Open drains and shattered power lines where once the Edinburgh Festival brought joy to millions every summer.
Can this once noble city ever recover from such devastation? The cost of the damage is almost incalculable. The shining rails that were supposed to be knit this sprawling city into a metropolitan powerhouse now look like a forlorn dream. On top of the £600 million in lost transport infrastructure there’s the revenue lost from what used to be one of the prime commercial districts of Britain. Some say it is time to take a wrecking ball to the entire city – to raze the memories of the tram wars, and try to start anew.
But it’ll take more than a few holes in the roads to break the spirit of Edinburgh folk, who have put up with almost unbearable hardships in the war effort. Road blocks and barricades litter the city. People wander around as if in a daze unable to comprehend the scale of the disaster that has hit them during long months of hostilities. The once bustling commercial and financial centre stands virtually silent.
Can it really be true that the war is over! There have been so many false dawns, so many promises broken. But still they dare to dream Edinburgh is sure of one thing: as the City buries its dead, it won’t pay the Bertie Bilfingers a penny of their reparation demands. Plucky little Edinburgh will fight to the last town councillor,