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As I See It: Week in Review

Hampden and Virgin get the week buzzing

Sir Richard Branson unveiled plans for an Edinburgh hotel

Terry smiling headThe past week has seen upheaval at Hampden…the end of the road for the walk-on girls…a tycoon giving parliament a finger-wagging…and some ups and downs for the hotels industry..





The Ayrshire restaurant chain Buzzworks kicked off the week on a positive note and said it was looking for more opportunities in the east…while Aberdeen Football Club was celebrating after councillors backed the club’s planned move. However, this one looks like going into extra time as a group of opponents call for a judicial review.

Edinburgh said it expected to become the first local authority in Britain to impose a tax on tourists, saying it would raise £15m a year which would help pay for the festivals and other events. However, hotels were unhappy at the plan, arguing that they would be targeted. They have a point. How would shops distinguish between tourists and residents? How would it work for tram, bus and taxi fares? There is more to be said on this one.


Tycoon Jim McColl had a lot to say about economic planning, telling a Holyrood parliament committee that the advice service needs a shake up and warning against setting up a ‘half-cooked’ national investment bank.

Shares in the outsourcing firm Capita crashed after a profits warning, causing investors to fear a repeat of the Carillion crisis. However, there were assurances that it was in much better shape.

In what looked like the week’s understatement, the BBC published a report on the gender pay gap from PwC saying the corporation’s approach to setting pay in general “has been far from perfect”. It came as the Scottish government pledged a new law to ensure that women make up at least half of the membership of public boards.

There was a buzz of a different sort in London as a leaked report prepared for the Department for Exiting the EU revealed that Britain would be worse off, whatever deal it secured. The report was published by the news website Buzzfeed…and prompted more concern about the lack of direction from Number 10.

Back in Glasgow, there was a similar sense of drift emanating from the Scottish Football Association over its future. Would it be staying at its ancestral home Hampden Park or moving to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby? The most critical opponents were not sure which was worse: the switch of sporting venue or the move from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

While football’s administrators were pondering the future, those who run darts decided that the famous ‘walk on girls’ were now out of place in equality Britain. One who was interviewed on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams show regretted the decision and said it had been a “huge privilege to take part”, never having felt she had been “objectified”. Asked what the job entailed, she replied: “All you are doing is escorting the players to the oche. You stand for a couple of minutes, you smile and then you walk off.”

“Right…okay,” said a seemingly unimpressed Ms Adams.


There was something inevitable about a delay to replacing the Ross Bandstand in Edinburgh’s Princes St Gardens. Such has been the wait that no one would have been surprised at behind the scenes wrangling over who will be responsible for repair and maintenance of the new structure…if it is ever built. No one yet seems to have asked why it is intended to build a hobbit-style structure when any big performance (New Year, Sleep in the Park) requires a much larger stage than the one proposed….

Across the city, Derek Mackay won support for his draft Budget after managing to sneak in another tax rise for those on the higher band.


Hampden again…only this time the private bank of the same name which reported that it had exceeded its capital raising target.

Sir Richard Branson announced he would be bringing the first Virgin Hotel in Britain to Edinburgh, thus reigniting another controversy, this time over the long-running objections to the plans for converting the historic India Buildings.

Onwards to the reception for finalists in the Scottish Property Awards, held at the Marriott Courtyard hotel in Baxters Place, Edinburgh. It was notable for being an almost male-only event, apart from the ‘walk-on girls’ who were handing out name tags and drinks.

The evening earlier sparked to life with an announcement that Barrhead Travel, fresh from a round of shop openings, had been acquired by a US firm…and yet more news from Hampden as news emerged that under-pressure SFA chief executive Stewart Regan had decided to spend more time tending his own turf.


Small firms body the FSB announced it would be calling on the UK government to sort out Scotland’s poor mobile phone service.….

And the week ended much as it had begun with the Official Receiver announcing that 377 staff at Carillion would be laid off.

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