Thursday, April 01, 2010

Name-swap to boost Council-coffers??

The Lib-Dem/SNP Coalition Council have gone too far this time - not to be content with privatising vast swathes of the Local Authority, affecting literally thousands of Council jobs, they've now decided to seek sponsorship for one of Edinburgh's most historic landmarks!

The News Release below has just arrived in my in-box:

A historic landmark in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town is set to be renamed as part of a multi-million pound sponsorship deal being considered by Council officials.

The city's Mercat Cross would become known as the 'Meerkat Cross', after the talking Russian meerkat, Aleksandr Orlov, star of an advertising campaign for Compare the Market – a price comparison website. The furry founder of was recently spotted filming the latest installment of the campaign in Bakehouse Close, just off the Royal Mile, and is said to have fallen in love with the Old Town.

Originally a place where merchants would gather, and later the focal point for popular public events such as hangings, the Mercat Cross is still used for important ceremonial announcements, including the calling of general elections and the succession of new monarchs. Indeed, assuming a General Election is called for 6th May, Lord Lyon King of Arms will read a Royal Proclamation to declare the Dissolution of the Westminster Parliament from the Mercat Cross on 13th April.

Finance convener, Cllr Phil Wheeler, said: "Over the past couple of months, councils up and down the country have faced some of the most difficult financial challenges experienced in living memory as they set their budgets for the coming year. Edinburgh is no different and, if we are to balance the books, we must be innovative in our approach and remain open to new ideas, however outlandish they may seem.

"Our Old Town already enjoys global appeal but I think quirky arrangements such as these can only add to that - while providing a welcome boost to Council coffers. We'd be fools to pass up this fantastic opportunity."

A meerkat close to Orlov added: "One of Aleksandr's great and courageous ancestors, Greatgrandfatherkat Sandy, lived in Scotchland and I think he have great pride in his clan."


Notes to editors:

1. A mercat cross is a market cross found in Scottish cities and towns where trade and commerce was a part of economic life. It was originally a place where merchants would gather, and later became the focal point of many town events such as executions, announcements and proclamations. Despite the name, the typical mercat cross is not actually cruciform - variations range from a short pole stuck in the ground to the grand pillar rising out of the "cross house" in Edinburgh. There is still part of the original 14th century cross built into the shaft of the existing 1885 Mercat Cross which stands to this day.

2. The meerkat, a small mammal, is a member of the mongoose family. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a "mob", "gang" or "clan". A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members.


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