Edinburgh City

Key Statistics

Municipalities: 1 (Unitary)
Largest Settlement: Edinburgh
Municipal Councillors: 85

Municipality Description

As the capital and second largest city, I obviously don’t need to justify Edinburgh’s continued existence as its own City Council. Under these proposals it’s totally unchanged from the existing Council, which itself was the same as the District from the 1973 Act. What differentiates it from the previous two-tier setup is its unitary status.

Although Edinburgh is clearly the centre of the wider Lothian area, in population terms it’s completely dominant. It’d have 58% of the population of a Lothian Region, had I opted for one. Even if that was expanded slightly to Lothian and the Borders, it’s still 51% and thus the majority of the area. Its weight on a Regional Council would be somewhat less, but it still strikes me as too big to comfortably sit within a wider Region. As much as that then makes the organisation of the remaining Lothian area complex, I felt like doing the same as Glasgow and leaving it as a Unitary Authority was justified, with necessary wider work done cooperatively with surrounding municipalities rather than formally via a Region.

Unlike Glasgow, Edinburgh is mostly separated from the surrounding area. The only place considered to have merged into the overall Edinburgh urban area that’s outside the current City boundaries is Musselburgh, which I’m obviously unwilling to annex. In fact, similar to Aberdeen, Edinburgh goes in the other direction and has drawn in areas that haven’t merged into the bulk of the city.

Under the 1973 Act, portions of the Mid and West Lothian counties were added to Edinburgh. Balerno and Currie in the southern end of the Midlothian section have, by now, joined up with Edinburgh, whereas Ratho and Newbridge in the northern part haven’t. From West Lothian, Kirkliston and the former Burgh of South Queensferry also remain detached from the main city.

I briefly toyed with the idea of taking them back out, but they don’t really fit neatly into any of the West Lothian Districts, and I’ve done enough damage to the Lothians already. Plus, I didn’t want to get Leithers started with their whole “we’re a different place to Edinburgh, we’re a Burgh too!” Look, Leith, the only reason you get to make like you’re still a different place is because you’ve got a port. Govan would claim not to be Glasgow if it had one.

As with capital cities worldwide, Edinburgh is politically highly diverse. It already has sizeable groups from all five main parties, all of whom were in double figures in terms of votes in 2017, and translating that to the larger council the formula calls for here gives them all double figures in terms of seats too.

Notably this is the only city in the country where the Conservatives are in the lead, though it’s extremely narrow. In the real election, STV meant they came a seat behind the SNP, but that’s reversed here. Similarly the position of the Lib Dems and Greens is reversed compared to reality, with a simple city-wide list accurately giving the former more seats than the latter.