2007 - 2021

Easter Rising

This Wednesday the Citizen project launches at the Storytelling Centre, High Street, Edinburgh.

Where: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR
When: 16:00 – 18:00 Wednesday 24 April, 2019

Bella is part of the emerging network that aims to change the way we understand the city.

The group has evolved after years of frustration and anger at the state of Edinburgh and look to radical alternatives from elsewhere about how we manage housing, local democracy, social justice and public space.

The Scotsman covers the launch here.

The group issued the following statement:

“On Wednesday we’re launching a new network of individuals, campaigns and community groups organising to defend the city of Edinburgh against speculators and developers, corruption and negligence; against the rampant growth model that guides every single decision; against the hollowing-out of the city centre and the endless prioritisation of the rich against the poor, the transient against the permanent and the “selling” and “marketing” that seems to have become the essential element of civic governance.

We’re against the grinding force of gentrification and social cleansing; the seizure and privatisation of public space; and the lack of public housing and the funneling of vast sums of private rent – whether in short-term or long-term lets – into the hands of a rentier class whose coffers are swollen on the misery of others.

This isn’t a capital city it’s a city of capital disfigured by exploitation.

It doesn’t have to be like this.

We’re kick-starting a process of Re-imagining the City – creating a year long process of re-envisaging Edinburgh as a sustainable place for people to live in, one of social justice and equality, not just a space for consumption and profit.We’ll be hosting monthly face-to-face organising meetings, large-scale public events on the key issues of the city, and creating a positive alternative for change.

On Wednesday we’ll be revealing more of our programme, launching our website and inviting others to join us. Representatives of the network will present the Aims of the group and reveal some of the events planned for the coming months including a conference on the housing crisis in Edinburgh and an event exploring the cultural problems of the city, including the festival and its impact.”

Come join us:

The event will be followed by a reception to celebrate the projects launch.

Where: Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43-45 High St, Edinburgh EH1 1SR

When: 16:00 – 18:00 Wednesday 24 April, 2019

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Comments (26)

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  1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

    I’m not sure what this has to do with the ‘Easter Rising’ which will celebrate its 103rd Anniversary on the 24th April and which eventually led to Ireland (26 Counties) becoming an Independent Self Governing Republic in the EU.

    1. JimRitchie3 says:

      I agree Charles, the title is very misleading.

    2. You really dont need to be so literal – it has nothing to do with Ireland.

      Feel free to engage with the issues raised by the group …

      1. Charles L. Gallagher says:

        Sorry to disagree Ed, in these times of ‘Fake News’, Misinformation and out-and-out lies in the MSM we need to be very careful about ‘Titles/Headlines’ etc, we need to be exact and leave no room for misinterpretation, especially by yoons looking for every opportunity to cause trouble.

        To me and many, many others the title ‘Easter Rising’ is synonymous with the start of the Rebellion that set Ireland FREE.

        1. Robert says:

          Yeah, and to others it means the rising of Christ from the tomb. Are you going to chuck out this idea because it’s only appealing to Christians?
          It sounds like a fantastic initiative to me. Can’t make it to the launch but I will definitely be keeping an eye on what they’re doing.

        2. Okay well, as Ive already explained its just a pun.

          I repeat – any comment about the actual content of the project would be very welcome.

      2. Robbie says:

        Agree with you entirley Ed,and it’s not only the capital where this is happening where greed and opportunity comes before anything , Ithink it was in Macmillan’s time fxxk you Jack I,m alright and it’s getting worse

  2. Ray Burnett says:

    Charles, I understand the point you make but ironically there is a much more pertinent link between the 1916 Easter Rising and the commendable Edinburgh campaign to ‘Reclaim the City’ than you may think. Have a read of the article linked below to see what I mean. It also appeared in Bella but I don’t seem to be able to copy the link. Anyway the OTDT version includes the relevant old pic.


    1. Dougie says:

      Ray Burnett, many thanks for introducing some younger Bella readers to the indelible connection between Connolly and the capital. I mind weel my auld frien Jock Henry, when he was secretary of Edinburgh Trades Cooncil, and then Deputy General Secretary of the STUC, telling me of the Trades Cooncil’s efforts to have Connolly’s name commemorated in the city by the erection of a plaque in the Coogait in I think the 1970s. If my failing memory tells me right, the first plaque was removed, he presumed (or mibbe knew) by some rightwing deluded Orange person, and was then replaced… but I think the second plaque was also removed.

      So Embra had an indirect key role in the Easter Rising. I concur with those who feel that the title of this otherwise fine piece in Bella could have been better, as the piece itself fails to mention the connection you point out. Mibbe it’s time for a new Coogait plaque, so citizens and visitors understand Embra’s link to the struggle for Irish independence.

    2. Daisy Carnegie says:

      Speaking of puns, Let There Be Light, the motto above the entrance to Edinburgh’s first free public library gifted by Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1890 is about to have its natural lighting, something it was designed to maximise, extinguished for good by a massive hotel development now owned by a greylisted tax haven Guernsey-registered India Buildings Ltd.

      The time really is now for City of Edinburgh Council to revoke planning consent for India Buildings 15/04445/FUL on the basis that the 82% reduction of daylighting to Central Library is unacceptable, and so not just a lesson to be learnt, but a mistake to be put right.

      Similarly, the sale of common good land, arguably inalienable, as it was acquired principally for the library: its setting; and, its future expansion needs, needs to be overturned. Why should Edinburgh’s citizens, library-users, and lovers of its cultural heritage pay for the incompetence of its councillors?


  3. James MacDonald says:

    I’ve seen several announcements of this event, but none of them state the TIME of it apart from the very bottom of the long article above. For those of us who don’t possess portable hand-held computers this can be problematic. Can I suggest that the time be displayed along with the place and date at the top of all notifications? That’s always a wise policy when promoting events: Put the time, the place and the date together at the very top.

    1. I’m sorry its difficult to read to the bottom of a 355 word article, but I’ll update it and put the details at the top.

      Any comments about the actual content of the project would be very welcome.

  4. Michele Hipwell says:

    Will be interested in taking part.

    Michele Hipwell

  5. Gerry Reilly says:

    Important discussion. How about stopping Airbnb and Uber? The council won’t do it so how?

  6. Robert says:

    Sounds brilliant. We did something like this in our neighbourhood in Bilbao when I was living there 15 years ago, and it helped a very marginalised community have an unexpectedly great influence on the future plans for the area. If you’re interested you can read more here:


  7. Andrew says:

    To me the biggest challenge facing Edinburgh is that so many people want to live here now. The city can’t possibly accommodate them all, so what do we do? It’s not reasonable to expect massive investment in social housing just so that people don’t need to live in East/west/mid Lothian.

    1. Yeah the people that live here want to live here. Can you remind me why ‘social housing’ (or what used to be called ‘housing’) isnt possible?

      Can you tell me where you live, and I’ll ell you where you’re going to be re-located? This is the reality many people face.

      1. Andrew says:

        There’s plenty of scope for more housing, and I totally support that. But how can you provide enough for everyone who would like to live here? Thousands commutefrom Fife, West Lothian and elsewhere, but most would rather not.

        1. Yes – huge swaths of housing was built with the assumption of jobs in Edinburgh that didn’t appear. The problem is not just housing.

  8. david black says:

    This is a long overdue initiative but should focus on the prevailing issues. Edinburgh’s problems are less about gentrification than about the steamroller of corporate global capitalism taking over the economy. The council estate I was brought up on could have done with a bit of gentrification in the form of a few doctors and schoolteachers living in the place, frankly. Social cleansing on the other hand is a continuing curse, epitomised by an out-of-control expansionist university which destroyed a community in the 1960s and continues to do so today. The cancer of student ghetto accommodation making big profits for outside investors and sovereign wealth funds is a much bigger problem than gentrification, and is not a benefit either for students or for the rest of us. The scourge of Airbnb has nothing to do with gentrification either. This should be about the citizen, regardless of class, race, gender, or politics, standing up for the rights of the community against a morally corrupt council and the global forces which are destroying our civic environment.

    1. Katia says:

      Yes I agree re. gentrification. I guess it depends on how people define it.
      If anything I would say it is often lead by the residents themselves and is more a social classes issue. Some young professionals being priced out and moving further afield will likely be more well off than other locals there. They want and can afford cafes with their brique walls, industrial lighting, wifi and chia seeds smoothies (and good coffee at £3). Then probably ensue a link with AirBnB.
      Once upon a time, off Leith Walk was this ‘further afield’. Good luck now without 20% cash on top of mortgage deposit.

  9. Fraser Serle says:

    Look forward to hearing more. I am unable to attend the launch. How does one sign up to get updates?

  10. David Somervell says:

    Dear Mike and co
    Please share the URL for the new website … I forgot to not it down. And how we can send information for sharing about events that associated members can post and about where to send short summary descriptions of the member organisations. Many thanks, David Somervell, Transition Edinburgh [email protected]

    1. Hi David the Citizen website is here: https://reimaginingthecity.scot/ – and contact is here: Reimaginingthecity Info

  11. Jane says:

    This initiative is much needed and I was very heartened to hear your plans and see your long list of aims. The “don’t agonise, organise” comment I made drawing from Saul Alinsky is really pertinent here – ( or maybe don’t bluster – muster!!).
    The discussion last night showed how important it will be to untangle the key issues and prioritise what the network should focus on. I also hope that you will include all kinds of groups and organisations and even politicians/officials sometimes to get a real handle on their context and constraints rather than off the cuff negative comments which don’t progress much! Groups coming together to share their experiences – good and bad can be a useful process?

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