SCOTLAND’s “outstanding” events give us a reason to be hopeful, former first minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

In her latest column for the Glasgow Times, the former SNP leader said that despite Tory mismanagement, the lingering impact of the pandemic, and a whole host of other issues including the climate crisis - the UCI Cycling Championship and Edinburgh Fringe should make Scots “optimistic”.

Sturgeon admitted that while there are “downsides” and some locals will question the value of the events dominating both cities during the summer months, but insisted they promote a “positive image of Scotland that they project to the world”.

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The Glasgow Southside MSP said that the events will deliver value “both short and long term”.

“There is plenty to worry about, for sure,” Sturgeon wrote. “But, perhaps especially at times like these, it is important to recognise the reasons to be optimistic – and these have not been in short supply over the past few weeks.

“Whether here in Glasgow or at the other end of the M8 in Edinburgh, we have been reminded of what an attractive country Scotland is and how much we have to offer.”

The UCI Cycling World Championships have been an “outstanding success” the SNP MSP said, adding that few cities “do it better” than Glasgow when it comes to hosting events, noting that an estimated one billion people tuned in worldwide.

The National: Belgium's Wout van Aert (left) during the Men's Elite Road Race on day four of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow. Picture date: Sunday August 6, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story CYCLING World. Photo credit should read: Tim Goode/PA

She said: “The 10-day championship will have brought millions of pounds of revenue to the city and boosted the hotels, restaurants and shops that are still struggling to fully recover from the disruption of Covid.

“Less easy to measure, but surely considerable, will be the extent to which people have been encouraged to get on their own bikes, with all the physical and mental health benefits that brings.

“There is still a way to go but Glasgow, with developments like the South City Way through my own constituency, is becoming a better place for cyclists.

“So, all in all the UCI Cycling World Championships have been a massive success – and a real tribute to the hard work of all those in Glasgow City Council and other agencies who made it possible.”

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The former first minister did note that some residents may question the value of such events, as it caused disruption with road closures, congestion and “general inconvenience”.

She added: “But overall, these events are good for the city, and we should be proud of the positive image of Scotland that they project to the world.

“It really does deliver value, both short and long term.”
The National: File photo dated 13/08/17 of a general view of crowds down Edinburgh's Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The Edinburgh Festivals will receive a £10 million boost over the next five years, the First Minister has announced. PRESS ASSOC

Sturgeon pointed out there are also “mixed views” about the Edinburgh Festivals now in swing on the east coast, but the impact on the economy is “immense”.

“It is no exaggeration to say that during the month of August, Edinburgh is the cultural capital of the world and that is something to be proud of and celebrate,” she added.

“So, amidst the many challenges the country is grappling with just now, there are also many reasons to be cheerful.”