I THINK it is time to strip Edinburgh of its status as Scotland’s capital.

I’m sure every Glaswegian reading this immediately sat bolt upright and ­starting thinking “aye, here we go, it’s finally ­Glasgow’s time to shine”.

But sorry Glasgow; I also dinnae think yous should be the capital city either. ­Nowhere should be.

Let me explain.

The Edinburgh Festival threatens to bring back its big mad machine at full rev this summer. And I cannae imagine anything that this crumbling, ­overwhelmed wreck of a toon needs less than three million ­boisterous Scots and internationals battering up and doon the vennels and parades, jostling for pints and tickets to a hundred-thousand outings.

I love the festival, and I absolutely love Edinburgh. But I look at the bow-backit auld city around me and sense that it just cannae cope wi what’s coming.

I lived here 10 years ago, and the place was ­struggling then. It’s had nae relief since.

Auld Reekie has been taxed well beyond its ­capacity. And we must lighten its burden soon or ­suffer consequences. The capital status is a big part of its problems. Remove that, and we can let the place flourish once again, in clearer air.

“Capital” indicates the concentration of power and of function.

The National:

Edinburgh is the political capital, of course, with Holyrood and big hunks of the civil service based here. Just a few hundred yards away fae the ­parliament is the Edinburgh City Cooncil ­building, with its highly-paid highheidyins and the many ­hundreds toiling ­beneath them. Above that ­building, up on Calton Hill, lurks the squat colonial filing ­cabinet of St Andrew house, home to 1400 civil ­servants. The UK Government has their big office at New Waverly nearby too.

The parliamentarians, government workers, civil servants mob the city in their thousands as do the attendant circus of media, lobbyists and guests that gather around the power of these offices. They cram the trains. They jam up the buses. They light a ­rocket under the housing market.

This is too much. Edinburgh is too small to cope.

Only half a million folk live here, more or less. That’s positively pocket-sized for a capital. ­Whenever Scotland gets round to voting itself independent, ­Edinburgh will be the 127th most populous national capital on earth. That’s tens of thousands less than Villnus in Lithuania and nearly a full 100,000 less than Latvia’s Riga. Both of those nations have ­populations far smaller than our own. Our Nordic pals Sweden, Finland and Denmark all attach capital status to far more populous cities.

Despite this small size, Edinburgh is rammed. Leith is one of the most densely populated places in the entirety of the UK.

We shouldn’t start and end with politics. ­Capital status, and the aching weight which it puts on ­Edinburgh, goes far beyond that.

The area around parliament, the totty wee square acre of Scotia, also houses Holyrood Palace, very much making Edinburgh the Royal Capital of ­Scotland. It’s the financial capital, too. The financial services in the city are vast, and combined make our current capital the fourth largest financial centre in Europe, and 12th in the world. Money and monarchs abound.

It’s arguably also the cultural capital. The ­multitudes of theatres, national library, Scottish ­Poetry Library, Scottish Storytelling ­Centre, national museum, movie studios, national galleries, book fests and music fests and academic gaitherins and just about anything else you can think of that involves brought folk, creatives and ­vibrant living is here.

It’s certainly the tourist capital.

The upshot of all this hyper concentration in a tiny place is clear to see. Flats are unaffordable, and landlords take the piss by subdividing homes into increasingly small units. Driving is difficult and the public bus routes borderline unusable on busy days: 90 minutes to cross the city is not unknown.

So, that’s the problem. And here’s my solution: Let’s fragment our capital, and split up the responsibilities of capitalness to several cities.

Scotland has a unique opportunity here. Our population is hyper-concentrated around the Central Belt. With Dunfermline’s ­recent upgrade, we now have four cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Stirling – within less than an hour of one another.

An hour’s travel is significantly less than it takes to cross Edinburgh by public transport during busy moments.

These cities already serve partially as dormitory towns. Let’s empower them to be the horcruxes about which the spirit of state is split.

Let’s start with the political capital. We should look to offload much of the civil servant strain on services and ­property from Edinburgh to, say, Stirling. This would have benefits for all.

The National: Garden of the week: Queen Anne Gardens, Stirling Castle

For the more junior civil servants, their money would go further in ­Stirling, and they could realistically get on the ­property ladder. For the Scottish ­Government, the income from renting out the civil ­servants’ offices to private agencies would be a ­welcome boost to ease strained ­budgets. For folk actually fae Edinburgh, it would reduce ­somewhat the scramble for ­property that forces many to leave their nascent city.

More daring would be moving City of Edinburgh Council’s offices to ­Livingston or similar. The amount saved on rent, ­salaries and expenses would be ­monumental. Edinburgh Cooncil is notorious for paying huge salaries to its bosses. This is justified perhaps by local property rates. Moving them out of the city would allow a significant cut to these salaries without impacting the quality of life for these doubtless worthy ­leaders. The wear and tear on infrastructure as these thousands of bodies disappear from Waverley and the bus system every day would be significant.

Aberdeenshire Council already has its base outwith its own council region – it’s based in Aberdeen – so there is a ­precedent.

Edinburgh can remain our ­official ­political capital, and once we’re ­independent it can be the place that other countries have their embassies. But the actual day to day business of state can happen elsewhere.

A good example of this proposed setup is Switzerland.

Switzerland already splits its capital city status between several centres. Bern occupies the role of political capital, as that’s where the government sits. But other cities operate as principal financial centres, tourist centres, cultural centres.

The Royal Capital for example, let’s make that Dunfermline. There’s a ­connection there, in that Robert The Bruce is laid to rest at Dunfermline ­Abbey. The tourists that generally do travel in numbers to visit monarchic ­paraphernalia would happily cross the Forth and take their money with them to spend in our newest city.

Dunfermline Palace, I admit, needs more than a lick of paint before it’s ready to host a royal overnighter, but the ­palace and Abbey would make a beautiful ­setting for their annual garden party.

The financial capital could well be ­encouraged towards Dundee. The raison d’etre of Edinburgh’s financial concentration was the relative affordability of rent and housing compared to London, plus a good pool of graduates. These things are no longer true. Let’s induce them to take over the many as-yet unlet sites around the V&A in Dundee. It would be a ­visually striking and affordable ­transformation.

Perth has something cool coming. The Stone of Destiny will be centre stage in a new attraction in the town centre. This’ll link well with the excellent Bannockburn visitor centre down the road, and really help to drag visitors north.

Glasgow and Edinburgh will ever ­remain our joint cultural capitals. ­Between the Hydro and Usher Hall, the Garage and the Traverse Theatre, we’ve got world-class venues and enthusiastic audiences for every touring musician, comedian and speaker civilisation has to offer.

Now that we finally own the trains we can work towards shuttling services back and forth to the local cities with such frequency, and at all hours, to ­effectively eliminate the separation between them. Dinner in Edinburgh, a show and a ­nightclub in Glasgow, a train back to the hotel in Stirling.

Inverness is sitting pretty. It is growing at 20%, with its urban spaces barging out into countryside and battlefield alike. It is the Highland Capital, undisputed, and long may it reign. The plan to spread capitalness outwith Edinburgh, and the resultant investment in trains, will ­ensure that the rest of Scotland is less cut off from the compact but beautiful city on the River Ness.

The advantages are many.

Edinburgh’s festivals can land every summer and be beloved universally, for they will no longer be one more pressure on top of a weary city; they will be the great spectacles they are intended to be.

The economic spend and spread of each aspect of capitalness – royal, ­financial, political – will help fuel life in our ­cities, and prevent the trend of them being ­hollowed out into commuter suburbs for Edinburgh.

Workers spend less time commuting, as they can live nearer their work, which is largely unmanageable in crammed ­Edinburgh.

It is bright sunlit uplands for all.

The National: ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 05: A general street view on August 5, 2020 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon acted swiftly and put Aberdeen back into lockdown after cases of Coronavirus in the city doubled in a day to 54.

Aberdeen does need thrown a bone, however. I like the idea of the city ­continuing to earn its moniker as “energy capital of Europe” in a post-oil world by leading the renewable manufacturing and installation of turbines etc. But I think the great Granite City deserves more. I’d be tempted to make it the fine art capital.

As oil declines, as rents fall and as ­spacious industrial units come up for rent en masse, it could easily become a haven for Scottish and European artists. The newly reopened art gallery there is ­certainly European class, and it would be a simple sell to relocate at least a large ­portion of the National ­Galleries ­collections there to supplement an ­already excellent offer.

You can see in the Nuart & Spektra festivals what appetite and appreciation there is in that airt. And painters like Joan Eardley, working at Catterline have hinted at the infinite potential of the north-east light as source.

It might seem a cruelty to strip ­Edinburgh of its capital status. I don’t see it that way. We made it capital when the parliament re-sat in 1999. Since then the nation’s flourished to such an extent that we’ve outgrown this bonnie old place. ­ ­Either our development will be hemmed in by its walls, or it will be destroyed as we expand from within it. The latter is what is currently happening.

Let’s save this city, by stripping it of capital status.