SCOTLAND’S cities are “overrated” and the capital is “filthy” according to the outgoing boss of the Scotch Whisky Association.
Englishman David Frost also accused Scots of underrating their countryside.
The former ambassador reserved his strongest criticism for Edinburgh, saying his memories would be of overflowing bins and filthy streets that are clogged up with recycling bins.
Mr Frost, who is leaving his role at the SWA this weekend to become special advisor to foreign secretary Boris Johnson, praised Glasgow for its “zest for life” adding that it had “enough get up and go to succeed with new powers through devolution”.
The 51-year-old, originally from Derby, gave the scathing opinion today (FRI) after living and working in Edinburgh for the past three years.
Mr Frost wrote: “What does the Englishman take back to London with him from his time north of the border?
“My perhaps controversial conclusion is that Scotland’s cities are overrated and it’s countryside underrated.
“Edinburgh ‘The Athens of the North’, has amazing scenery, extraordinary history and huge attractions but so do other cities.
“My memories of Edinburgh are not just images of the castle or the New Town but sadly also filthy streets, overflowing bins, and Georgian terraces ruined by endless brightly coloured recycling skips.”
He added in his newspaper column: “Of Princes Street, which should be the most beautiful street in Europe, permanently clogged by buses and littered with street furniture.
“An airport where you can arrive from London in an hour but then take half an hour by bus from the aircraft to the terminal.
“I remain baffled, like the tourists pulling their suitcases along princes Street, by a tram system with no stop at the main railway station, or by how Edinburgh planners have pulled off the difficult trick of making the city unfriendly to cars and pedestrians at the same time.”
Mr Frost, who has also served as the UK’s ambassador to Denmark, went on to say how Edinburgh should be the “jewel in the crown” but it is in need of polishing.
He added: “This won’t be good enough in future. Outside the EU, our country will need to be ruthlessly focused on competitive strengths.
“Some of the islands of population in thinly populated hinterlands, places like Perth, Stirling, Dumfries, need investment desperately.
“The experience of Inverness or Elgin is more encouraging, and, for its problems, Glasgow with its zest for life, big city feel has enough get-up-and-go succeed with new powers through devolution.”
Council Leader, Councillor Andrew Burns said: “All successful international cities also face significant challenges and we are always engaging with the public to find out how we can improve our services. ”
He added: “Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live, work and visit – our latest People Survey showed satisfaction with life in the capital at an all time high, backed up by numerous accolades demonstrating its excellent quality of living and status as a world-class tourist destination.
“I believe Edinburgh offers the best of everything as the home of Hogmanay, spectacular architecture, great museums and the biggest arts festival in the world.”
Mr Frost became CEO of the Scottish Whisky Association back in January 2014 before announcing last month he would be moving to London to take up his new foreign affairs role.
The company’s purpose is to promote, protect and represent the interests of the whisky industry in Scotland and around the world.
SWA’s members represent over 95% of Scotch whisky production, which encompasses over 2,500 brands around the world.