THE Edinburgh International Festival has much with which to share the limelight in this of all years, but outgoing director Sir Jonathan Mills deserves a round of applause for coming up with a fascinating programme for a curtain call that will demand global attention.

Sir Jonathan has sought to confound his critics by taking a sideways look at the ideas of independence and nationhood in a line-up that includes historical plays about medieval Scotland - the much-anticipated Rona Munro plays concerning the lives of James I, II and III - art installations about racism and colonialism, and ruminations on war and conflict.

He has done what an artistic director ought to do, and presented us with a programme that is controversial, eclectic and full of talking points.

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During his tenure, he has consolidated the EIF's position as the world's foremost arts festival. And crucially, his successor, Fergus Linehan, inherits an organisation that is in robust financial health.

With a vibrant Fringe, Edinburgh - and Scotland - can boast an invigorating arts presence that is the envy of the world.