After a damning 2014 report into Tower Hamlets Council, local government minister Eric Pickles used emergency powers to take direct control of the authority. Now, as temporary classrooms are being craned into Edinburgh school playgrounds to deal with its buildings crisis, it might be time for similar action in the Scottish capital.

The latest emergency is not an isolated example of civic failure in Edinburgh but fits into a pitiful pattern. So-called “Black Swans” of unexpected events buffet all organisations and the mark of a robust authority is how they are handled not their avoidance, but in lurching from one crisis to the next, Edinburgh has become a Black Swan breeding ground.

Now, with the education of thousands of children disrupted because the school walls might collapse on top of them, Edinburgh citizens wonder what on earth is going on at the City Chambers. But contrary to predictable political opportunists, this latest disaster is less to do with financial contracts and more about the inspection regime which should accompany any construction programme.

I’m reliably informed the problem lay in the way the roofs were tied to the walls, but savings from cutting the number of ties wouldn’t have bought much more than a hod-ful of bricks, so this is more likely to be an engineering/design problem missed by building inspectors, not the actions of rapacious capitalists.

By coincidence, so too was Edinburgh’s statutory building repairs scandal a problem with roofs and weak oversight of council officers rather than political failure. The justified desire to speed up repairs to potentially dangerous buildings after the death of a waitress outside a West End bar resulted in corrupt officials funnelling work to their pals who then hit flat owners with exorbitant bills. The officers rightly went to jail last year, but it cost the authority millions in written-off debts and £3 million alone for an independent investigation.

Then, of course, there are the trams, everyone’s by-word for civic incompetence without which no Edinburgh taxi ride or second-rate Fringe comedy routine is complete. As if a £200m overspend for half a line delivered years late wasn’t bad enough, we have the shambles of the council-appointed inquiry which has taken nearly two years, cost over £2m and not called a single witness.

Or what about the handling of the old Royal High School redevelopment? Having won an extensive competition, the developers were led to believe a hotel was an acceptable use only for the planning department to decide otherwise at the last moment and despite extensive consultation. Now expensive litigation is likely.

And then there is the chaos of the local development plan, still not agreed, and as a result piecemeal development in the South-East of the city is going on apace with schemes approved on appeal to the Scottish Government in the absence of any cohesive approach to growth and housing demand.

The latest difficulty is the Garden District plan for a new housing estate on land owned by Sir David Murray. Councillors have indicated the land could be suitable for housing because, although historically in the Green belt, it’s bounded by the M8, A8, and City bypass, dissected by the railway and next to the airport.

Despite that, the planning department produced a report which argued granting permission would be contrary to council policy which the developers believe is an attempt to mislead the councillors into rejecting the application. Using far from advisory language, there was even a ludicrous claim railway noise made it unsuitable for housing and a formal complaint has now been lodged.

As predicted here, the officers now claim Edinburgh has no problem with housing supply because there are 30,000 homes with planning permission waiting to be built even though it includes abandoned plans for mass construction on old industrial sites at Granton. This looks very like officers skewing reality to fit a political argument, which is way beyond their remit.

The common denominator in all the above is officers beyond the control of their managers and councillors unable to rein them in until it’s too late. The appalling baby ashes scandal, in which council employees denied grieving parents the right to a proper funeral for tiny babies, was a symptom of the same malaise.

Voters will have their say next month and again next year, but will a change of administration and the recent departure of senior management figures make any difference? Edinburgh’s future is too important for Scotland to be left to chance any longer. The Scottish Government has the power to intervene and maybe it’s about time it did. Someone needs to get a grip.