Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Buffer Zone

Anent the ongoing controversy surrounding Edinburgh's proposed airport rail link and £700m+ tram line (surely it needs to be lines plural before you can really call it a scheme?), the government has called in the Auditor General to check that the figures add up before any further progress is made.

Hurrah etc, you might think. But despite the fact that both audit reports will be completed within a fortnight, Labour's transport spokesman Des McNulty is crying foul, on the grounds that he does not support using the Auditor General to "overturn policy decisions".

R-i-g-h-t... so once a decision has been made, no matter how bad it looks to be, you need to press on anyway, and the only role for the Auditor General is after the money has already been wasted, whereupon the McNultys of this world will intone piously that 'lessons have been learned' and that we all now need to 'move on'? Aye, right...

So, top marks to John Swinney, then, for calling in the auditors before it becomes too late. If all the figures stack up, then the pro-tram and underground station lobby have nothing to fear. If on the other hand the figures don't stack up, would it be too much to ask for just a little humility from the 'damn fools who keep yelling to push on'?

Probably.

UPDATE: Since the story first appeared on the BBC website, the bold Tavish Scott has shoved his oar in. He really does seem to be on a kamikaze mission at the moment...

3 comments:

Scottish Politics said...

Good article Richard. I have also blogged on this.

http://scottishpolitics.blogspot.com/2007/06/audit-scotland-investigate-tram-costs.html

Richard Thomson said...

Cheers. Lib Dem Councillor Phil Wheeler seems to be playing it very cool - I'm impressed. Maybe Tavish could take a leaf out of his book?

Davie Hutchison said...

Tavish seems to be questioning the independence of Audit Scotland now. On what basis he doesnt seem to make clear. I might not agree with their conclsuions on every matter but they can hardly be accused of partisanship.