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Tuesday, February 26, 2008


This Morning Radio Scotland were doing a piece on the intention of the Scottish government to increase subsidies of ferries to the Scottish isles to "road equivalent" ie that the fare costs, in theory, no more than driving would if a road existed. This sounds to me like fares will have to be reduced to the almost free stage but I have seen no costings.

However I have been pushing the Scottish Tunnels Project & this seemed worth mentioning as a 100% road equivalent, without the inconvenienc or long term costs so I rang in & got on the air.

It went well. I was only on for a minute or so but I got to mention, twice, that the cost of Norwegian tunnels was £3.5-£11 million per km & that they had built nearly 700 km of them. Indeed Gary seemed fairly keen mentioning that bridges & ferries have to close in bad weather (an earlier caller from Lewis had mentioned that the ferry was off today for that reason) whereas tunnels don't. He also mentioned the Forth crossing & I agreed that, though not part of today's discussion, I thought a tunnel was a better option for it too. Perhaps they will ask a minister about this some time.

I had not particularly expected to be called & indeed only phoned up about 9.20 (it ended at 9.30). The producer wasn't sure they would get me through the queue in time but they did & I was the last caller. The BBC must have some automatic device that registers previous callers because the woman answering knew my name without me having to give it.

For anyone wanting to try a phone in the competition is not tough (they do get a lot of idiots). I would suggest writing down some points, phrases or statistics you want to use (I didn't but have already written the Tunnels project article so I could just crib that). Another advantage of having something written is that when you ring up you can tell the receptionist what you want to say immediately, rather than stuttering & sounding like a dick. I would also suggest phoning in early which means they have more time available for you & seems polite. They will phone you back when they want you, or not as the case may be.

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