Thursday, February 26, 2009
I rang in to say that I had had a couple of letters published giving the figures for the Melbourne tram extensions (2.2km at £12.5 & 3km at £13.5) & that on that basis this system (18.5km) should come in at no more than £100 million. I also mentioned the 13 fold real increase in the cost of a Forth bridge & said that there is clearly something deeply wrong with our public projects & that we should make fixing them the first priority. Graham changed the subject to whether trams would not end congestion by soaking up passengers better than old fashioned double decker buses. I disagreed saying that while trams were "politically correct" & green approved, buses used roads just as easily (indeed more flexibly) than trams while not costing any of the £600 million (well not costing the public purse anyway). That a double decker bus was quite obviously superior to a single deck tram at getting, for the same area of road, more "bums on seats".
He then moved to the next caller. While Graham was somewhat pushing the line that any European capital without a tram system would not be respected (because? - well just because) it was clear that the large bulk of callers were opposed to the project. Those few who supported it did so entirely on the political correctness basis & with total unconcern for economic realities.
There was a noticeable shortage of the "experts" that appear on most of these shows - a few words from a TIE (the civil servants "managing" the project) spokesman & nobody from the contractors.
I think it shows how disgracefully subservient our entire MSM is & how destructive of genuine democracy, that they have published/broadcast no serious questions on the costing of this project & indeed that the larcenous 13 fold real increase in public projects costs generally has gone virtually unreported.
UPDATE I oput ip a comment on Graham's BBC blog extending what i said on air & also a comment on Friday's topic but neither of them have been accepted. Ah well not unexpected from the BBC. Such comments are clearly the normall BBC illusion of debate rather than the real thing. I have found this before on other BBC "blogs".