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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FORTH CROSSING - criminal's vanity always makes them make one tiny but fatal mistake. Theirs was to have their entire conspiracy printed and published

  On 15th Dec the Scottish Parliament voted to spend £$2.3 billion (promised as the total cost - no really). Here are the highlights of the debate:

Charlie Gordon (Glasgow Cathcart) (Lab): The first cut of the design for the crossing perhaps contained an element of overdesign, which can be an occupational hazard for engineers, and Stewart Stevenson played a particularly beneficial role in stripping away some of the less essential aspects of the project...the opportunity cost per day of lane closures on the existing bridge is in the region of £700 million

Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green): If—I acknowledge that this is an if—Charlie Gordon comes in a year or a year and a half to see dehumidification reports that suggest that either repair or closure of the existing bridge would not have been necessary for another five or 10 years, what would be his regret about the opportunity cost of committing to the extra bridge?

Charlie Gordon: In that hypothetical situation I would say that hindsight is 20:20 vision

Jackson Carlaw (West of Scotland) (Con): I, too, welcome Keith Brown to his new ministerial post. Although I am leading for the Conservatives ....On completion of the bridge, Scotland will have a new Forth crossing and will have three adjacent bridges from three centuries. That will be an extraordinary and physically visible testament to our nation's engineering and construction heritage...How we pay for it is now for the Government to determine

Hugh O'Donnell (Central Scotland) (LD): I am pleased to open on behalf of the Liberal Democrats in this debate. We will support the bill at decision time....I suspect that I now know more about the technicalities of bridge building and the geological structures and wildlife around the Forth estuary than any person would ever need to know, but it has been interesting and a steep learning curve...the cost of the bridge is tagged at £543 million. We know that some of the criticism has been about a £2 billion bridge. It is important to be clear that the difference between the two sums is because of the cost of the project and the cost of the bridge, but what has stuck in people's minds is the £2 billion figure. In some ways, it is a moot point because, at current estimates, £2 billion is probably what we will have to spend, but there needs to be at least an attempt at some education to make people understand what we are getting for that level of expenditure ...Replacing the cables would mean closing the bridge to allow the work to be done, which is simply not an option

David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab): The original contract was priced when VAT was at 17.5 per cent. When he winds up, perhaps the minister could confirm whether the new VAT rate will mean a higher range of costs ...
The issue of cost overruns was raised during committee evidence sessions. As we all know from the history of many—but not all—large public sector projects, not least the one that involved the construction of the Parliament building, it is extremely difficult to keep costs within budget, particularly in transport. Nonetheless he supported it

Ted Brocklebank (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con):  a reinspection of the cables of the current bridge will not take place until the summer of 2012. Obviously, that could be brought forward and we could find out that, as in the scenario that was outlined by Patrick Harvie, the corrosion has been arrested. However, I absolutely believe that any delay would be folly

Margaret Smith (Edinburgh West) (LD): When every single objection that is brought forward by an objector, including my own, is dismissed by the assessor, I believe that I am right to question the process as much as the policy....the clamour will grow for the existing bridge, which will be the most expensive bus lane in the world, to be open to all road traffic.

Patrick Harvie (Glasgow) (Green): Before I begin my well-rehearsed discordant note... It is advisable to find out the state of the existing bridge, whether it might have to be closed to HGVs—not to commuter traffic; I have seen no reliable projection of that—and, if so, when... I cannot countenance the idea of a £2 billion press release for the current Administration. We are not talking about just a £2 billion press release. If history gives us any lessons, we know that such projects often go well over budget.

Gavin Brown (Lothians) (Con): The debate has, quite rightly, been consensual. It is right that it is consensual because of the size, scale and cost of the project

Charlie Gordon: This has been a good debate ... There is general consensus on the bill albeit, sadly, with one or two notable exceptions. I thank Parliament greatly for its interest .../This is the day when Scotland commits to a world-class structure across the Forth
Harper, Robin (Lothians) (Green)

Harvie, Patrick (Glasgow) (Green)

Smith, Margaret (Edinburgh West) (LD)

         Actually this is only $2 billion. £ s would be bigger.

I have omitted most of the self congratulation so what you have just read is the very best bits of a "good debate" among Holyrood politicians.

No attempt to explain why the last Forth Bridge cost £320 mil;lion in today's money just a general downplaying of this fraud to costing £2 billion rather than £2.3 bn & a general covering of arses over the obvious expectation that this cost too may prove a lie. No mention of why a tunnel cannot be built for £40 million as elsewhere in the world. No mention that this will be more expensive than much larger bridges elsewhere in the world except the implication that if this bridge is more expensive than them it must, despite appearances, be more "world class". No attempt to explain why the current bridge cannot be given a 5th, tidal, lane increasing capacity by 50% - indeed the case put depends on the deliberate lie that the current bridge will have to be closed if recabling probes necessary.

Just agreement that stealing £2,290 million & counting (£20 million per MSP) should be done by "consensus" among the thieves.

I note Robert Brown, who said here that he was against it voted for this theft.

Not one of these thieves can claim not to know of these questions (I am not alone in having made sure of that). Not one of them has any answer for them either when I emailed them or here. Not one of them, has any scruples about participating in this theft anyway.

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