Thursday, 25 August 2011

We apologise for the inconvenience - Edinburgh Labservatives

Work for the trams on Princes Street
Douglas Adams may have written:

"They rounded the foot of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, and there was the Message written in blazing letters along the crest of the Mountain. There was a little observation vantage point with a rail built along the top of a large rock facing it, from which you could get a good view. It had a little pay-telescope for looking at the letters in detail, but no one would ever use it because the letters burned with the divine brilliance of the heavens and would, if seen through a telescope, have severely damaged the retina and optic nerve.

"They gazed at God's Final Message in wonderment, and were slowly and ineffably filled with a great sense of peace, and of final and complete understanding"

It read of course We apologise for the inconvenience today or at some point in the near future we may expect to see the same message in large letters in the side of Castle Mount in Edinburgh overlooking Princes Street, seen as the store holders from Shandwick Place or Leith Walk pass by. Because that is the message that Labour and Conservative councillors have sent to them today.

Not just to them but to every bus traveller, every car driver, indeed everyone who has ventured into Edinburgh City Centre in recent years.  Yes millions had already been spent. £15m a year is still going to have to be paid back by the city of Edinburgh over the next 30 years for a Tram network that doesn't go out as far as the Airport and originally intended at one end, but is also now 11 stops short at the other end. All those distuptions to the traders in the venues I've listed above to make preliminary works. The laying of track along Princes Street, the relaying of cobbles on Princes Street.

Now it will end at Haymarket way out West and even three stops short of St Andrew's Square close to both Waverley Station and the Bus Station where it would of been of greater use. The cutting short of the line is estimated to cost £4m loss in revenue, when and potentially if a tram actually runs on the line from the Western edge of the City at Gogar. It will serve those that work in Edinburgh Park and the residents of Saughton as it heads into Haymarket, but then people will have to get off the tram and seek alternative transport to go further. It won't go the whole way down to Newhaven and the new apartments where many who work in Edinburgh Park aspire to living.

What will become of the tracks laid eastward of Haymarket station. Will they remain as a constant reminder of how Labour and Conservatives pulled out of making even a viable go of what had already been spent. Lumbering the people of Edinburgh with debt without a really unusable alternative public transport spine. More just a limb, slightly dislocated, partially paralysed, but certainly not a spine.

It seems that the Labour and Conservative councillors in the city have had a medullaectomy in voting the way they did today. No spinal chord was evident in them backing the negotiations that had gone on to get the best out of what had become of the Trams project. So they cut even more of the route making a real white elephant instead of the mythical one that some people seem to think already existed. The SNP of course are also not out of the water, they abstained so as they could back their national stance.

So a project started as a great white hope under the previous Labour administration has ended up consigned to a white elephant graveyard west of the City Centre by the current Labour opposition in collusion with the Conservative party. Watch out for how they try and spin this in their literature ahead of the elections for council next May.

No comments:

Post a Comment