Saturday, March 2, 2013

Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has a choice; does she ignore the warnings that £350m Borders rail link is not economically viable and ‘can it’, or does she waste £350 million of taxpayers’ money for party political purposes?

Dear All

I have been quite vocal against the Labour Party's rather stupid initiative called GARL in the past.

GARL is the Glasgow Airport Rail Link, the cost to benefit was exceptionally poor, and it would have been a huge white elephant.

The cost was a ridiculous £210 million with inflation.

There is another transport project of a similar mindset which needs to be opposed because, it is no longer economically viable.

If you keep an eye on the economy, you will see things going backward, the housing bubble may have help some people trade up or down but property is overvalued massively.

The signs have been there for years since the big bang and collapse in banking, all bubbles in the economy will eventually pop, followed by collapse leaving many high and dry.

So, should the controversial £350 million Borders Railway continue or should like GARL, wise heads say, don’t push a bad position?

Scotland’s unpopular Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been appointed Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Capital Investment and Cities and is the ‘face of independence’.

The SNP Government plan to win indy appears to centre around her ‘building Scotland’ with massive capital projects, but like her tenure at health, which we now know more about spin than substance, it was a disaster.

I don’t see Ms. Sturgeon anytime given up the £350 million Borders Railway, why exercise good judgment and pass up an opportunity to stand with a shovel next to a train engine or better still hang out of a train driver’s cab.  

That photo op has a £350 million price tag!

Transport Scotland says that the numbers don’t stack up, and the business of business is business, reportedly the failure of plans to build hundreds of houses along the route and a fall in the predicted number of people making return trips from 976,000 to 647,136 shows that there is a time to be cautious, especially when public funds are concerned.

This is one of those times, but given the track record of this SNP government and the lack of care and due diligence, plus the need to try and shore the failing independence campaign, I don’t see sense returning anytime soon to this government.

This term of the SNP Government should have been about government, local government and public sector reform of NGOs.

After two successful terms, then the case for independence should have been made on bedrock, not quicksand as is at present.

Venture capitals and risk assessor Peter Smail said of the plunge in the cost-benefit ratio:

"There is no rail project I have ever heard of in the rest of the UK where anything like this ratio has been accepted."

Mr Smail, who is based in the Borders, added:

"There will be very heavy early losses and this line is clearly not viable. There are many better rail projects we should be supporting, and this one should be scrapped."

Is Ms. Sturgeon smart enough to learn?

Or will it be, air on the side of stupidity?

Her recent judgment on countless issues has shown her to be ineffective, the EU debacle stands out as a towering example of ignoring advice and at the bottom end, the Glasgow University Independence Referendum debacle which she campaigned personally and lost, shows a trend.

A bad trend!

Labour's transport spokesman Richard Baker said:

"SNP ministers' leadership of this project has been a total shambles. They couldn't find a private backer; it has been heavily delayed, and now we learn in the intervening period the business case has been affected."

Baker isn’t one of Holyrood’s thinkers, and to have someone like him put the boot in, is petrol on a fire.

Can Nicola Sturgeon make the right decision and shelve this?

I don’t think this is possible, in her mind, everything is about indy for this SNP Government, this term of SNP Government is possibly one of the worst since the creation of the Scottish Parliament, nothing of note is getting done, and what is getting done is low grade pap.

The smart independence move is to shelve this project, this has white elephant written all over it, and it is incredibly stupid to continue and effectively abuse public funds for political purposes.

Support for independence has collapsed in part due to bad government.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University


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