Margo Macdonald is at it again. She’s talking sense when all around her are going mad. Again. She’s the first MSP to come out with a case for scrapping the Edinburgh Trams farce altogether, citing the council’s plans to borrow a further £55 million and sack Bilfinger Berger, as well as the possibility of the total cost ending up nearer £600 million as her justification.
Margo told the BBC: “Because of the economic downturn, lots of big projects are being closed down. I think we wouldn’t lose as much face as was once feared if we had to say that we have spent too much on the trams and we will have too much to spend in the future before they would make any money for us. I think we might conceivably see the project come to an end.”
She’s right. She usually is. Common sense and logic course through Margo like a river in spate and one is left rueing that there aren’t more people like her serving in the Scottish “Parliament”. Of course, Edinburgh could be left with another “Edinburgh’s Shame” but that’s not surprising given Edinburgh Council’s historic lack of ability to pull through with anything worthwhile. The ET project is just the tip of the iceberg; their numerous attempts at improving traffic and public transport in Edinburgh have all fallen short with sometimes comical but always costly turnarounds. Remember the pelican crossings they put in all along George Street then took away the following weekend?
So the Trams project so far looks like this: Leith Walk is still a mess with numerous businesses having folded because of the 2 and a half year programme of roadworks. The same goes for the west end around Haymarket. Princes Street has tracks that appear from nowhere at one end then disappear at the other—a hazard to cyclists is about the only purpose they offer up. And the only stretch of, as yet unlaid track that is going to server any purpose, might be between the airport and Haymarket—IF they can rumble up another £55 million.
And so history repeats itself. When Edinburgh tried to build the National Monument on top of Calton Hill in 1816 they ran out of money then too. Now it lies unfinished and is more commonly known as “Edinburgh’s Shame”. I think Edinburgh Council’s intention is to destroy the face of Edinburgh, not preserve or improve it. Edinburgh wouldn’t look the same without the acropolis now, though I wonder if we shall still feel the same about unused tram lines in 100 years time.
Half way through yesterday afternoon I remembered I was supposed to be leaving for a dentist appointment. Thankfully I had no unstoppable commitments so was able to shoot off from work slightly early to get my little pearlies checked out. A clean bill of health was delivered and there’s no need to go back until December. I put it down to milk and lots of it.
Back home I finally got round to rewriting and polishing my review of the recent Supergrass gig at the Glasgow Barrowlands. You can read it at the Man in the East.
I also wrote up a new article for my Six Nations Rugby Spotlight, the reason being I needed to get next year’s fixtures published early and to include a paid advertisement in the copy. Nice.
With the rest of the family out at the theatre (Rocky Horror Picture Show—not my thing) and with it being way too hot to do much else in my office (even the tropical fish were coming lying on the surface to try and cool down) I took my work outside.
I worked on proofing GREENER IS THE GRASS and gave the Edinburgh Book Festival programme of events a more thorough going over. I’ve always boasted about how each year at the book fest I’ve gotten involved in new things and used my time to expand, grow and recharge, and so although my initial skim was a bit of a disappointment I still expect this year to be the same provided I apply myself right.
My approach is therefore this: I’m going to push myself into new areas and ideas. There’s still a lack of any decent workshops around (once you’ve done them they never actually change and they lack substance with the 90 minutes they have), so I’ve circled a few debates, lectures and sessions with authors who are “thinkers” ahead of being writers. I’m fighting to fit everything in but once I’ve got all my tickets (released Saturday) I’ll post my vision through my selected events.
There’s a special offer running on my books at the moment. If you head over to my website (or the BOOKS page on this blog) and purchase any of them, when you are directed to Lulu simply enter the code FREEGROUND305 to get free ground shipping up to the value of £25. Offer ends 30th June.
STELLA is also available now to purchase from Kindle. Click here to buy a copy priced $5.29.
Gail Galbraith Photography is offering portrait shoots for £25 (knocked down from £40) if you book before 31st August 2010 and you use the word “Leith” in your query. For that you get a 1 hour session in her new studio in Leith, 1 free 8×6 print, an online gallery to show off to friends and family and where images can be purchase direct from, and all images from the shoot on a free low-resolution CD. (Subject to max of 4 people per session; each additional person is £5 each). You can contact Gail at email@example.com and view her website at: www.gailgalbraith.co.uk
That’s all for me just now. Peace out!