Leader: ‘The panel has played safe, and that is wise’

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Britain loves an X-Factor-style vote, however liable they are to manipulation and bias.

And so today the public can begin the process of voting for the identity of the new £1.6 billion Forth Crossing by website, text and post.

After receiving more than 7600 suggestions from across Scotland, an independent panel has agreed a shortlist of five names: Caledonia Bridge, the Firth of Forth Crossing, Queensferry Crossing, Saltire Crossing and the St Margaret’s Crossing.

The first thing that strikes you about the shortleet – decided by a special Bridge Naming Advisory Panel that was made up of five men and just two women – is how ordinary they are.

Some might even say pedestrian.

There is no Freedom Bridge, Salmond Bridge, Independence Bridge, or Sir Chris Hoy Bridge. Even Sir Sean has been squeezed out.

And the “We Messed Up The Trams Why Are We Building This? Bridge” was also eliminated.

The panel has played safe, and this is wise.

Any option that has a close connection with one political party could have been hijacked online.

Many of us might react to these options with a shrug of the shoulders and ask: “Who cares?”

But this structure is costing a lot of public money and we will be referring to it in conversation regularly over the coming decades – so why not play a part in what it will be called?

It’s also great that technology makes it easier for all of us to take part in the democratic proccess– something that didn’t happen when bridges were constructed in years gone by.

So, the News encourages readers to vote now via the website www.namethebridge.co.uk, text or by post. The website includes full details on the voting process.

Voting will run until June 7, with the most popular choice being formally announced towards the end of the month.