Letters: Flawed process lies behind our large-scale projects

Should the way large projects are conducted be reviewed or would that waste more money?

The "Troubled trams scheme bosses 'should be hauled before MSPs'" article (News, November 22) raises a wider issue - the reluctance of politicians to get involved in a project that has so clearly gone wrong.

Could their reluctance be that they are all implicated in this disastrous project and that the process that gave birth to the tram project and others is fundamentally flawed?

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These "politically motivated projects" have failed miserably to deliver the initial cost and benefits.

The parliament building is typical, where egos drove the initial need, where costs were initially kept artificially low and where all decisions were taken behind closed doors with the result that costs were allowed to run out of control.

We now have a building where raincoats are the norm inside, a building not fit for purpose, devouring ever-increasing sums of money.

Assurances given by Lord Fraser, who headed the inquiry into the project, "that lessons have been learnt" have not found their way into the psyche of our politicians.

That's not surprising given his reluctance to apportion blame. Politicians are now convinced that even if they do screw up they will not be held accountable.

The tram project is another example where the private bill was steamrollered through Parliament with ease. TIE, the arms-length company set up to manage the project, spent tens of millions of taxpayers' money employing consultants to justify the unjustifiable.

It is no surprise here again that those charged with the duty of scrutinising this doomed project asked few questions and ignored the siren voices of the objectors that said the project had no justification, that the patronage figures had been hyped and that the costs were unrealistic.

Had any one of them read the final business case it is all too obvious that these shortcomings existed from the outset.

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John R T Carson, Kirkliston Road, South QueensferryWedding is last thing we need

FORGIVE me if I rain on anyone's parade, but I am unperturbed that Prince William and Kate Middleton will not marry in St Giles' Cathedral.

While supporting Scotland's right to autonomy, I can't in all consciousness, support an unelected monarchy whether it reigns over me from Buckingham Palace or even Edinburgh Castle for that matter.

An inherent need for fairness tells me that in these times where greed and unfairness are on the increase, when people are losing their jobs and the wellbeing of our sick and vulnerable elderly is under attack, the last thing we need morally and economically is an expensive royal wedding where unelected royals and fellow members of the privileged classes enjoy a lavish, indulgent bash at the expense of hard-pressed taxpayers.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh

Giant television in city a turn-off

FROM where I sit at work I can see the giant TV screen off Lothian Road.

I cycle past it every night on my way home and I have never seen anyone give it more than a passing glance. I was astonished to learn it costs the city council 35,000 a year to run.

Is Edinburgh so bereft of imagination that the best we can do is stick a giant flatscreen TV into our civic spaces?

It's time for a rethink.

Gavin Corbett, Briarbank Terrace, Edinburgh

Labour tax plans won't win votes

LABOUR are strangely silent on their tax plans for Scotland.

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Perhaps they hope we won't notice that they want to extend the hated council tax by conducting the first domestic revaluation for 20 years which will result in over 64 per cent of all properties moving up at least one band, as happened in Wales in 2005, with probably a much higher percentage in Edinburgh.

In addition they want to end the SNP's council tax freeze and return to higher bills which increased by 60 per cent under the last Labour/Lib Dem Scottish Executive.

Calum Stewart, Montague Street, Edinburgh