Letters: Lessons have not been learned from mistakes

One would have thought that every council in Scotland would have learnt every lesson that had to be learnt, when the £40 million budget for the Scottish Parliament overran by a minimum of £400m, certainly from the point of view of project management, and contracts that were watertight. Obviously not.

We have councillors who clearly are not up to the job and have not learnt one lesson.

With the tram project we find that the contracts signed with contractors are not worth the paper they are written on. Surely even the most amateur councillor would have sought legal advice when spending more than 500 million of taxpayers' money.

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What else did they do? They appointed an inexperienced project manager on a massive salary and expected everything to be hunky-dory.

At the very least they would have appointed one with 20 years' experience in major projects, which should have included a tram project. Would it have cost more for this individual? Probably. But at least they should have had someone with the nous to know that the contract wasn't worth the paper it's written upon.

The next major project will be the new Forth Bridge, and so far Alex Salmond has stated that it will cost 1.7 billion. Why? The Millau Viaduct in France, which is 2,460 metres long, only cost 400 million euros, and is a far more complicated project.

Mike Sanders, Caiyside, Edinburgh

Council did not ban taxis in park

MARTIN Hannan is mistaken in implying that the council brought in a ban on taxis in Holyrood Park or that councillors, myself included, supported a ban (News, May 24).

He even refers to articles which clearly state that the ban was brought in by Historic Scotland but ignores the fact that road use in the park is the responsibility of Historic Scotland. With the support of all parties on the Transport Committee, including the SNP, the council asked Historic Scotland to enforce the regulations banning certain commercial vehicles in the Park.

Historic Scotland, apparently on the advice of the Procurator Fiscal, included taxis in that ban but has now been advised that interpretation was incorrect. I welcome that decision.

Gordon Mackenzie, Convener of Transport

One-dimensional view not enough

I THINK Councillor Cameron Rose (Interactive, May 23) confuses religious observance with religious education.

The original concern was about non-denominational schools allowing their assemblies to be used by clerics, especially from the Church of Scotland, as if they were churches and preaching to children.

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Such "observance" does nothing to "benefit the authentic understanding of religions and of the spiritual side of human nature" (religious education takes care of that) and is intolerable to parents who either are not religious or adhere to a non-Christian religion.The fact that some parents feel it necessary to remove their children from what amounts to indoctrination (I once did so myself), demonstrates the problem: that children are taught that some fundamental difference exists between them and their peers. Schools are for educating children about the world, not leading them to take a one-dimensional view of it from a religious perspective.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

SNP will cast the blame elsewhere

LAST week's inflation figures showed that the main rise was due to increased duty on alcohol and cigarettes. It worries me, then, that the first tax the new SNP Government wants to raise is the duty on alcohol.

Have they done a study on the inflationary impact of raising the minimum price on alcohol? Have they worked out how many jobs would be lost to England with people driving to Carlisle to stock up - just as happened in Ireland recently with people from the south flooding north to buy their goods when the Republic raised VAT and alcohol taxes?

As ever, the SNP will blame someone else for job losses and inflation - but it's their policy that would cause both.

M Smythe, Dalry Road