Time for Holyrood to listen over trams

A NEWLY elected government sometimes has cause to use its large majority to solve a seemingly intractable problem. The Edinburgh trams hiatus is just such an issue.

Lesley Riddoch (Perspective, 29 August) is right to make the case for intervention. The tone of the article seemed to suggest she saw First Minister Alex Salmond as an all-purpose panacea for all difficulties.

But I’m sure she simply meant that his administration ought to see that the reputation of our capital city is at stake, that ultimately central government is responsible for the conduct of local government, and that Scottish taxpayers’ money invested in the project ought not to go to waste through the Haymarket option.

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This is not even a question of the SNP government swallowing its pride over its initial opposition to the trams. It is now a question of ensuring firstly that public money is used to best effect and, secondly, reassuring the public that someone, somewhere takes this matter seriously so not all public bodies need to be tainted with the charge of incompetence and stupidity.

Edinburgh Labour leader Andrew Burns tried to strike a constructive (and repentant) note by highlighting the non-involvement of Transport Scotland in the management of the venture. This indirect plea for central intervention should be seized on by the Holyrood government.

It should either convene a meeting of the Edinburgh party leaders and the contractors to get a solution based on the St Andrew Square proposal, or simply announce that it now wants to assume control of the entire operation.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court


Enough! Not another penny of taxpayers’ money must be given to the farcical Edinburgh trams fiasco!

Jenny Dawe claims to be “staggered” by the angry public reaction to the latest shortening of the tramway; how anyone of such feeble perception can be elected at all is a mystery to me, but she is the appointed leader of the City of Edinburgh Council.

What does that say about the rest of them? Did none of them during their endless discussions mention the possibility of public disbelief, let alone fury?

If the First Minister is to be involved in any way it should be to demand the immediate resignation of the entire council on the grounds of incompetence.

This isn’t a council; it’s a circus, with only one type of entertainer – clowns, every one of them. Edinburgh’s citizens are free either to accept or to reject whatever ultimate decision is made, but the rest of us, with no say in the matter, must not be penalised for their council’s failings.

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This civic humiliation is a prime reason for giving the electorate the right to call councillors to account for their actions without waiting for the next elections.

Robert Dow

Ormiston Road


I read with interest that the leader of the council, Ms Jenny Dawes, has been “staggered” about the public response to stop the trams at Haymarket.

What did she expect? As leader of the council is she not elected to lead? If so, where has she been these last few years?

Surely she must have been aware of the doubts, concerns and incredulity about the whole tram project that have been common topics of conversation throughout the city?

The true surprise must be the level of her surprise, or has she been away negotiating to have Brad Pitt in Edinburgh to film The Incredible Shrinking Tram?

(Interestingly, the cities that you quote as having fine tram services are universally flat. Edinburgh, as I recall, is not.)

David Gerrard

Spylaw Park


So Jenny Dawe is apparently “staggered” and “taken aback” at the public outcry over the council’s most recent decisions on the trams (your report, 29 August).

What planet is she on?

Jill P Brown

Craighouse Terrace


Over the past four years I have watched with amazement the shameful debacle over the trams. I had thought that it was impossible for the situation to get worse.

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However, the incompetent fools “running” the council have proved me wrong by choosing the worst of all options.

It is now clear that the council members are not capable of managing the project and I call for the Scottish Government to step in and appoint some competent managers and sideline the incompetents in place.

I would also call on the electorate to remember this bunch for the next elections and, as the Americans would say – “vote the bums out”.

Martin Muirhead

East Fettes Avenue


With the refusal of Edinburgh councillors to stump up for the most expensive tram option and the Lib Dems insisting that what is left is the worst of all possible options, is it not time for them all to admit that the whole tram scheme never made any economic sense in the first place and just cancel the whole thing?

If you can’t stop when you are ahead, perhaps it would be best to stop when you are only £600 million behind.

Neil Craig

Woodlands Road


I do empathise with the people of Edinburgh and the disruption to their lives caused by the long-running tram saga. In St Andrews we are also suffering while Market Street in the centre of the town is being dug up.

This has been continuing for many months and is part of street improvement works. Traders, tourists and locals have all been inconvenienced for a year now.

And what do we get? Not a tram line, but medieval cobbles again!

David Dick

Priory Gardens

St Andrews

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