Friday, November 27, 2009

Peace in our trams

Peace in our time!  Combatants in the long-running Edinburgh tram wars are negotiating a Christmas Armistice.  The Council is promising that Edinburgh's Princes Street will be cleared by next week.  Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Citizens have been out waving saltires and offering their daughters to the flourescent liberators mopping up the remains of the German resistance. 

    It has been tin hats time for plucky Edinburgh folk for most of the year, ever since heavy units of the Bilfinger Tramm Corps blitzed much of the centre of the capital city. The central thoroughfare of Princes Street was almost totally destroyed by crack sturm-arbeiter who seized vital supply lines cutting the city in half and making movement almost impossible. The enemy also laid waste to much of Granton and Leith Walk, while traffic through the crucial Shandwick Place corridor was halted during daylight hours. Pack animals were imported from Eastern Europe to help with the movement of essential supplies.

Yes, there's been heavy pounding across this once gay city that will never be forgotten.  Princes Street, it's historic heart, still presents a sorry face, with huge craters where once proud Edinburgh matrons paraded in their fur coats, luxuriating in their lack of underwear. Where pawky wee squaddies danced their jigs and reels on furlough from Edinburgh Castle. Where bonus bankers calculated their pension deals in the armchairs of the Edinburgh New Club. Now all that's left is rubble and memories. Open drains and shattered power lines where once the Edinburgh Festival brought joy to millions every summer.

Can this once noble city ever recover from such devastation? The cost of the damage is almost incalculable. The shining rails that were supposed to be knit this sprawling city into a metropolitan powerhouse now look like a forlorn dream. On top of the £600 million in lost transport infrastructure there's the revenue lost from what used to be one of the prime commercial districts of Britain. Some say it is time to take a wrecking ball to the entire city – to raze the memories of the tram wars, and try to start anew.

But it'll take more than a few holes in the roads to break the spirit of Edinburgh folk, who have put up with almost unbearable hardships in the war effort. Road blocks and barricades litter the city. People wander around as if in a daze unable to comprehend the scale of the disaster that has hit them during long months of hostilities. The once bustling commercial and financial centre stands virtually silent.

   Can it really be true that the war is over!  There have been so many false dawns, so many promises broken.  But still they dare to dream  Edinburgh is sure of one thing: as the City buries its dead, it won't pay the Bertie Bilfingers a penny of their reparation demands. Plucky little Edinburgh will fight to the last town councillor, 


Simon said...

I'm simply perplexed that Scotland's media have abjectly failed to link the vote on the Edinburgh Trams to the current argument about GARL.

Especially since this vanity project in Scotland's capital city only connects less than 10% of the population.

It' looking like a huge folly with every passing day.

Anonymous said...

Simon: Wasn't it the Scottish Press's beloved Labour Party who forced this nonsense on the long suffering people of Edinburgh? I imagine that they would wish to keep a low profile on the outcome of one of the stupidest decisions they managed to make.

On the other hand battering the SNP over GARL is something that comes easily to the "pens" of the Scotsman's jouros.

Easy. Not very good, but easy. And that's the way they like it. Them and the Labour Party spin machine.

Dramfineday said...

Simon, the SNP wanted to pull the plug on the tram project, much as they have indicated they will do on GARL, as it was nothing more than a vanity project of little use to the majority of the citizens.

In the first few weeks of their administration, as the SNP were attempting to establish themselves, a vote was put to parliament regarding the trams funding. Labour, Con and Lib Dems decided to vote down the new government in a fit of macho bravado and heh presto – Edinburgh is turned into a dump. Iain is not exaggerating!

I can assure you that you’d be hard pushed to find some-one local who supports it as the city has an excellent bus network and – you couldn’t make this up – the tram route will eliminate the 22 bus route, which is acknowledged to be one of the most profitable, while the trams themselves are projected to lose money on the same route. Some business case that.

The 650 million earmarked should have been used else where as the SNP wanted. Like improvements on the A9, where this week-end another two have died and another two children have been left orphaned. Some price being a macho opposition party eh?

Dramfineday said...

On a follow up Iain, I now find myself doing the vast majority of my shopping in Livingston. Takes me less time to get there, cheap parking and no hastles with potholls, barriers etc. Well done ECC and the opposition parties, I've increased my carbon footprint and found a new place to shop!

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