Friday, June 25, 2010


Open letter to the lot of them
Dear MSP.
Holyrood will shortly be asked to legislate a scheme to take £2,300 million from the Scottish people (£460 from every man, woman & child) to build a new crossing of the river Forth.

If the actual cost of such a crossing is less then the people of Scotland are being defrauded & you are being asked to be complicit.

There are at least 3 major other options which would achieve the same at far lesser cost.

1) A bridge at a reasonable cost. Other comparable bridges around the world have been built at a cost of around £300 million in today's money. Indeed the previous Forth road bridge cost £19 million which equals £320 million in today's values. The only reason against this which I have been able to obtain from anybody close to government is that there could, theoretically, be some unspecified geological conditions in present day Scotland which would require this. However since this would only be the case if there had been massive & immensely destructive volcanic perturbations in the Edinburgh area over the last 44 years & as this has not been noticed it cannot be taken seriously.

2) The Norwegians have, over the last 3 decades 700 kilometres of tunnels at costs of between £3.2 million & £10 million per km. Since then airform tube manufacturing has reduced the cost of building tunnels in the most difficult ground so this should be feasible for no more than £40 million. Admittedly the Scottish Office claim that it would cost £4,673 million to do this but it is a matter of fact that it has been done for under 1,000th of that cost elsewhere. Even the entire Glendoe power project with 9km of tubed tunnel came in at £160 million which means the tunnelling must have been similar in cost to the Norwegian example. The only semi-official reason I have been given for this disparity is that EU regulations require a 3rd, small, safety tunnel & it seems difficult to see why this should increase basic costs 1,000 fold.

3) Recabling the bridge. This has been done with many bridges worldwide & should cost about £14 million in today's money. Materials available today are very much stronger than those in 1966 when the bridge was completed, indeed carbon nanotubes can be 300 times stronger than good steel. This would be more than is useful but, since the towers have been strengthened since completion it is clear that the bridge road could even be widened to 5 lanes for approximately this price or double decked for a relatively modest price as was done with Lisbon's April 25th Bridge.

I am asking all Scotland's MSPs to give the reasons for costs between 8 & 1,000 times what has been achieved elsewhere since there seems to be astonishing reticence on the subject. It should be the case that all MSPs can answer it. Indeed if any MSP proposes to vote for this & has the people's best interests at heart then, by definition, they will be able to provide a credible explanation. I am forced to ask all MSPs because only 1 of all my constituency & regional representatives even acknowledged the question & that answer, referred to in (1) was clearly not credible. Since I am posting this query on my blog I will also be willing to publish your various responses if you are willing.

Scots government has an abysmal record of such waste.

Scotland's First Minister, Donald Dewar made a specific promise that the Parliament building would cost "not one penny more than £40 million" (& took that lie as an opportunity to launch a wicked personal attack). It cost, officially, £414 million.

Between them they have contrived to pay & charge £67 million to build a Skye bridge that should have cost £15 million.

Between them they commissioned a rail link to Glasgow for about £300 million & cancelled it at a cost of £41.3 million when all parties knew they had & have an offer on the table from a private company offering to build it for £20 million. I can vouch for this personally.

They have embroiled us in spending £600 million in what looks to soon be another cancelled project to build a tram line in Edinburgh when by international comparison it should have been completed for no more than £105 million.

It seems difficult to believe that incompetence alone could achieve this result, though to be fair it is equally difficult to believe that fraud alone could. Presumably there are many many other less high profile projects by which the Scottish people have been similarly milked of our money. I hope there will be enough MSPs with integrity to either explain exactly why the Forth project needs to cost 8 to 1,000 times what it needs to cost or to vote it down.

Neil Craig
7,765 meters long and 287 meters deep undersea Eiksund Tunnel

I will see if f any of the MSPs feel that it is possible to give a credible answer to any of these questions.

If none of them do the conclusion is inescapable.

Copies of this open letter have been sent to all our major papers. Again we will see if any of them think the fact that the Forth crossing is up to 100,000% overpriced should be reported.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The Labour/SNP/LibDem/Green Parties are all, unanimously, agreed that we should destroy 50% of Scotland's electricity producing capacity, which means approximately 50% of the national wealth of us all over the next 10 years & generally impose ever more fascistic controls over us. They justify this because of the catastrophic global warming fraud which they claim we are currently experiencing.

The 9% Growth Party calls on anybody opposed to everybody's electricity bill being 4 times what it would be in a free society; to extensive blackouts by 2015 & poosibly by 2012; to the deliberate economic destruction of the country; & to the imposition of fascist controls on us all to use your vote in support of the leading local party which also opposes this.

We are particularly impressed by UKIP.

Some quotes from UKIP's Manifesto since you wont be seeing much MSM coverage:

"Britain now gives £16.4bn gross p.a in cash to Brussels (£45m a day). Our net
contribution amounts to £6.4bn p.a., which will rise to more than £10bn with the loss of our rebate. Including indirect costs such as red tape, the true cost of the EU to the UK is estimated at up to £120 billion a year...(1)
-A BBC Politics Show poll in 2009 showed 55% want out of the EU. In 2008 an ITV Luton referendum showed 54% wanting to leave." p2

"· Introduce a flat tax which will make all taxpayers better off and take a further
4.5 million lower paid workers out of income tax altogether. The flat tax will merge existing income tax bands and Employees’ National Insurance contributions into a single rate of31%, starting at that £11,500 threshold....
· Stimulate job creation by phasing out Employers’ National Insurance (the ‘tax on
jobs’) over a five-year period (20% reduction p.a.). The revenue will be recouped either as PAYE tax, corporation tax (2), sales tax revenue, or by the reduced need for State welfare
· Recognise the dangerous levels of national debt and accept there is no alternative to major cuts in government spending."
-Aim to reduce the public sector to the size it was in 1997, cutting many unnecessary
quangos and non-jobs over five years. The goal is to exchange two million public sector jobs for one million new skilled jobs in manufacturing and related services and at least one million additional jobs created as a result lower personal taxes and reduced business taxation and regulation,
· Stop the tax and welfare system penalising married and unmarried couples
- Require the BoE to enforce a rigid division between retail banks and investment banks (where much instability has occurred) based" p3 & 4

"A 25-year programme of building nuclear power stations that will provide Britain with 50% of its future electricity demand. This will cost on average of £3.5 billion p.a. (3)...
A prison building programme with a particular emphasis on modern off-site manufacture (4)" p4

"· End mass, uncontrolled immigration. UKIP calls for an immediate five-year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement. We aspire to ensuring any future immigration does not exceed 50,000 people p.a.
· Regain control of UK borders. This can only be done by leaving the European Union ... There can be no question of an amnesty for illegal immigrants." p5

"end the scandal of early releases and weak sentencing. This will cost approximately £2bn p.a. in contrast to the cost of crime, estimated by the Home Office at £45bn p.a.
· Rebalance the law to protect residents who seek to defend their own homes, families or property against intruders
· Introduce a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy
· Allow binding national referenda on controversial public law and order issues" p6

"· Spend an extra 40% on defence annually, another 1% of GDP
· Expand the Army by 25% to 125,000 personnel and double the size of the Territorial Army
· Reappraise our operations in Afghanistan to create a single, clear and achievable
mission or seek to negotiate a withdrawal
· Cut MOD bureaucracy, which has one civil servant for every two military personnel (5)" p7

"· Put medical staff back at the heart of the NHS, replacing bureaucrats and managers. Franchises will require clinically-trained Matrons to run hospitals, taking a dominant role on wards and primary responsibility for hospital cleanliness" p7

"offering all parents ‘School Vouchers’. The vouchers will be equivalent to the average cost of State schooling and follow the child to the school of the family’s choice, transferable to State, private or faith schools" p8

"Bring generous unfunded public sector final salary pensions back into line with typical private pension provision" p9

"The UK’s current welfare system is ridiculously complicated and requires an army of bureaucrats to administer. There are more than 70 separate benefits, each requiring masses of forms and helping to entrench dependency...
· Roll the mass of existing benefits into simpler categories, while ensuring every UK citizen receives a simple, non-means tested ‘Basic Cash Benefit' ...until their wages reach UKIP’s proposed £11,500 personal allowance so they can take jobs without being heavily penalised by the system" p10

"UKIP will seek to establish a Commonwealth Free Trade Area ... a CFTA would account for more than 20% of all international trade and investment, facilitating annual trade exchanges worth more than $1.8 trillion and direct foreign investment worth about $100 billion." p10

"We called for a rational, balanced approach to the climate debate in 2008, before the extensive manipulation of scientific data first became clear.
· Increase nuclear power generation to provide up to 50% of our electricity needs. Because Britain’s domestic energy plants are ageing and renewable energy sources have been shown to be unreliable, UKIP will pass hybrid Acts of Parliament to accelerate the planning process and allow old reactors to be replaced (3)
· Reduce environmental bureaucracy to a minimum - consistent with good practice and international standards" p11

"· Invest an extra £3 billion p.a. in the UK’s transport infrastructure ...
· Invest in three new 200mph plus high-speed rail lines" p11

"· Introduce ‘Direct Democracy’ whereby 5% of the national or local electorate can demand a binding referendum on any issue...
· Introduce an element of proportional representation in national and local elections. UKIP favours an electoral system based on Alternative Vote Plus so that constituency MPs have to earn at least 50% of the vote (as in Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections)...
· Retain devolved national assemblies but replace the representatives with Westminster MPs from the same nation. (6)
· Require UK schools to teach Britain’s
contribution to the world, including British inventions"
· Tackle extremist Islam by banning the burqa or veiled niqab in public buildings and certain private buildings(7)"p13

"· Support GM foods research and require all imported produce to be labelled so consumers can make informed choices. In the meantime, we will continue to oppose production of GM foods and be open to evolving scientific advice (8)...
· Reassert our territorial rights, reclaim our fishing grounds, restore our fishing fleet and support our fishing industry for future generations" p14

"the smoking ban. UKIP supports designated smoking rooms in pubs, clubs and public buildings" p15

This is a radical programme which would certainly get us not just out of recession but into growth. Particular comments:
1 - The EU Enterprise Commissioner has said EU regulations cost 5.5% of GNP (£80 bn) add the £10bn paid & not returned comes to £90. I assume they believe The Commissioner is underestimating & that the returned money is mainly wasted. I think it should have been phrased "between £90 & £120 bn, all governments having refused to make a precise calculation"
2 - I regret this is the only mention of corporation tax (though in context if they make the promised cuts they will not have to raise it). Cutting CT is what got the Irish economy 7% growth & similar cuts in the UK would have a similar effect on growth.
3 - They could do this for less. If allowed & given a sensible regulatory framework the market would happily build them without charging. For that cost we could build a reactor manufacturing centre which could mass produce turnkey operation nuclear plants which would not only produce most of our power very cheaply but establish a massive export market. Westinghouse's AP100 is already available in quantity at under £1 bn each so £87.5 billion could provide more than all of our current usage. This commitment, while very radical by the standards of other parties is technically timid.
4 - The only mention of off off site (ie mass produced) building. By comparison their official housing policy is unadventurous - this may be because UKIP members vary between libertarians & old conservatives.
5 - Defence spending should be aimed much more at technological innovation - this policy is to much fighting the last war. However having more soldiers than MoD clerks is radical, if only by the standards of the others.
6 - The proposal to combine MSPs & MPs as members of both Parliaments, all elected under the Scottish electoral system is not ending devolution & should not be described by the media as such. It is rolling all 160 MSPs & MPs into 50 odd jobs getting rid of most of them (oh dear, too bad, never mind) but all elected by the Scottish Parliament system & leaving them perfectly capable of doing their jobs in both Holyrood & Westminster. Indeed Holyrood is notoriously underworked giving great incentive for idle hands to come up with new things to ban). As a long time supporter of devolution I have no problem with this.7 - This has had a lot of media coverage about it being a total ban but it is no moreso than the smoking ban having made all smoking illegal
8 - I regret the partial bowing to unjustifiable scaremongering against GM foods. Oh well they are still much more rational than their competitors.