Jim Brown’s letter (letters, March 10) intrigued me. Opinion was sought from all serious political groups and Scottish Borders Council for the railway, but it would seem it was not considered important to consult the Borders population.
Similarly, the railway is to be paid for by urbanisation of the central Borders, again, something we have not been consulted about.
I challenge Mr Brown to produce one shred of evidence that would stand up in a court of law, to support the statement parroted by chief executive Hume and council leader Parker that “the majority of Borderers support the railway”.
We have only had one opportunity to vote on the railway as a single-issue item, and at that meeting it was overwhelmingly rejected.
However, the truth of why the railway cannot be cancelled is slipping out. Developer’s money, that we were assured would be ring-fenced in case it had to be repaid if the railway was cancelled, has been spent and would have to be repaid by the council taxpayer. That would scupper the chances of the majority of councillors being re-elected, so self-preservation to the fore.
No, Mr Brown, the ulterior motive lies not with the Borders Party but with Scottish Borders Council and its councillors who are determined to urbanise the central Borders at any cost, with no regard to the electorate’s views or wishes.
Like Malcolm Ross I have spoken to many Borderers and only ever found one in favour of the railway, the rest consider it to be an expensive white elephant, which will doubtless rival the Edinburgh tram fiasco.
So Mr Brown, either present your evidence or do what you were elected to do, represent the views of the electorate and stop this nonsense now.
Cllr. Jim Brown (last week’s letters) asks if I would really want to stop the railway now. Yes, of course: if a project is a waste of money and it hasn’t been built, then don’t build it.
He says we should carry on; firstly because so much has been spent on it already – indeed, but throwing good money after bad is the logic of the casino, and secondly because he fears the money might go elsewhere – and that’s the logic of the child who would rather have a toy he won’t play with than see his cousin get something she really needs.
If you believe, Jim, that laying the line from Gorebridge to Tweedbank at a cost of £350,000 plus per regularly-used-seat is good value, then do please tell us so. It’s no good just saying trains are nice so let’s build the line: politicians have a duty to spend our money sensibly.
There are councillors of all colours who don’t really believe in the project, but have kept quiet because they are frightened to rock their national party boats. Regardless of what voters tell them they persist with the dreary argument that we must hang onto Edinburgh’s coat-tails.
One reason we started the Borders Party is because we don’t share that negative view. Rather than let us become a suburb, we recognise the special strengths and qualities of the Borders and want to make the area prosper by making the most of them.
Sandy Aitchison and I are the only councillors to have spoken out against the railway, and against being subsumed into the Edinburgh City Region. We may not please everybody, but at least we say what we think is best for the Borders.
Leader of the Borders Party
There is a well-known technical term for the solution proposed by Jim Brown to the problem of the developers money already spent and it is known as throwing good money after bad.
It is a psycological condition of great interest to and deeply studied by professionals, but which should form no part whatever in the commissioning of public works.
The business case put forward would be in no danger of persuading any private investor or banker to provide funding and the only reason anybody is interested is the attraction of a bottomless pit of public money.
As we saw with the Scottish Parliament, are seeing with the Edinburgh Trams and have seen over a long period with the scandal of defence procurement, an attractive initial proposal is designed to seduce the politicians to embark on a project which, once started, becomes unstoppable.
Any comparison with the transport infrastructure of densely populated central Scotland is risible.
I am deeply ashamed of the regret espoused that, absent the railway, the money might go out of the Borders to the Glasgow airport link. What on earth is wrong with that if it is better spent there – we are all Scots after all!
It will prove impossible to load the risk of this project on to the contractors – for they are not daft – so the risk once again will be stuck to the tax payer in one form or another.
Railways have large fixed costs which are rising and are reflected in the huge fares on even the heavily congested London/South Coast link – we do not have the London commuter wages to sustain this and will never have enough passengers.
We will be subjected to truculent and strike-prone railway staff and it will probably see the end of free bus travel for the old folk.
Borderers are realistic and if given the opportunity to vote on this vanity project would leave the organisers in no doubt as to their settled view.