... well, unfortunately, Portobello High School (and others) have just joined the 'Ayr Cancer Centre' as a victim of this political (not just physical) axiom.
I've posted extensively on the Portobello High School situation - best way to see all the posts containing 'Portobello' is to go here. It's a long story, but in essence:
- the City of Edinburgh Council has had two successful rounds of new/refurbished 'school building programme'
- these programmes have been funded via Public Private Partnerships (PPP) ... not everyone's funding mechanism of first-choice, but alternatives to provide huge capital investment quickly are few and far between
- the second round of school building programme is still under way, due for completion in early 2010
- by then (early 2010) one third of all Edinburgh's pupils will be learning in new or completely refurbished buildings
- a third round of 'school building programme' was planned and significant work was done on this pre- May 2007
- in February/March 2007 the Council wrote to the (then) Scottish Executive saying we were working on a third round and giving details of the 5 schools for which we had initial plans
- the Scottish Executive responded and said, fine ... get back to us after the election when we can potentially consider any such proposals in detail
- no absolute promises - obviously - due to the imminent election
- we constructed a timeline of work to carry on developing these proposals with, crucially, a Business Case for the 5 schools (some £100million worth of projects) being scheduled for development immediately after the election and due for submission to the Scottish Executive at the end of August 2007
- I met with all 5 school Heads and School Board Chairs and shared that timeline with them ... I have it as a PDF (won't load onto Blogger!) but if anyone wants it, just let me know and I'll send it to you by e-mail
- May 3rd - SNP wins the election nationally (and also subsequently shares power locally)
- the education section of the national SNP manifesto is here
- the SNP are opposed to PFI/PPP - full stop
- crucially they say in their national manifesto: "We will match the current school building programme brick for brick, and offer an alternative funding mechanism through the Scottish Futures Trust. With better value bonds we can release more money to invest in the frontline."
- the SNP local (Edinburgh) manifesto said something very similar: "We will match the existing building programme; brick for brick, financed through a lower cost bond based system which is a far more cost-effective option than PFI/PPP."
- my emphasis!
Well, today we learn they won't be investing anything further in Edinburgh's school estate in the short term ... why - well they haven't worked out how to run or operate a 'Scottish Futures Trust'; in fact, I don't think they even know if such a Trust is possible for this type of capital project?
I genuinely hope I'm wrong and they deliver such a Trust in due course ... I won't though be holding my breath.
Frankly, the SNP have had eight-years in Opposition to work on this ... they clearly have done no serious work on it at all, and have now boxed themselves into a corner ... they won't use PFI/PPP, and the end result is Portobello High School (and many, many others across Scotland) will have to wait for traditional financial methods to fund refurbishments.
We all know what that means.
It is a scandal ... and only goes to prove (tragically) that Newton's third law of classical mechanics does indeed apply to politics and not just physics.