Thursday, August 25, 2011

That Tram vote in detail ...

I've had a lot of e-mails asking for the Tram vote to be explained in a bit more detail ...

... so, with apologies if I'm about to bore you to death, but here's what happened:


  • Lib-Dems had a 'Motion' to support the St. Andrew Square option - known as Motion
  • Labour had 'Amendment' to support the Haymarket option - known as Amendment 1
  • SNP had 'Amendment' not saying much at all frankly - known as Amendment 2
  • Tories had 'Amendment' seeking clarification on certain costs - known as Amendment 3
  • Greens had 'Amendment' seeking clarification on certain costs - known as Amendment 4

So let the voting begin ...

ROUND 1
  • Motion gets 16 votes (Lib-Dems)
  • Amendment 1 gets 15 votes (Labour)
  • Amendment 2 gets 13 votes (SNP)
  • Amendment 3 gets 10 votes (Tories)
  • Amendment 4 gets 3 votes (Greens)

ROUND 2 (Amendment 4 has fallen)
  • Motion gets 16 votes (Lib-Dems)
  • Amendment 1 gets 15 votes (Labour)
  • Amendment 2 gets 13 votes (SNP)
  • Amendment 3 gets 10 votes (Tories)
  • 3 Councillors Abstain (Greens)

ROUND 3 (Amendment 3 has now fallen)
  • Motion gets 19 votes (Lib-Dems + Greens)
  • Amendment 1 gets 25 votes (Labour + Tories)
  • Amendment 2 gets 13 votes (SNP)

ROUND 4 (Amendment 2 has now fallen)
  • Motion gets 19 votes (Lib-Dems + Greens)
  • Amendment 1 gets 25 votes (Labour + Tories)
  • 13 Councillors Abstain (SNP)

So 'Amendment 1' has received the majority of the votes cast (abstentions are not 'votes cast') and is carried as an "Act of Council" --- Officers will now work to deliver it ... and so should a mature political Leadership, even if its just lost the vote!

I should pay all-credit to the Tories for backing our position, once theirs had fallen ... thus avoiding a repeat of the situation in June when 16 Lib-Dem votes won the day.

Hope that helps explain what happened - happy to try and answer any further questions: just get in touch.

24 comments:

Douglas McLellan said...

I had a lot of respect for you after meeting you in the mid 90s. Even when the congestion charge was going against you I still supported the idea.

Your actions today are nothing but amoral political opportunism. I remember your idealism about politics sitting in Gorgie Dalry branch meetings.

After today, I have nothing but contempt.

Andrew said...

Douglas

Thanks for the comment ...

... I'm really sorry you feel that way, but I simply disagree with your assessment.

Andrew

Last Blast said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cohen Hand said...

Dreadful decision. Yet another nail in the coffin for anyone's faith in the goodwill of democracy. Edinburgh city councillors will rue this day - this decision will not only foster scepticism and mistrust about local government in Edinburgh, but will also have a considerable negative impact on Edinburgh (and Scotland's) reputation internationally. Shameful, idiotic, opportunistic and downright cynical - the superlatives are legion.

Anonymous said...

Why is the original contract of £540 million not being enforced ?

That is building the full line from the Airport to Ocean Terminal. Putting the costs of this project onto the contractor rather than the council taxpayers.

In the current situation the city has lost the full cost of building the tram from Haymarket to Ocean Terminal. That is GROSS mismanagement of a public contract and heads should roll. The contractor walk away scotfree as they do not carried the burden by way of a loss on the unbuild section of the system. In fact they get given many more millions of pounds for the building a much reduced tram system.

TIE are replaced and senior members of management walk of with massive bonuses for WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????

What do the poor people of Edinburgh get in exchange of £1,000,000,000 ? Cuts in local services and paying for it for the next 30 years.

Oooh and 6.5mile of tramway which cost over £150million per mile.I think thats about £2000 per inch.

Who thought this crazy idea up in the first place? Anyone we know ?

Andrew said...

Cohen - thanks for the comment ... not sure what you believe the sensible alternative would have been? Andrew.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

Thanks for the comment.

The principle of trams is one I still support, and yes (as I'm somewhat sure you know) Labour were involved in developing these proposals ... but all Parties supported them throughout their gestation and ALL Councillors voted in favour of the current contracts on 1st May 2008.

Not sure on your 'cuts' points ... would certainly have applied if the St. Andrew Square option had been pursued today, but massive additional borrowing of +£230million has now been avoided.

Anyhow, thanks for checking the blog.

Andrew

Cohen Hand said...

I have a concrete question for you, Andrew. Short of civil disobedience and/or public protests, what democratic options do Edinburgh residents now have in which they can express their dissatisfaction with this outcome?

I think it’s pretty clear by now that none of the 70-odd elective representatives of the Council – meaning both those in administration and opposition – have any mandate to rule any more. A scenario in which the votes of 20 people determines a decision which has no support of the people is a scenario which is quite simply untenable, not least where it is one which will effectively destroy the reputation of the city. While there will no doubt be resignations en masse from the Council as individuals attempt to hold onto some shred over their ever-decreasing integrity, the time is come to clean house.

Andrew said...

Cohen

Thanks for the further comment.

There are obviously Local Government elections next year on 3rd May 2012 (36-weeks away, today) when every elector in Edinburgh will have a vote to choose their local Councillor.

Just by way of informaiton, you might be interested in the results of the one Council by-election just last week, which can be found here:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/800/election_results/1061/council_ward_by-election_results

- and I have blogged about the result if you scroll down my posts.

And there are only 58 Councillors in Edinburgh, not 70+

Thanks again for checking the blog.

Andrew

Andrew said...

Sorry - short link here:

http://tinyurl.com/3w5p22u

Anonymous said...

You have not answer the question , WHY was the original contract price of £540 millions to build the full system from the Airport to Ocean Terminal ?

The loss of the section from Haymarket to Ocean terminal should have been carried by the contractor who must have quoted a price for building it. Quotations are legally binding are they not.

It is a failure of the contractor who should have examined the whole route to ensure that they were had the expertise to build the line for the quoted cost.

It is the failure of TIE to oversee the detail of the project which has led us to the situation. May be a lack of expertise to manage such a project. Why are the management walking way with bonuses and for WHAT ?

It is the failure of the council to enforce the original contract that is very wrong is it not ?

It is the failure of the council which drew up the original contract to ensure that they contractors could increase the price in this way.

It is however the poor council tax payers who will yet again pay for this Gross Mismanagement of tax payers money.

It must be gold plated track at two thousand pound an inch.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

Sorry if you feel I didn't address you question ...

... if you search 'tram' in the top left box, you'll be able to see all my posts over the years on this topic.

In essence, there is an ongoing dispute between the contractor and the Council over responsibility and this is referenced in a lot of my posts, which should have links to numerous formal reports on trams that have been through the Council in recent years.

Hope that helps.

Andrew

Cohen Hand said...

Thank you for your reply.

I'm aware that there are local government elections in May. But that is then.

In the meantime, are there other options that an individual citizen in the UK can take? For example, in Ireland, any individual can mount a legal constitutional challenge at any time. Do similar arrangements not exist within local government? Under what grounds, you may ask? I can't imagine it would be particularly difficult to construct some.

While I am not seeking to apportion blame to any one individual, I think it is time that Edinburgh citizens began to have a mature discussion about actually holding their elected representatives to account for what has been happening. The standard response thus far from representatives has been "this is the process", and then they apportion blame to their opposing party. It has created a culture that is actually pathological: nobody is to blame because it is always someone else's fault.

This is not an anti-tram diatribe by the way: I have always been in favour of the project and I have no particular party affiliation.

Andrew said...

Cohen

OK - I'm really not sure what else to suggest ... I'm not aware of any similar powers to those in Ireland.

You will have 3 or 4 local Councillors who represent your Ward - they should have local surgeries ... go and see them and tell them what you think?

If you live in Ward 9, my surgeries are here:

http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/councillors/34/andrew_burns

Andrew

Anonymous said...

In fact why are we not asking the contractor for a full refund as they are unable to complete the project within the original budget and timescale ?

This does represent the largest 'let off's' for a contractor in the history of public works ever. Whatever the future cost of building the balance of the track from Haymarket to Ocean Terminal the tax payer will still that cost to bear. £500 million or more !!!!!!

I would limit the council powers with immediate effect. Any project over say £100 Million (could be less) MUST get explicit and unequivical authority from the people of Edinburgh by referendum.

Anonymous said...

Andrew , let me ask you a hypothetical question.
What would you make of local authority that manages to make such a mess of a project, a mess so bad that a covered walkway about 400 yards long and a new platform on the track at the side of the airport would have achieved exactly the same outcome. Actually come 1st September it could look a lot worse than this. At a huge monetary cost, and an even greater pyschological cost on the people who lived in this city. What would you think Andrew, of such a local authority? I already know what you think. What do you plan to do about it?

Andrew said...

Anonymous1 - I've noted your points.

Anonymous2 - as you say, its clear what I think ... as for what next, the current Council Leadership now need to deliver on the democratic will of yesterday's vote in the City Chambers. Both they, and the senior Management Team, now have an absolute duty to get on and deliver what was decided. We'll obviously do everything we can to ensure that happens.

Stuart Cardozo said...

You were quoted in the paper saying that the tram line to Haymarket at least gave the city an asset.

I am just wondering in what possible way you think this would be the case? What is the point of a tram line that doesn't come in to the centre, to St Andrew Square.

I was against the trams but if we are going to have them they should at least serve the city. I can say that nobody will use it. If you are in the centre then why get a bus to Haymarket then get on a tram? It is farcical! And if you are at the airport you will get a tram to Haymarket, get off then get on the bus to the centre, a bus that you could have got at the airport anyway that would at least have taken you all the way. What a joke this whole thing is. I'm embarrased for my city, we are a laughing stock.

Andrew said...

Stuart

Thanks for the comment - I will get another post up later this evening with more detail on the actual report and options that were before us - all of them were deeply unpalatable: every one of them ...

... and we felt, very strongly, that the Haymarket option had by far the least risk attached to it.

I'll also post up copies of all the various Amendments - ours is already there, but I'll get the others up as well.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

Cohan Hand , I think it might be possible to impeach a council if they have grossly mismanaged pubic funds.

Just doing a bit of research on that and see some ancient evidence that may well be possible.

Stuart Cardozo said...

Thanks for the response Andrew, will have a look at what you have posted. But it seems to me that there must have been some alternative to this? I'm not sure that in this case no outcome at all (I.e. scrapping the whole project) would be worse than a bad outcome I.e. Haymarket.

It just seems that I may have been swayed by a network that went down to leith or newhaven/granton and I could see people getting a use from it. Unfortunately I just don't see this service being used and it making a huge loss each year. Also there is no real possibility of the line being extended with current finances expected to decrease so much in the future. It will be years bfore the city can afford to extend the line into town or down to leith.

Andrew said...

Stuart

Thanks for your further comment.

I absolutely take your point about extending the project further to Leith/Granton etc. Indeed, all those powers do exist due to the two Tram Bills which we took through Parliament between 2004-2006.

But the costs and timescales have completely unravelled in recent years - there's just no other way to put it - and given zero additional Government support, the only other option (available at the moment)is for the Council to borrow and that would have a devastating impact on already very hard-pressed services.

Anyhow - thanks for taking the time to come back to me.

Andrew

Anonymous said...

If you have a shred of decency left - resign now. And take the rest of the rogues and idiots who voted for this unwanted vanity project with you.

Cohen Hand - I regret to say that there is really only one way to make these fools listen and that is at the ballot box. It's my guess that the majority of the citizens of Edinburgh know EXACTLY who's to blame for this catastrophic waste of money and will exact their revenge accordingly.

Andrew said...

Anonymous

Thanks for the comment.

Understand your view, but its not one I share obviously. ALL Councillors voted in favour of the current contracts and yes, of course, people will have their say on May 3rd next year.

Anyhow, thanks for checking out the blog.

Andrew