Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Wednesday 15 September 2004

Holyrood Inquiry report says "no single villain"

Instead, Lord Fraser reports that:

"Tempting as it is to lay all the blame at the door of a deceased wayward Spanish architectural genius, his stylised fashion of working and the strained relationship between his widow and RMJM in Edinburgh, the analysis of the auditor general is unimpeachable.

"Costs rose because the client (first the secretary of state and latterly the parliament) wanted increases and changes or at least approved of them in one manifestation or another."

"I have some surprise that he (referring to Donald Dewar) did not leave it to the parliament both on location and what was included."
"What I was asked to do was make recommendations, not write letters of dismissal.

"I trust those responsible, political leadership and civil servants, that they will read very carefully what I have identified as significant.

"I simply don't understand why if you get independent cost consultants who give you a risk analysis you then ignore that advice."

The final two sentences above need to be examined very carefully. My general reaction is that whilst Lord Fraser has reached broadly the correct conclusions, the report is not nearly hard-hitting enough; however, in the carefully moderate language that he has used, I think Lord Fraser has indicated what he would really like to have said in those two sentences, but clearly felt he could not permit himself to do in a formal report. Whilst at one level I can understand, if not condone, his extreme discretion of language, I fear that this report will quietly be filed away and not acted upon decisively. Of course there there will be a lot of 'sound and light' in the media, and on little blogs like this, but the machinery of politics and government that allowed this fiasco to happen will just grind on relentlessly and nothing will really change and few (if any) lessons will be learned. And no-one, or very few, will be forced out of positions funded by us poor suckers, the taxpayers. And politicians have the impertinence, not to mention the brass neck, to continue to wonder why the public is disillusioned with them.

Read what some others think here, plus some comments from some of our political 'betters' here, although I doubt if the political parties they represent would have given us a better outcome had they been in the Scottish Executive (.. but of course one of the commenting Parties, the Liberal Democrats, were - they have some nerve!).

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