Friday, 18 April 2003

In defence of the new Scottish Parliament Building

I note that the website of the Scottish Conservatives tells us that the cost of the new Parliament Building is running £298 million over the original budget of £40 million. Actually, it's probably more than that now and I expect the final cost to be in the region of £500 million. The Tories proclaim themselves to be a "centre right" party. We should expect them to say that the overspend would have been better left in the pockets of the taxpayers. But no, instead we are told that the £298 million could have been spent on:
100 primary schools
25 secondary schools
3 major hospitals
I am sure the Tories think that "schools and hospitals" will appeal to the electorate. Some of us, though, think that government schools and nationalised health services are positively harmful. Maybe they are "public bads" rather than "public goods". If that is so, and if the millions aren't to be given back to their rightful owners, then perhaps it's better that the money be spent on a building where we can easily find the spendthrifts and deal with them as appropriate.