Time to halt chasing flashy headlines
READING last week’s Echo, I came across an article that made me nearly drop my paper with surprise.
The leader of the Sunderland Conservatives was lamenting, (as are we all), the bridge fiasco, and was “wanting answers about the process”.
Could this be the same gentleman whose letter to the Transport Secretary Justine Greening was given lots of publicity in November 2011, when he was involved enough in the process to ask her for cash? If the appeal had paid for the bridge, I wonder who would have claimed the credit?
Not that optimism is new to Conservative leaders in the area. In 2010, the then Conservative leader, Lee Martin, claimed in his election leaflet “As the leader of the city’s Conservative opposition, I have successfully fought for Sunderland’s Iconic Bridge to be built...”
Famous last words, but arguing that, despite climbing onto their high horse last week, our local Tories can’t claim total ignorance where the bridge is concerned.
The way I see it, our local politicians should ignore all the flashy, expensive projects that waste millions of pounds, and concentrate on the little things that make peoples’ lives better, but don’t generate impressive headlines.
We would all be better off.
Beyond the pale
GIVEN the debacle over the proposed iconic Wear Crossing senior figures in Sunderland Council, both elected members and officers must surely be considering their position and should do the honourable thing?
How can the proposed scheme be so much over budget that it has had to be scrapped? How could they have got it so wrong?
After all, they have worked on the scheme and estimates for a few years. It is enough that our civic leaders have, once again, reduced Sunderland and its citizens to a laughing stock, but to have also cost the taxpayer what could amount to several million pounds in wasted, aborted costs is beyond the pale.
We now need the people at the top to be held to account and we need a full, detailed, audited account of what has been wasted on the aborted scheme. This should be provided publically without having to be requested.
After all, these costs for design, contract documentation, tender documents, negotiations etc must be well documented and it is our money.
It is all right Coun Paul Watson saying: “While it is initially disappointing to learn the unique design cannot be built within the budget available, we must now move forward positively towards our vision for a new Sunderland bridge, albeit by modifying our approach.”
What about accountability for the shambles of the iconic bridge?
We need eccentrics
IN the letter Mick or Myth, L Taylor asked the question is Mick The Pen, the infamous letter writer, real or made up by the Echo? It was interesting to note that the Editor made no comment either way.
I know that New York and Manhattan newspapers invent a fictional character to write controversial letters to gain a response and get people talking – it’s a good thing to do.
It would be pretty boring without eccentrics in the world and man or myth, I look forward to more letters from The Pen.
Mr J Leadbitter,
St Lukes Road
My team-mate Mick
SOMEONE wrote alleging that Mick ‘The Pen’ Brown was in fact the editor of the Echo just winding people up.
I can tell you that this is not true as Mick is a member of my bridge team at the local Conservative club where we meet regularly and discuss Post Office queues, tartan trolleys, allotments and the like, while we quaff our G&Ts and nibble on canapés.
We often put Wearside to rights. We even have matching jags that we like to show off when we attend the Freemasons Hall in Washington, where we practise our funny handshakes and tartan headscarfs are forbidden.
John ‘The Pun’ Watson