Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

The Holyrood skip is featured on a stamp

No matter how many times ‘They’ try to retell history, make up ‘Alternative Facts’, or claim that the Holyrood Skip aka the Scottish Parliament Building was never estimated at something like £40 million, and that the final accounting of something more like £430 million – I won’t buy it.

Oh! My mistake – I paid tax at the time, so I was FORCED to buy it, no matter what it cost.

For example (just one link, I don’t have enough time left to list more): MSPs ‘deceived’ over Holyrood costs

And it made a list too: Great British building blunders

The Scottish Parliament – 2004

In arguably the most spectacular mismanagement of public finances ever, the original estimate for the construction of the Scottish Parliament building, Holyrood, did not even cover the final tax bill.
Over nearly 10 years projected costs of £40m ballooned to a final bill of over £400m as design changes, overruns and a hugely ambitious architectural specification turned what should have been the pride of Scotland’s burgeoning political ambition into a major embarrassment.
In attempting to design a building that reflected both the geography and culture of Scotland, the joint Spanish/Scottish architectural team EMBT-RMJM created mountains of extra costs.

While I have no interest whatsoever in the politics, I will never forgive those responsible for their choice of architect, his wife (who apparently came knocking on the door for more money after he died), and the pile of rubbish foist on Scotland, beaten by the Scottish weather and leaking (water in, and heat out), and then also apparently needing yet more spent not long after completion to upgrade its poor security.

Worse still, reports noted back in 2014 suggest will be cheaper to demolish the heap after it has been standing for only 30 years (due to spiralling maintenance costs).

So, I’m not quite sure why anybody would want to have a stamp issued to commemorate a national embarrassment and a skip, but it seems they did:

Scottish Parliament and Armadillo celebrated with new stamps

SeSco was lucky enough to be given an early look at one of the designs, featuring a view of the Scottish Parliament in session in the £430 million Catalan architectural ‘gem’.

Holyrood Skip Stamp

Holyrood Skip Stamp

The BBC also had the story of the new stamps, but wisely avoided any mention of the Holyrood skip in its story, although it did include a pic (probably had to, to avoid accusations of pro-Glasgow bias) – but that means little since it also had pics of all the other places featured on the new stamps.

SEC Armadillo features in new special set of stamps


July 15, 2017 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | 1 Comment

Holyrood allows discrimination against cats

Mouse fun

After our good MSPs awarded themselves a £413 glory hole to hide in – after estimating it would cost only a then of that (which is around £40 million, just in case you think I mis-typed – and I am one of those who does not buy ANY of the mythological excuses that the £40 million was not the original estimate, no matter how the story is spun), it seems that they are just as hopeless when it comes to dealing with the vermin which has taken up residence there.

No jokes now… I am not a rabid political activist (I’m an equal opportunity cynic) and don’t want to see any comments about this relating to the good folk in there, regardless of party, and wish to make it clear than I am referring to the mice which have made the skip known as the Parliament Building at Holyrood their home.

While many famous and glorious institutions around the World have seen fit to establish cats within their wall and act as natural vermin control, see for example The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, featured by the BBC(2007) and The Telegraph (2013):

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Hermitage palace is cat’s whiskers

St Petersburg: the cats of the Hermitage

The MSPs, it seems, are too sickly and sensitive to live with cats anywhere near them:

“Members have said to us that they would have an allergy to a resident cat.

Said Corporate Body health and safety spokeswoman Linda Fabiani.

Are they serious, and is the level of reality the MSPs we are supposed to depend on demonstrate?

If they are that sensitive to a cat wandering around a skip the size of Holyrood, then they’re probably not fit to go there to work in the first place, as a little pollution in the street is likely to have them in need of an ambulance to get them as far as the door.

They’d be better throwing the MSPs out of the building, and filling it with cats – at least the visitors would get something nice to see instead of that abomination on the site.

Essential reading for MSPs

The BBC has a couple of offerings which MSPs might well be advised to study:

Cat allergy research offers new clues

‘Cat allergy made me feel like an outcast’

After the quote from the Corporate Jokeswoman of Holyrood, I can only add this posting made on Twitter:

Spoof Twitter account pokes fun at cat rejection

A spoof Twitter account set up in the name of the ‘romping rodents’ has taken the news in its stride. @HolyroodMouse, set up in March tweeted ‘Common sense prevails!

Freeeeeeeeedooooooom!!!!!!!!’, following it up with ‘You see all these stories about how I’m such a ‘problem’ but not once have I been approached for my side of the story. Pro-cat media bias!’

When asked for a comment, the mouse replied: ‘I welcome the common sense rejection of a #parlycat because sociopaths have no place in Holyrood. However, “pest control” is inflammatory language that we can do without in the interests of human-mouse relations.’

The Holyrood Mouse is not alone however, counting the New York Times newsroom mouse and the Newsnight mouse – both of whom regularly interact with users on Twitter – amongst its followers.

Via No Holyrood cat despite ‘flaunting’ mice – Odd – The Scotsman

Grumpy wisdom

Last word, of course, to an expert in such things:

Grumpy Holyrood

June 20, 2013 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s been an architectural murder

GloveWhile it could have provided an appropriate setting for the investigation of numerous murders, not least architectural design, style, and taste, and not forgetting those of project management and finance management, it seems that thoughts of filming some parts of a Taggart episode within the money-pit that now houses the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood in Edinburgh have been quashed, according to a story from STV published in November 2008.

Looks as if the producers tried to gain favour with the site owners, and stated the overspend as only being four time original estimate, and not the more usual ten times (which is probably the closer of the two), and gave the cost of the eyesore as only £400 million, while it was probably closer to £430 million. But what’s £30 million after all? Mere loose change when you’ve squandered hundred of millions.

If the architect hadn’t died of a medical condition partway through the build, it might have been an interesting storyline for the Taggart team to figure out how his body came to be lying at the foot of the partially completed structure, and they could have worked on the case of whether it was a guilt-driven suicide, or if he was pushed by a taxpayer, as the cost of project spiralled out of the control, and the Scots were taken for mugs that just had to keep pouring money into the build once it had started.

If the overspend part wasn’t true, there’s probably not a producer around that would have taken the financial debacle of the Scottish Parliament as a credible storyline, and would have rejected it as “unbelievable”.

Possibly more worrying was the revelation that First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond MP MSP wants to star in Taggart – and note that the word star was used, not simply appear – you’d think, and hope, the First Minister of Scotland had more serious aims.

For non-Taggart watchers, or those that came late to the series – only the longest running police drama on television in the world, having recently celebrated its 25th year, and only three away from its hundredth episode – the gloved hand was one of the early stars, often seen committing the crime, but not identified. Seems kind of appropriate where the Scottish Parliament building is concerned.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment

Bottomless Money Pit

At £400 million plus however many more millions have never come to light, the Scottish Parliament Money Pit building in Holyrood continues to gobble up cash.

Now, as if anyone actually needs to be told what it is, it’s to gain a nice, new, shiny, giant, granite, sign proclaiming its presence to the world. Costing a mere £20,000 for its initial installation, this will continue to cost us on a daily (nightly?) basis since it is also to be illuminated, so contributing to the capital city’s carbon footprint, and light pollution footprint too.

The place might soon be hidden behind signs, as it seems there’s already been a new stainless steel notice board installed near the entrance, to keep visitors informed.


There’s little better value when you look at how they keep the insides in order either.

The fiasco of last year’s Scottish Parliament and local government election judged that the voters had been considered to be ‘afterthoughts’, with 146,000 ballot papers being rejected when the vote counting machinery failed to be able to cope. The election cost itself was almost £40 million, and the company that failed to provide adequate equipment to do the job they were paid for still walked away almost £9 million better off than when they started. They should have got 50 p for job they did.

April 20, 2008 Posted by | Civilian | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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