It was with bemusement that I read Edinburgh Design Champion Sir Terry Farrell (whom we appointed) utter the words vision and Libdem in the same sentence and apparently without irony. I was please however, to see the Edinburgh Evening News, not always our greatest fan, (by the way Sir Terry,, that was irony!) defend our record without necessarily supporting everything we did.
Sir Terry claims that he feels “a sense of failure in the post after working under the former Labour administration” so because things have not happened quickly enough for him, especially in planning. The truth is that Edinburgh, despite receiving over 23.000 applications every year, is no slower than any other city.
In the last twenty years Edinburgh was transformed under our leadership. 12 best city awards in 6 years, £6 billion of development, the Financial quarter (which Sir Terry was involved in), Edinburgh Park, the Gyle, the Biomedical park, RBS HQ, the St James Centre investment and much more. Under labour 92% of its residents were satisfied with Edinburgh as a place to live, the highest for any city in the UK. We made the largest investment in school buildings ever delivered with over 40 new or refurbished schools in 8 years, delivered five park and rides and a tram system so far on time and budget, all of which brought 55,000 new jobs in 10 years and the lowest unemployment ever. Not everything. There is much more to do. But a powerful legacy.
At the last Council meeting I asked The Lib Dem leader what new ideas for the city were in her budget as she had said that it would contain “her vision for the city”. Her reply was that there were no new ideas because in the world of consensus politics, if things are going well there's no need to change them. In other words, her vision is to do things our way!
Sir Terry has done some amazing things in his time, but this "conversion" to the contradiction in terms that is the idea of a "Libdem vision" can only be politely described as something from a parallel universe. I just hope that he recovers soon and rejoins us on Planet Earth.
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