A view from the Bridge

THIS week’s front page in the Times is dominated by the ongoing wrangle over construction of the A90, and why it’s taking so damnably long to get anything done in this part of the country.

Landowner Brian Dawson is quite right to point out that it’s a nonsense that the project is taking eight years thus far. And he’s also quite right to draw attention to the fact that the delays are retarding development north of Aberdeen. In a time of recession, we need projects like these to grow the economy. Infrastructure projects are exactly what we need. Desperately.

How much money the Scottish Government has saved by bundling the project with the wider AWPR project remains a matter for conjecture: I can say, though, that the fact a tiny, wealthy pressure group can bring such a critical project to a stop is simply diabolical. It would be hilarious if it were happening to someone else. But RoadSense are here, and it’s we who will be forced to circumnavigate Aberdeen on macadamised 17th century cattle tracks forevermore if they win.

The entire episode has illustrated the inherent stupidity of the present legal arrangements in Scotland. With so many delightful taxpayer-funded courts of appeal for the litigious to choose from, it’s little wonder we find ourselves in this omnishambles.

There should be one final court of appeal in Edinburgh, beyond which these cases could travel no further. The only winners from the system as it is are lawyers, and those determined to keep the north-east a giant Victorian cemetery. As usual, the losers are the ordinary people of the north-east.

In other, less stressful news, I was pleased to report this week about the ongoing efforts to preserve Ellon’s red squirrel population in the face of competition from the bigger, tougher greys.

The red has become something of an informal ‘symbol’ for Ellon’s natural beauty. Bob Davis of EBAG suggested I might want to print a recipe for grey squirrel pie in the paper, but I have a sneaking suspicion that even the town’s most ardent conservationists might balk at cooking the much-despised greys.

LASTLY, was I the only person in Britain who felt a bit sorry for George Osbourne at the Paralympics?

I understand the chancellor isn’t maybe the most popular man in the country just now, but I thought the booing lowered the tone of a cheerful event. A stony silence would have been just as effective, and much politer.