I live outside Edinburgh but work in the city. I used to work in Glasgow. When I worked in Glasgow I lived in Edinburgh. As a commuter the main difference between the two cities is that Glasgow has an intergated public transport system – regular reliable buses, an underground system, and local train lines throughout the city; and Edinburgh doesn’t. Public transport in Edinburgh is almost tolerable if you are tying to get into the centre (although it takes ages, even with occasional designated bus routes) but reaching inaccessible parts (like the Scottish Executive buildings in Leith) can be an adventure, and travelling from one outer area to another is hugely problematic. I once carried out work for the Executive and it took less time to travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh than it did to get a bus from Edinburgh centre to the Executive. Similarly, when I lived in the Parkgrove area of Edinburgh my train from Glasgow to Haymarket was quicker than the bus back home from Haymarket to Parkgrove.
In recent years proposals to reinstate a tram system in Edinburgh were approved by the Scottish Parliament. These proposals are not popular with some businesses (bus companies?) nor with the SNP who – on taking government – launched a funding review. The funding review reported earlier in the week indicating the tram project was on time, on budget, had been robustly costed and was nothing to worry about. The SNP disagree (early indications were given in a shambolic interview friend of the blog Stewart Stevenson gave to Newsnight Scotland where his ineptitude shone though). Wee Eck, the Great Healer in the Necropolis of Scottish parliamentary politics, confirmed that today. He’ll be voting agin the tram project (no doubt his SNP colleagues and the members of the West Lothian mafia that runs Nationalist politics will follow the Great Healer in pushing the appropriate buttons).
Now, why on earth would the Brian Souter funded Scottish Nationalist Party vote against introducing competition in public transport in Edinburgh? For the life of me I can’t think of a decent answer.