Fact Checked – The Wings over Scotland Blog on the Forth Road Bridge Closure.

Campbell starts his blog by admitting he’s “been struggling to get a good grip on what’s happening with the Forth Road Bridge this week”. This is evident as he fails to mention either Derek Mackay’s duplicity or the 65% capital spending cut Audit Scotland noted was imposed by the SNP.  But let’s look at the six points he does raise.

1. It is all Labour’s fault (Labour = Bad).
Firstly, FETA was not a “non-government organisation” (AKA NGO), it was a “Quasi Non-Governmental Organisation” (AKA QUANGO). Suggesting that the Scottish Government had no control of FETA is bonkers – it set its budget and was able to privatise it. Furthermore, suggesting Labour Councillors were somehow to blame for the cancelation of maintenance in 2010 is silly. There were some good engineering reasons for this delay, but Audit Scotland also noted at the time that the Scottish Government “Funding arrangements continue to provide management with challenges”.

2. FETA was Funding Work from its reserves 2011.
FETA did, wisely, hold a contingency reserve. However, its reserves were buoyant in 2011 as the Scottish Government was providing funding in advance. This is clear when we put Campbell’s quote in context: “The effect of advanced grant funding has been that FETA instead of having to draw down reserves for increased capital expenditure has increased its net reserves. However, FETA is planning to use its reserves to meet future capital expenditure”. Nonetheless, he April 2014 minutes are absolutely clear that work was deferred in 2011 due to a spending review.

3. The replacement work would have entailed the closure of the bridge for a significant period.
Campbell provides no evidence to substantiate this, nor does he define “significant”. The FETA minutes are clear that there would be “disruption”, but this is not detailed – it could be anything from speed restrictions to full closure. In any event, a proactive closure would be better than the crisis we currently find ourselves in.

Importantly, FETA favoured repair to replacement (less cost  and disruption).

4. Replacing the failed component in 2010 might simply have seen the bridge having to be closed twice.
This is pure speculation which ignores the fact that Derek Mackay has said the 2010 work would have seen the failed component replaced:

5. The removal of bridge tolls is a red herring
No, the tolls gave FETA the budget it needed to inspect, maintain and operate the bridge. By removing them, FETA faced cuts at the hands of the SNP.

6. Work on the Queensferry Crossing should have started sooner.
This is a red herring. If the condition of the existing bridge was justification for building a whole new bridge, why cut its inspection, maintenance and operation budget? Think about it.


Some of the above is arguably differences of opinion. Nonetheless, it is very clear that Campbell is exhibiting confirmation bias. Something we all suffer from time-to-time. 😉


16 thoughts on “Fact Checked – The Wings over Scotland Blog on the Forth Road Bridge Closure.

  1. RevStu says:

    What a big heap of pish you do write, Scott.

    “suggesting Labour Councillors were somehow to blame for the cancelation of maintenance in 2010 is silly”

    When did I do that? I say “FETA made the right decision”.

    “he fails to mention either Derek Mackay’s duplicity or the 65% capital spending cut Audit Scotland noted was imposed by the SNP”

    1. Derek Mackay said absolutely nothing untrue.

    2. I said “the Scottish Government reduced FETA’s capital funding in 2011” and linked to the report. Most people are well aware of who ran the Scottish Government in 2011. But if you need to look it up, let me know.

    I’m glad you agree with me that FETA had cash reserves for capital spending.

    “Campbell provides no evidence to substantiate this”

    Because most people with an IQ above 4 wouldn’t need it pointing out that replacing an entire section of the bridge would be MORE disruptive than repairing one small part within that section. Like, duh.

    “This is pure speculation”

    Yes, it is. Hence the repeated use of the word “might”. That’s what “might” means. There are two sources linked affirming that the damaged part broke suddenly with no indication that it had previously been worn. Therefore, replacing it would not necessarily have prevented that happening.

    “the tolls gave FETA the budget it needed to inspect, maintain and operate the bridge”

    All of which was still happening. That’s how they spotted the fracture, thicky.

    “Work on the Queensferry Crossing should have started sooner”

    Pretty obviously it should. FETA had been warning since 2005 (and before) that a new bridge was needed. If it had been started then, rather than years later, it would have been finished by now. And it takes an especially heroic kind of spectacular dribbling idiot to deny that a second bridge being operational now would be reducing the disruption.

    Otherwise, top work!

    Can we still reach you at No.27 for legal purposes, btw?


    • drscottthinks says:

      You are out of your depth. For example, many key parts of the bridge have already been replaced without any need for closure. In any event, as I say in my blog above, engineers favoured repair (strengthening), not replacement.

      I could go on…


  2. RevStu says:

    I’m sure many parts HAVE been replaced without closure, champ. But in THIS case we’re talking about an ENTIRE SECTION, and much more to the point a section in which the potential failure of a SINGLE component HAS already required the bridge to be closed.

    So your argument is that repairs to that component DO need the bridge closed, yet somehow replacement of that component AND the entire section surrounding it WOULDN’T.

    Which, y’know, even by your normal Olympian standards of ridiculously fuckwitted stupidity is quite an effort.

    I’ll assume you concede all the other points. And seriously, can we serve you papers at that address or not?


    • drscottthinks says:

      all the insults don’t hide the fact that you are offering nothing but uninformed speculation… and you are still avoiding the fact that FETA planned to proceed with strengthening, not replacement… and there is no evidence that either would have resulted in a closure!

      As I said, many key parts of the bridge have already been replaced without any need for closure. This includes MANY load bearing elements. The work that FETA were doing really was state-of-the-art.

      I’d stick to video games if I were you.


      Liked by 2 people

  3. Peter Shaw (@PCSoblahdeehell) says:

    Wings, Wings, Wings

    “What a big heap of pish”, “thicky”, “champ”, “fuckwitted stupidity”.

    I’ve seen you elsewhere definalty defend your habit of swaggering, sneering bullyboy language against those who take issue with you: beating your chest and bellowing like an after-hours back alley scrapper (safely ensconced in a warmed computer room) that you will let nobody take away your freedom to indulge yourself in colourful expression.

    Because – so you suggest – you have a right to be enraged. And you desperately need to impress upon your readers the mighty scorn your less boorish opponents have deserved.

    But your pathetic, constant attempts to blow away, belittle and/or ridicule in the eyes of readers anyone who questions your dubious contentions, your faulty methods, actually show YOU up.

    You, who never give an inch – except to claim an opponent has agreed with you.

    They display the feebleness of your positions & fabrications (I can’t dignify them with the term “arguments”) – and demonstrate the fact that your approaches are anything but big, or clever.

    You are clearly depending on devotees so obsessed with The One Great Cause that they are prepared to disable & surrender all critical faculties, bow down, and take your word for it.

    How much longer do you think that will last?

    And here, additionally, you keep trying to blackmail your opponent with rumbling threats of legal action. That’s even bigger, even cleverer.

    You can run (from blog to blog, kicking down the door, shouting and roaring, insulting, sneering and compounding your fabrications), but you can’t hide the fact that you present yourself as a shameless bluffer, a cynical casuist, and, in the process, an increasingly unpleasant individual.


  4. Stuart says:

    Indeed what of Wingsy’s threated legal action for defamation?

    Or has the wee blowhard run away?

    I can’t wait to see him under cross examination by a QC, there would not be enough popcorn in the world for that.

    As he would offer a target rich environment for any lawyer to take potshots at…

    Not to mention the embarrassment caused to the SNP, caused by his more lunatic comments, being played out in the full glare of the media.

    However I’ll bet the little coward is all talk and no action…


  5. Jack says:

    Rev Stu – what a mardy slap faced and slap headed nonentity you really are, idly threatening someone with legal action just because they have the temerity to prove that you are once again talking utter and constant b0ll0cks.

    Stu, you are the saddest streak of snot ever to walk upon this planet.


  6. Rick says:

    RevStu is away taking a crashcourse in engineering now. It’s the next step in his all encompassing defence of the Scottish Nationalists.

    Stinking bigoted tramp.


    • drscottthinks says:

      The only CE programme I know is the 2nd best in the UK.

      The NCE article:
      1. The quote in the headline does not appear in the text.
      2. Mackay has since said the faulty part was due to be replaced in 2010…


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