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Holyrood critic again casts Black Magick over overspend

Holyrood critic David Black has updated his savage exposÚ into the Scottish Parliament fiasco with a new pamphlet that aims to shift the debate from architectural shortcomings to political and legal mismanagement.

Holyrood, The Magick Kingdom builds on Black's first book, All The First Minister's Men, published in 2001, which explores plans to erect a modern Scottish Parliament building on a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Black investigates the workings of auditor Ernst & Young, claiming it overlooked that the design team - made up of Enric Miralles with RMJM - was not adequately insured.

The author also demands to know why the project budget was allowed to soar from £10 million to £490 million before coming under the scrutiny of auditors.

'The architectural deal set up in 1988 exposed public finances to potentially huge liabilities if it went down the plughole, ' says Black. 'Furthermore, how is it Ernst & Young failed to notice that the Spanish partner had no valid insurance?'

Key figures in the debacle also come under fire, including Jack McConnell, finance minister during much of Holyrood's construction, who refused to attend Lord Fraser of Carmyllie's inquiry into the project overspend.

'For most people in Scotland, Holyrood isn't so much about architecture as political hubris, incompetence, greed, lying and the imposition of an icon, ' adds Black.

Holyrood, The Magick Kingdom can be obtained from David Black, 5 Ann Street, Edinburgh EH4 1PL.

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