Trams off the rails?
It seems that if you suggest all is not well with the Edinburgh trams project, that can be "deeply damaging to the progress of the project".
That's according to the spokeswoman for Tie, the company in charge.
She was responding to the claim by SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville that the £545 million budget could be forced up to something between £650m and £750m, and the trams will arrive years late.
Jenny Dawe, leader of Edinburgh City Council leader, responded: "The funding situation and projected delivery date for trams running on the street has not changed since being reported to the council last month".
That's reassuring. So all we need to do is find out what was reported to the council last month.
And here it is. It shows costs going up because of the well-known dispute between Tie and its main contractors: "Known areas of increased costs" included "the need for additional commercial and legal support, increases in re-charges from partners, extra traffic management cost and other related costs such as those associated with unexpected ground conditions".
Already, £7 million has been added to the utility diversion works, or 12% of works value.
With the dispute to be resolved through mediation, "it is unreasonable to expect that all adjudication outcomes will be awarded in favour of Tie Ltd".
In conclusion: "Given the above issues, it is now considered that it will be very difficult to deliver the full scope of Phase 1a within the available project envelope of £545m. Until the key issues are resolved through the contractual and legal process, it will not be possible to forecast accurately a revised budget outturn".
That's right. When the council leader said the funding situation has not changed since being reported to the council last month, what she didn't mention is that there is now no price tag at all. It's just as open-ended as when the council nodded this Status Report through on August 20.
The explanation is that this approach is smart negotiating: don't tell the other side how much you can afford.
However, recollection of the notorious Holyrood parliament building project is that, despite lengthy legal wrangling over cost, there was always a total amount placed on contracts already let, mid-range for contract prices expected, plus a calculation of risk assessment.
You may recall from nine years ago that a failure to admit the scale of that project risk assessment had Donald Dewar close to resignation, because he felt he had misled the Scottish Parliament. But Tie and Edinburgh get round the problem by offering no figure at all.
Even when I asked if the £147,030,154 being spent by Tie in the current year is on budget or not, and how that fits with the £361,765,661 spent in total by the end of this financial year, I couldn't be told a figure for what the budget had been and how these figures compare to it. I was told, however, that six months in, this year looks like it is "working well to the budget".
If the tactic is not to tell the contractor how much Tie is willing to pay on behalf of the city, perhaps it would be smarter to tell the consortium that the city can't actually afford the money to which it is already committed.
In addition to £500m - grudgingly given by the Scottish Government because it lost an early vote to its combined opposition soon after the 2007 election - the £45m promised by the council was based on assumed contributions from developers and land sales.
But now, of course, the developers have hunkered down for the recession, and land prices have plummeted.
So after a property consultant looked anew at the books, the plan now is for the council "to meet its obligations to the tram project by funding loan costs and interest payments during the economic downturn and repaying the capital once the level of developer contributions and capital receipts recovers".
According to DTZ consultants, that doesn't look likely until 2014.
If the budget goes over the £545m, and the SNP Government is unwilling to pitch in more - which it will be - the city will have to borrow more. If Shirley-Anne Somerville is even half-way right, it will have to be a lot more.
Where does this go next? We may not get an outcome to this legal mediation until the end of January.
And meanwhile, it goes on the buses, with the drive to put the tram company under the same corporate heading as Lothian Buses, to be known as TEL.
To those who don't know Edinburgh, its municipally-owned bus company, with its quality fleet, is a source of quiet civic pride. Its most recent figures were in the red, partly through fuel costs, but also because tramworks have made travel across the city so unattractive.
If the buses have to take on the debt that comes from a possible tram overspend, then don't be surprised to see FirstGroup or Stagecoach circling, vulture-style, over the city.
To suggest as much, however, may be "deeply damaging to the progress of the project".
So it's probably best to hope for the best, eh?