Labour and HS2

 

The press picked up an important story about HS2 over the week-end. They claim that Mr Cameron will drop HS2 if Labour turn against the project. This makes sense.

A large project like HS2 would benefit from cross party support. As it will take so long to construct its build period is likely to span different governments. It is easier to do well if all involved agree with it. More importantly, in this Parliament HS2 is only proceeding because of Labour support. There are enough Conservative and other  MP opponents of HS2 to stop it if all Labour MPs voted against. All the time Labour votes for HS2  or abstains, it has enough votes to carry.

Many people find this Parliamentary arithmetic difficult to grasp, yet it is the same arithmetic which means all the time Labour and Lib Dems block a referendum on the EU we cannot have one, and the same arithmetic which finally led to a vote for a lower EU budget when Labour switched sides and joined   Conservatives. Labour votes with the Coalition government to push through many EU measures.

By saying they will make a decision later rather than sooner Labour are being indulgent with themselves and with public money. If it is Labour’s intention later this Parliament to kill off the HS2 project by coming out against it and voting with other  opponents in the Commons to stop it, they should understand that means more wasted money in the meantime.  If this Coalition government does not have the votes to carry the project right through this Parliament owing to a future change by Labour, it would better to kill it off now. That will require Labour honesty about their future voting intentions  and a sense of responsibility with public money.  In this Parliament Labour cannot always enjoy the luxury of opposition, as their votes do determine a good number of policies. In this case Labour is helping push through spending on a project which they now say they may wish to cancel later. The Coalition government  has been proceeding on the basis that Labour invented this project and will continue to support it.

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53 Comments

  1. JM
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I am in favour of HS2. In Britain the history of the railways is marked by a determined refusal to have from; this has always been so. High speed trains are a lot less noisy than diesel trains, for example, which take a lot longer to clank and trundle by. However, I like trains and train travel.

    The problem with HS2 is that it is a political project. If, as we are told, the justification is to increase the competitiveness of the economy, why is it not planned to go in and out of St Pancras where it can join in with HS1 and Eurostar? This would allow through trains from Europe to our northern cities – albeit via London.

    Also why does it no link to Heathrow – apart from the fact that we are still debating the long term future of that airport, but it is our only truly hub airport?

    The there is the route. Recently a group suggested that it use a Beeching axed line. There may well be sense in this. However, instead of bypassing cities, as appears to be the case with Nottingham, for example, it is essential that the train passes through the cities. Otherwise the benefit will be lost in the transfer to and from the remote HS2 station.

    The Labour Party’s position is opportunistic and characteristic of their inability to make a big decision on infrastructure. Look at the mess our power generation industry is headed towards. This was all because the last Labour government fixated on renewable energy, recognising that this would put bills up (about which they are now strangely amnesic), and failed to take the necessary big decisions in investing in new big power generation capacity. However, it must surely be the case that if Labour do not support HS2 it cannot go ahead.

  2. Bert Young
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Killing off this project sooner rather than later makes a great deal of sense ; I don’t give a damn whether the outcome is decided by a Labour , LibDem or Conservative iniatiative , HS2 is a mistake .

    • outsider
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Dear Bert Young, You may not care who cancels HS2 but the party leaders certainly do. They have all backed thudding propaganda that claims HS2 will somehow rebalance prosperity towards the North, None can easily admit that the propaganda was misleading or dare to be held responsible for “betraying the North” by cancelling HS2.
      If Labour helped to vote down the current project, the Conservative Party machine would make sure that Labour got the blame. Not good for all those Northern Labour MPs, who will therefore resist any change in the Party’s policy. If the Conservatives withdrew it, they would reinforce their image as a party of the wealthy South East. Labour and LibDems would see to that.
      All three parties assume that their electoral interest is the prime national interest so it is irrelevant whether HS2 is good for “the North” or the country as a whole.
      Mr Redwood must realise this. The only politically practical way to scrap HS2 is to persuade people that the money can be better used in an alternative plan to promote economic growth in the old industrial areas.

    • alan jutson
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Bert

      The problem I am afraid is Party Politics, as indeed it is with most projects.

      How refreshing it would be if all Mp’s could vote with a clear uncluttered mind, perhaps if we had commonsense and honest voting, we may at last get some commonsense policies.

      Some hope I know, in the meantime we continue to burn money on a whole host of policies, like it is going out of fashion, or we get the opposite ,where everyone sits on their hands whilst the waste continues.

  3. lifelogic
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Cameron should just cancel HS2 now and stop wasting any more money on it and lift the blight. The Labour position of sitting on the fence is of course a complete disgrace as one would expect.

    Hopefully Cameron if he has the courage for once or Labour with kill this insane project as soon as possible.

    I do understand the House of Commons voting arithmetic and I understand why it is so. All thanks to socialist Cameron’s lefty “modernising” vote blue get green, ratting, pro EU, big state, high tax vision and letting Clegg have equal TV billing.

    • Closet Fruitcake
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink


      thanks to socialist Cameron’s lefty “modernising” vote blue get green, ratting, pro EU, big state, high tax vision and letting Clegg have equal TV billing.

      and insulting the conservatives voters.

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        Kicking real Tories in the teeth indeed, as he assumes they have nowhere to go.

        What else does appointing the likes of Patten, the two Clarkes, Heseltine, Davey, Cable, David Laws and Chris Huhne do?

        We shall see what happens after the tories come third in May 14 but alas the die is cast for Miliband and Unison to take over.

    • Bazman
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Interesting how where you have a holiday home, France they have had high speed rail for a number of years as has Germany and Italy. Both having a considerable amount too and Indeed does much of the rest of the world. Japan and Chine to name but a few. Now this like nuclear must be receiving many ‘absurd’ and private industry sapping subsides also like nuclear. How are we to compete with Europe without either of these technologies and their massive public cost? We are to drive everywhere as it is more ‘efficient’ because you can pick up your shopping and stop for a nice croissant and a chat about how inefficient the state sectors is if you so choose?

      • Edward2
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Baz
        One distinct difference between France, Germany and us here in the UK is the amount of open space and distances between the big cities.
        If you drive from Paris to Bordeaux as just one example, there is very little but open countryside for hours.
        Same between some big German cities. And China is a continent all of its own.
        So a high speed train can make sense by greatly reducing journey times, and much easier to lay down a new track compared to the very built up UK.

        • Bazman
          Posted October 31, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

          How much open space is there in Japan?

          • Edward2
            Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:15 am | Permalink

            More than the UK
            Have a quick look in an atlas

      • lifelogic
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

        High speed trains do not make much sense in France either, but they do make more sense in France and the continent than in the UK as the land distances are longer. But even on these longer distances, planes are usually cheaper and quicker and do not need a new track over shorter distances coaches and buses are more efficient. In the UK they are totally mad.

        They are however I suppose a little better than green energy subsidies and burning US wood in out power stations, not that that says very much.

  4. stred
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The problem is that a majority will not go against the wishes of the EU to have a new track built to their gauge for continental trains to reach other destinations. You could point out in the debate that the French have not completed the link to the Spanish TGV and do not seem to be in trouble for ignoring EU plans. Best of luck. It must be like working as a teacher in a school with particularly dim children.

    • lifelogic
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Dim and merely acting on vested or career interest interests and against those of the voters and tax payers they should represent.

    • uanime5
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      The EU plan only requires that it’s possible to get from one EU state to another EU state by any type of train. So the lack of high speed trains isn’t breaking EU law.

      • Edward2
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

        Nice to know we wont be breaking EU law Uni, by keeping a train running between cities in the UK.
        Just the sort of thing we expected what used to be called The Common Market to be laying down the law about, when we joined, well before you were born.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted October 30, 2013 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          When I first saw this I thought it must be a spoof, and I’m still not entirely sure that it isn’t:

          http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/commission-regulates-flushing-to-news-531374

          “Commission to regulate flushing of toilets and urinals”

          That’s a genuine website and usually a pretty authoritative source for what’s going on the EU, but even one of their pro-EU authors seems to be treating this as a bit of a joke and concludes:

          “Although it may be reasonably argued that the water consumption of toilets and urinals do pose environmental problems, many would also argue that such work is a waste of public money. Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron spearheaded a campaign to “cut EU red tape” and roll back unnecessary regulations.

          In his latest State of the Union address, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, said the EU executive should be “big on big things and smaller on smaller things”.

          The EU executive has recently given up on plans to regulate the size of olive oil bottles and has previously abandoned a policy discriminating against curvy cucumbers.”

    • outsider
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Dear Stred, HS2 as planned will not link directly to the Continent. One would have to change terminus in London. That is one of its fundamental weaknesses. London is the chief beneficiary.

  5. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    As it will take so long to construct its build period is likely to span different governments.

    Anyone else depressed by the idea that ‘different governments’ is only ever taken to mean Labour or Conservative – Conservative or Labour. Ad nauseam. Ad infinitum. Surely there must be an alternative.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      There is Mike, provided people are sufficiently convinced that the present Punch and Judy show has failed us badly, and are prepared to grasp the nettle and make the change. And I sure as hell ain’t talking about the Lib Dems! I don’t always agree with Jonathon Porritt, but I share his scathing criticism of the ‘woollies’ albeit for different reasons.

      Tad

    • Closet Fruitcake
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      “Surely there must be an alternative.

      There is.

    • Acorn
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      We have lost the ability to change Mike. There is so much hate in our politico-socio-economic system, that the mere utterance of a politically incorrect word, will have a dozen or more rent-a-gobs from some quango-charity; jumping in front of a TV camera to jump down your throat, closely followed by no nothing media pundits, followed by kudos chasing politicians. They will keep it going until the next juicy victim stumbles and falls and the cycle repeats.

      It is sad to see this once proud nation being destroyed by its own media and the politicians who are beholden to it. Every statement previously tested on a focus group for voter impact and press headline sensationalism.

      Our Punch and Judy political party system of government has had its affect on the nation; it’s prime ministers question time 24/7 everywhere now. The Political Class, representing the metropolitan and corporate elites, have won. Time to set up for the worlds largest car boot sale, the UK is open for purchase; “never knowingly undersold”.

      PS. Do you remember that old game show on TV, “Take Your Pick”? It had a “Yes / No Interlude” feature. You had to try and answer quick fire questions without saying yes or no. You got gonged out if you failed, most did. Only experts trained in not answering questions could win it. Someone like a Punch and Judy politician for example.

      At the moment, I would say that the UK should not embark on any long term projects, HS2; Hinkley C or the likes. The socio-economic future of the UK is far too uncertain.

  6. oldtimer
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    It looks as though politics (of the EU kind) started this project and politics (of the UK kind) could well finish it off. If so that would be welsome. In the past there has been too much concensus (and group think) in Parliament about large projects which have turned out to be disasters – the most notable example being the Climate Change Act. It would be good to see a change of mind and some strong opposition to that from MPs. Collectively they have been far too profligate for far too long.

  7. Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Why, pray, is there barely any mention of The Chiltern Line? With longer trains and some improvements it could cut times. Also, there was once a fast for its time Paddington to Birmingham and Wolverhampton service. There is also a case for reinstating the old Great Central Line if you want Manchester, Sheffield and even Leeds. This could connect to the East Coast Main Line or West Coast Main Line or even use an improved Settle to Carlisle line. The HST2 is a project that will never pay, ever and for which the estimated demands are blithely unrealistic in a changing world.

    • Sean O'Hare
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      …or even use an improved Settle to Carlisle line

      Sacrilege, worse than ploughing HS2 through the Chilterns!

  8. Hope
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Miliband outsmarted Cameron on Levison, Syria and energy. Possibly due to Cameron following New Labour’s policies instead of a Conservative agenda. Labour started the EU project of HS2, therefore originally Cameron followed them so your point should be reversed. Why did Cameron follow the EU project when he came to power, he should have cut the losses and scrapped the project as unaffordable. He was, and is, too pro EU to do so. We were told austerity and reining in spending was key to reverse the economic situation- remember the 80/20 split we heard about from Osborne. Nearly four years in and EU we are all waiting for the substantial spending cuts.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      I do not think Red Ed got one over Cameron on Syria, more both of them tripped up on their own boot laces.

      As for energy, I think the only loser has been the general public. Both Cameron and Red Ed have tried to out-do each other with price freezes and tax on profits, rather than admit that both men and their parties are responsible with their green legislation and taxes.

  9. Mike
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Most of the seats along the HS2 route will be UKIP after the next election so you should be discussing this with them rather than just labour.

    • BobE
      Posted October 30, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      And many other seats as well. (17 months to go)

  10. Richard1
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    What a fatuous group the current Labour leadership are – Miliband, Balls etc. They were all in the cabinet when HS2 was conceived. Peter Mandelson has more or less admitted it was sketched out on the back of an envelope as a political move to catch out the Tories. If the Labour Party really have now seen that the project is a gross waste of public money and does not carry the benefits it is alleged to, the honourable thing would be to say they realise it was in fact a bad idea in the first place. They might also draw the lesson that big govt spending projects almost always suffer from the same drawback – politics first, then the investment calculation fixed to justify the politics. That’s why all Gordon Brown’s ‘investment’ ended with a big bust.

  11. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Taking a fairly simplistic view on this, if the government were to drop this £50 billion plus lump of spending from its future plans then instead it could cut business taxes in those parts of the country which are lagging behind in economic development, so encouraging private investment in those areas and increasing private sector employment where that is most needed, thus immediately reducing its benefits bill and eventually increasing its tax revenue as well, and so making it much easier to change its annual budget deficit into a surplus so that it could make a start in paying down its accumulated debt.

    Couldn’t that be a much better use of the money?

    • outsider
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      This is a much better scheme for economic rebalancing, Mr Cooper. The Government could simply derate all business premises in the poorest regions/local authority areas according to their relative value added per capita. If necessary, this could be financed by raising the uniform business rate (with a cut-off for small businesses) or revaluing business property in Central London on a current use basis.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Interesting hypothesis OS, I wonder who’d have the guts to flesh that out into something workable?

        Tad

        • outsider
          Posted October 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Dear Tad, I guess your question is addressed to Mr Redwood rather than Dennis Cooper or me but I don’t think that a permanent self-correcting form of Business Rate relief would be hard to devise or particularly expensive for other taxpayers, since the poorest parts contribute the least revenue (at a guess no more than £1 billion out of the £20 billion total). And the system as whole is so complex, with loads of reliefs and supplements, that a broader brush approach might actually simplify things.
          The Office for National Statistics has an interactive map of GVA per head broken down into 139 districts (for the UK as a whole) which shows huge disparities. It would not be hard to give an 80 per cent discount in places where GVA is 25-30 per cent below the national average and 50 per cent discount where is is 20 per cent below. Though there would be unintended consequences to sort out (rent rises, concentrations of pensioners and Local Authority clawback from new developments).

          At a glance, HS2 would not serve any of these relatively much poorer districts with the possible exception of North Manchester.

          Of course, business rate relief on its own is not going to transform these places any more than HS2. Accelerated Capital Allowances have been just as important in Enterprise Zones and I would suggest trying to attract more rich people by localising Inheritance Tax rates, using the national rate as an upper limit or simply applying the same discount as for business rates. Again, no great cost to the Exchequer and self-limiting.

  12. Antisthenes
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Labour of course as usual are awaiting for when they gain the greatest political advantage before they announce that they no longer support HS2 and as usual they do not care about spending taxpayers money wastefully in doing so.

    I see Venezuela are doing awfully well with their price controls as they run out of many basis products including toilet paper and inflation is running at over 50%. You would think RedEd would perhaps learn from that that his promise to freeze energy prices will in the end hurt more than it will help.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Antisthenes–If Red Ed can, as he thinks, gaily freeze energy prices to bribe the dafter amongst us in to voting for him, why doesn’t he take it further, why stop at merely freezing, why not decide say to halve prices and then of course freeze them–lots of socialists would like that a lot.

    • richard1
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes Venezuela is another example – if one were needed – of what a disaster socialism is. despite huge oil wealth its an economic basket case. But still we hear from the left how much better things would be if only we had bigger govt/nationalisation/high taxes/prices and incomes controls/protectionism etc. No amount of evidence is enough for leftists.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Absolutely dead right Richard! No amount of evidence will ever convince those who flatly refuse to see things for what they really are. We’ve got one or two of them right here!

        What must it be like for a school teacher to come up against such blockheaded intransigence?

        They ought to go away and join the flat Earth society!

        Tad

  13. Bryan
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    This seems to be a vanity project so that MP’s (most, anyway) can puff out their cheeks with pride and say how much they are doing for the economy and the North.

    Except the economic case is much flawed, depending in part as it does on x thousand business commuters spending the half hour or so saved each day travelling on productive work.

    Unfortunately as we learned in the 60′s and 70′s when justifying computer projects that this does not bear fruit.

    Parkinson’s Law is apt today as it was when formulated.

  14. REPay
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The Government should be calling Labor on what their policy is…make them look profligate. As we can tell from their last spells in government, our tax money is merely political capital to Balls and Milliband. The least the can do is expose that before our amnesiac electorate forgets!

  15. uanime5
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the EU referendum the Electoral Commission has been having some problems writing the question because some people don’t realise the UK is already in the EU.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/not-sure-whether-uk-is-in-the-eu-then-youre-among-voters-worrying-the-referendum-organisers-8911003.html

    The lower EU budget was rejected by the European Parliament, resulting in a budget increase.

    In other news Jeremy Hunt’s plan to close down part of Lewisham Hospital because it was nearby a loss making hospital has been ruled illegal by the court of appeal. Though a bill currently in the Lords would allow him to close down hospitals that are not having any financial problems simply because they’re nearby hospitals that are having problems. So expect several financially sound NHS hospitals to be closed and sold to the private sector in the near future.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-hunt-lacked-power-to-downgrade-nhs-services-at-lewisham-hospital-court-of-appeal-rules-8911058.html

    • Tad Davison
      Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      ‘Regarding the EU referendum the Electoral Commission has been having some problems writing the question because some people don’t realise the UK is already in the EU’

      ……………..and some people don’t seem to realise that we were taken into the EU by stealth and falsehoods, without proper reference to the people, therefore, our membership of it is illegitimate!

      • uanime5
        Posted October 31, 2013 at 12:31 am | Permalink

        Tad just because you don’t like the result of the 1975 referendum doesn’t make it invalid.

  16. Mark B
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Mr. J. Redwood MP said;
    “A large project like HS2 would benefit from cross party support.”

    And what about ‘our’ support ? After all, we are the ones that are paying for it.

    And.
    “The Coalition government has been proceeding on the basis that Labour invented this project and will continue to support it.”

    No, the EU did. But it was not mandatory, and you could have opposed it while in opposition.

    As Parliamentarians’ such as yourself, are so keen on referendums. Why not ask us if we want it. As I have already said, we are paying for it and, we are the ones expected to use it.

    What do you have to lose ?

  17. outsider
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Dear Mr Redwood, The case for HS2 seems to be to promote/accommodate more long-distance commuting and to allow business and officialdom from the “poor North” the privilege of faster access to London. But it is not environmentally friendly or socially helpful to encourage more long-distance commuting, especially into Central London. And Milton Keynes can do better than becoming a commuter City.
    The economic benefits further North would at best be of the trickle-down type. And that does not seem convincing given , for instance, that some of the poorest boroughs in England are within easy walking distance of the richest parts of Central London.
    Far better, and quicker, to focus infrastructure spending on helping growth potential in poorer regions directly. For instance, expanding Birmingham airport into an international hub airport (instead of knocking down villages to expand Heathrow) would help that region far more than HS2. And in the North, a modern, safer all-weather alternative to the Snake Pass/Woodhead Pass between Manchester and Sheffield would do much more for Sheffield than knocking 46 minutes off the journey time to Euston in about 25 years time.

  18. peter davies
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Labour opportunism no matter how much of other peoples money is wasted in the meantime – where have we heard that before?

    It is high time we stop singing the tune of the EU and make a proper make or break business case to include any effect born by the WCML and ECML which it would take away from.

    The thing is a complete nonsense – existing tracks and trains can be improved and local regional links need to be improved, not this monstrosity of a thing.

    If the govt really want to be democratic and accountable – why not make a case to the people and put it into a referendum rather than spouting nonsense about Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds business community “group think”?

  19. John Eustace
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Rather than assess this project in isolation to see if it has a pay-back I suggest instead asking if this is the best possible investment we could make with the money?
    I am in favour in principle of infrastructure spending that gives people work as opposed to welfare payments for them to do nothing, and I can’t help but think there are many better infrastructure projects that could be implemented for that investment in a way that would take British people out of unemployment and help them develop worthwhile skills.

  20. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    The idea is a great one ,just as the idea of myself becoming a high salaried executive is. They need to get real .

  21. Posted October 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    All of you in Parliament know exactly where this proposal for the High Speed Rail and Train comes from, yet not one of you will come out of the closet and tell the people the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, will you? ALL PART OF THE EU’S TRANS-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK (TEN-T) POLICY. If this goes ahead, allowing the EU sovereignty (The authority to tell a once Sovereign Government) what they must have on our land, one must assume that the other parts of the EU’s legislation will also go through. That is, allowing the EU to have sovereignty over our skies for their Single European Sky, and sadly for a sea faring nation, PAYING to give the EU the Authority (Sovereignty over our Ports and Seas-12 mile limit) so that EU ships can come and go as they please. By that time of course, our ships-what we have left- will also be classed as EU ships. This is what your silence will bring for us. And people fought a war-which I was in-bombed to Hell and back-as the saying was in those days-to prevent foreigners from governing this Country.

    Reply It is not a mandatory investment, the UK is still free to say Yes or NO to this train. It can link to the continental network as part of the TENs via HS1.

  22. Vanessa
    Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    This country’s debt is SO HUMUNGOUS that to borrow another £70 BILLION (as it will cost) is madness. How can a conservative government be so utterly irresponsible with our money ?

    The alternative is to open up the Great Central Railway, closed by Dr. Beechings. There are hundreds of semi-useable rail cuttings and old lines we could bring back into use but NO the idiots in government want to borrow a totally unsustainable amount to knock hundreds of houses down (at a time when we are not constructing enough !!) and sell off farms and businesses and ruin the most beautiful part of England just so we can get to Birmingham 20 minutes earlier ! Is this not proof that politicians are completely at odds with the people who voted them into government. You will be very quickly voted out.

  23. Posted October 29, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    The High Speed Train.

    Today we were told of things that are new
    We are at last to have the H.S 2,
    No matter the cost of this new Train,
    Money for this will be found once again.
    Bridges are crumbling, they are so old,
    Disasters waiting as my tale unfolds,
    Motorways closed as repairs are done,
    ‘Tis the HS2 where the money has gone.

    Our roads are neglected and have been for years,
    Many are the ‘pot-holes’ that cause many tears,
    For money is needed for the High Speed Train,
    Never for Roads to have money again.
    People’s homes that stand in the way,
    Will be demolished, for those folks have no say.
    All to save those thirty minutes of travel,
    But there is more as my tales unravel.

    Lights not lit in the dark of night,
    To save more money, yet it isn’t right
    For in the dimness it is hard to see,
    The hazards that are waiting for you and me.
    Hard shoulders on Motorways into use have come,
    No widening of motorways will now ever be done,
    Maybe nothing on our roads will e’re be the same
    But Hey! We are to have the High Speed Train.

    The cost from each house-hold, so we are told
    Will be a thousand pounds whether young or old,
    Yet perhaps none of us can afford to pay,
    But we have never yet been allowed a say.
    Not one High Speed train into Birmingham City,
    Time saved on the Journey, will be lost, ‘tis a pity
    The half-hour saved will be needed however,
    Through another mode of travel, not so clever.

    Whose great idea was this big spend on Trains?
    That many people travel on just now and again?
    Our Politicians never said the words to me or you,
    That our sovereign Government have to obey the EU?

  24. Roy Grainger
    Posted October 30, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    It is a little unfair to complain that Labour are being too slow in killing off HS2, of course they will take the opportunity to play politics with it to their advantage. You should instead complain that Mr Cameron is not stopping the project immediately which would require no calculations about voting numbers. As it was initially a Labour project there would be little political damage to the coalition as a result, and probably a benefit as it seems the public are not convinced it is a good project.

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  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
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