HS2

High Speed Two

22 October 2011
Advice to the new Secretary of State for Transport
Patrick Crozier

I see we have a new Secretary of State for Transport.  You know what? I’ve even met her! Long time ago, mind.

When I heard that news I started thinking about what advice I would give (fantasising that I might ever be asked).

I started coming up with a long list of sensible things like: ending the wheel/rail split, liberating fares, tearing up the Transatlantic air treaties, privatising the road network etc.

But then it occurred to me that what I am doing here is suggesting ways of making the world a better place.  That is not necessarily what politicians want.  What politicians want is to keep their jobs, be popular and climb the greasy pole.  In that case what you really want to be doing, as Ernest Benn said is to be: “...looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy”

Fortunately, for Justine, most of the non-existent troubles already have plenty of wrong remedies.  Hence, we have CrossRail and HST2 and fare control.  About the only good solution is the proposal to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph.  That is likely to be hugely popular even if (much to my annoyance) it comes from the EU.  Get your paws all over that one, Justine.

“But what about the economic crisis?”, I hear you say.  That’s the wonderful thing.  The Secretary of State can almost completely ignore it.  Sure, one day it will happen and it will happen to the Department of Transport good and hard.  HST will be cancelled, CrossRail will be abandoned, fares will go up.  It may even be so bad that the government sells the motorways to get it through the week.  But when that happens it becomes oh-so easy for a Secretary of State for Transport to say: “Oh dear, unexpected economic conditions, no money, nothing I can do etc, etc.”

So, just from a political standpoint (putting prosperity, wealth generation and morality to one side for the time being) I see no reason why Justine Greening shouldn’t promise the earth.

What has she got to lose?

02 April 2011
Commuter services could benefit from high speed rail - HS2's promoters seems to be getting desperate. It's really very simple. If it were worth building then some enterprising entrepreneur would be building it in the expectation of huge profits. They're not because there are no profits to be had.  …link
 
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