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?


  1. Too bloody right. A problem with the Government in general.

    Posted by Ed on  22 October 2011 at 03:29 am

  2. There are private libertarian railways being proposed, such as the Windsor Link Railway.  The test of whether Justine Greening is there just for herself or whether she really cares about the rest of us will be if schemes such as these get a fair hearing against the DfT’s own babies.

    Posted by Scary Biscuits on  26 April 2012 at 10:01 pm

  3. “That is not necessarily what politicians want.  What politicians want is to keep their jobs, be popular and climb the greasy pole”

    In some cases politicians do not just want to keep their jobs and be popular.. I think that globally speaking, in most cases they support political views and actions not defined by themselves but by hidden dominant forces. Also corruption is an overgrowing problem in terms of politics.

    Posted by Μετακομισεις on  27 April 2012 at 04:41 pm

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