This article was first published by South Heath Against HS2.
Who exactly are the ‘big boys’ exerting pressure on government to build a railway that nobody wants? It beggars belief that government have still to find a convincing argument for the high speed rail project after all this time.
Throwing good money after bad is never a good policy, whether gambling on the horses, or gambling your life savings on falling shares, it’s called ‘catching a falling knife’ on the stock market.
Here we are several years down the ‘HS2 line’ and senior politicians are still questioning the logic behind building it. This isn’t a ‘Dome’ or a ‘Concorde’, they at least had a clear reason for building them from the outset.This high speed rail project is a muddled mess, where even the need for it has suffered a major rewrite at least once.
The recently released House of Lords report will not make late night reading for David Cameron and is quite scathing of his governments lack of real justification for the project. Although the report declares that a genuine case for HS2 has still to be made, the nation is still throwing fortunes at it.
On hearing the report the Greens declared that: “This House of Lords report ought to be the final nail in the coffin for HS2. It vindicates what the Green Party has been saying for the last 3 years: that the arguments in favour of HS2 are pitifully weak. HS2 would entrench the UK’s dependence upon London, not challenge it; it would entrench and encourage long-distance commuting habits that simply cannot be sustained; and there are far better alternatives to it, in value-for-money terms, in order to improve capacity.”
Daylight is beginning to be seen between the two major parties as Labour seem to be at least heading towards putting a brake on this runaway train.
Oddly, John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, declared that: “Parliamentary scrutiny of major infrastructure projects is important to ensure they deliver value for money. Adding: “However, this scrutiny must not be used to derail or delay the construction of projects that are vital to future UK success.”
Surely the question screaming for an answer is “Just how vital is it?” Isn’t that the whole essence of the House of Lord’s report?
As far as government is concerned, it appears that we are expected to sit silently by, waiting for a reason for HS2 to be found. No doubt in the hope that by the time the folly of it is truly exposed, half the line will have been built and large areas of Green Belt will have been uprooted.
At least we have an election looming whereby we can voice our dismay.