Speech by Justine Greening on 30th November 2011, where she says businesses should encourage flexible commuting and describes a succesful Department for Transport scheme:
Other businesses might see this as an ideal chance to make much more use of communications technologies like video and tele-conferencing. And some organisations could grab the opportunity to trial new ways of working – whether it’s their staff working from home on some days, or coming in at more flexible times on others….
And, of course, Government has to give a lead and set an example.
So my Department recently ran a trial to reduce its travel footprint, during which people managed to positively change 69 percent of their commuting and business travel, while still getting their work done.
And I’m pleased to say that, next February, Departments right across Whitehall will be following suit.”
Speech by Justine Greening on 26th January, where she dismisses telecommuting with a confused argument about an unnamed person’s views on travel. Increased telecommuting does not mean that existing travel must slow down.
“One commentator claimed that high speed rail would soon be obsolete, because the advance in computers will mean that more people work from home. And rather than speed up, he actually suggested we ought to find ways to slow down.
Well I don’t share his analysis.
We’ve seen mobile and Internet connectivity through technology transform in the past 15 years – and people have never travelled by train more.
And we will not get people back to work and secure economic recovery by putting a brake on progress, and telling passengers they have got to put up with slower journeys.
We all know that the world is moving ever faster. Technology is always developing. And we have to prepare for a faster future if we want Britain to prosper.”
Why the difference in the two speeches?
The second speech was given at the Transport Times “Making HS2 happen” conference. The muddled thinking shown is an example of the refusal by the officials pushing HS2 in the Department for Transport to consider how changes in technology will effect the way the next generation will view the world.
The first speech was about the Olympics, which Greening calls “our nation’s global shop window, our golden opportunity to showcase the best of Britain.” A country which embraces telecommuting and videoconferencing will help to produce a vision of a go-ahead country, not rooted in the past.
And just to make the point about how the internet is changing the world, the first speech by Justine Greening made available on the Department for Transport’s Youtube channel is the one where she dismisses the effects of the Internet.