Lord Adonis and a slippery compromise

One cry heard often from HS2 apologists is that building a new railway to London is a way of spreading infrastructure spending to places which aren’t London.  After all London had Crossrail, Thames Link and numerous other projects – time for cities in the north to get a share of the action.

Never mind that the plans for Phase 1 have HS2 stations in just two cities, one of which is London.  Never mind that HS2 will funnel into Euston so many passengers that it won’t be able to cope without another large tranche of infrastructure spending (like perhaps Crossrail 2).

So not everyone was happy with rumours that Lord Adonis was going to be made deputy mayor for London, with responsibilities for transport.  We reported recently that this was causing concern in the cities that HS2 was supposed to be helping, the ones which won’t get stations until Phase 2 of HS2 is built (possibly by 2033).  The Yorkshire Post said the idea had been called “stupid” and concern was it would undermine the Northern Powerhouse.

In actuality, it was Val Shawcross who has got the job (subject to ratification by the London Assembly).

There is however no need to feel sorry for Baron Adonis, of Camden Town in the London Borough of Camden.  He has been proposed to chair Crossrail 2 (again subject to ratification).  This will be in addition to chairing the National Infrastructure Commission.

However the Yorkshire Post article mentioned earlier also said

Another senior policy expert close to the talks expressed alarm that Lord Adonis believed it was feasible to do both jobs when policies like Crossrail would clearly conflict, for example, with plans to invest in the North’s railways.

Being Chair of Crossrail 2 seems likely to have more conflicts of interest with chair of the National Infrastructure Commission as having Adonis in charge of London transport as a whole.

And it seems the kind of slippery compromise that sticks to the specifics of the concerns without acknowledging any wider issues in the appointment.


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