Posts Tagged ‘HS2’

blog posts 11 (28/7/2017)

August 1, 2017

letter to Daily Mirror 23/6/2017
One of the reasons that Headteachers’ salaries are so high is “ratchetting”.
I suspect this also applies to Council CEO’s, Heads of Hospital Trusts and any other public offices, where well meaning watchdogs oversee the salary reviews.
As a teacher governor, I was involved in the review of my headteacher’s salary, alongside parent and Council Governors.
An “independent” consultant, appointed by the Council, provided the Governing body with graphs and analyses of the salaries of other Headteachers of similar sized schools in the region, along with explanations of where our headteacher would fit on the appropriate matching salary scale.
A perfectly reasonable recommendation to bump our Headteacher up a few pay levels was agreed to.
Four or five years later, after those “Independent” Consultants had done the rounds of other schools and reviewed their Headteacher salaries, they were back.
Apart from myself and the other teacher Governor, we had a new Governing Body, presented with the same arguments and the headteacher’s salary was again ratchetted up a few levels.
It didn’t happen after that, because of a succession of Headteachers, who didn’t last long enough to warrant a review.
Before Maggie, Headteachers were senior colleagues, rather than Business Managers, and their pay was related to staff wages, i.e. they had an unofficial cap on their salaries.
We should have caps on all Public appointments, related to the real level of responsibility.
It’s about time all jobs were assessed on what actual demands are being made on the people involved and how easily each job holder could be replaced by someone of similar ability

letter to Daily Mirror 23/6/2017
So elite forces have smuggled booze whilst on operation.
Unless we’re talking about van loads, I imagine most would say give them official sanction.
In comparison to what they do for us and in comparison to what expenses claims are put in by some MP’s, it’s a triviality.

letter to Daily Mirror 24/6/2017
Juncker’s demand that the European Court of Justice oversee EU migrants rights, raises two related questions.
First: if a EU migrant commits an offence against a UK citizen, will the UK citizen have to go to Brussels for Justice?
Second: if a UK citizen commits a crime in Poland, will their victim have to attend court here.
This would be particularly bad in a case of rape, otr murder and certainly wouldn’t apply in any Sovereign Jurisdiction.
I suspect this is merely an attempt to claim dominion over the UK and take advantage of May’s weakness and to pour further scorn on UK voters.

letter to Daily Mirror 24/6/2017
Recent events have blown attempts to cover up how thin the thin blue line has become.
Chief Constables have been emboldened to admit that their resources are at breaking point.
Whilst this is worrying, it is more worrying to imagine this Government’s solution..
The lessons of what has happened to the NHS and Schools, suggest that we could see private Police Forces unleashed on us, with the new mayoralties handing contracts to G4S etc.,
A company, who’ve already proven their lack of competence in such areas.
We read daily of murders committed by “cops” in the USA.
Is that our future?

letter to Daily Mirror 26/6/2017
I assume the decision by RBS, to move its small business accounts to India, is to reduce running costs.
This is, presumably, to make RBS shares more attractive, when the Government sells our holdings to private investors.
How such a flag-waving party as the Tories can betray their own countrymen by allowing the export of their UK jobs is a puzzle.
It’s more puzzling, when you consider that their main claim to power is that they are financially responsible and best placed to look after the interests of the UK economy.
How can sending money abroad to pay for such services help our Economy?

letter to Daily Mirror 30/6/2017
The thought occurs to me that now the DUP has its £1.5 Bn, it no longer needs to support Theresa May.
The Tories and DUP have plastered the Media with protestations that this money is not a bribe but a just and equitable settlement in acknowledgement of Northern Ireland’s situation.
Any attempt to grab it back would merely underline Theresa May’s grubby hypocrisy.
I wonder how long it’ll be before the DUP can find an excuse to ditch this deal.

letter to Daily Mirror 20/6/2017
Donald Trump has backed out of The Paris Global Warming Treaty and said he wants to re-negotiate it.
Understandably the other signatories are upset but how can they tell the Media that this won’t happen, that they won’t re-negotiate?
If they don’t, or won’t, renegotiate, then why did they bother, in the first place?
Either the Planet is in great danger, or this has all been a sham.
So, time to stop posturing and talk to him.
Even, the smallest concession by Trump keeps things moving forward, until Trump is replaced

letter to Daily Mirror 15/7/2017
You report that Kirstie Alsop has criticised those who don’t keep their washing machines in the bathroom but it doesn’t say how shs gets around the Law against using electrical devices in that room. No house that I’ve visited has any sockets in the bathroom and even the light switch is eithe external or is on a string pull, to avoid electrocution.

letter to Daily Mirror 15/7/2017
As a student, many decades back, I was stopped by a police patrol car who had mistakenly believed my bottle of ciderade was alcoholic.
They informed me that it was illegal to drink alcohol on the Queen’s Highway.
Whether , or not, they were fibbing, wouldn’t such a law go a long way to resolving Newquay’s problems.
The only problem then would be properly policing licensed premises
It might need more cells and more police but as the Gov’t says, it’s a question of their priorities.

letter to Daily Mirror 16/7/2017
Like it, or not; Fair, or unfair; we all judge each other on looks. It’s not just young women being paid ridiculous sums for being the face of some beauty product, or TV show. It’s ordinary people applying for employment etc.
In this respect an acid attack is far more damaging to a person than any other form of violence.
Knife and bullet wounds can even be socially enhancing and are usually out of sight.
Our faces are the first thing that others look at and react to. That reaction may only be fleeting but must register on the victim’s soul.
For me, such an attack could possibly be considered a worse crime than murder, in terms of the harm done to the victim, because if you’re dead, you’re beyond further harm.
Restricting access to acids is a sensible option, as with guns, but it is not a full solution.
The threat of retribution by the rest of Society is not a full solution, either, but makes the choice of acid as a weapon less likely.
Sentences for acid attacks must be at least twice as censorious as other attacks and, if present Law is ambivalent, then a new Law should be formulated and implemented swiftly.
This issue should be not pushed onto a political back-burner, until someone “important” suffers.

letter to Daily Mirror 18/7/2017
Everyone in the country has a National Insurance number, or should have, if living here legally.
Why is it not possible to build a voter database around this key field, giving name address, age, constituency and whether a vote has been cast.
It should be quite easy to validate every voter in the country, without divulging any information other than eligibility to vote.
Any attempt to vote illegaly would be instantly recorded and identified.

letter to Daily Mirror 18/7/2017
The recent publicity exercise about HS2 has repeatedly quoted a price of £56 Bn, an incredibly large sum for something, which only politicians and those financially reliant on the enterprise, support.
Meantime there have been reports that the part completed, so far, has cost over £8 Bn., leading to opponents of the scheme offering guesstimates of 100, 140 and in the case of one MP £200 Bn.
Whatever the truth, it seems likely hat someone is lying about the figures and others are vastly overstating any benefits that it will bring. Benefits from the NHS, given such sums, would be more immediate and more appreciated by voters.
For me a trip involving HS2 would be reduced from 4 hours to 3 hours (I don’t live next door to either of the mainline stations) and that assumes none of the frequent delays flagged up on Twitter by National Rail.

letter to Daily Mirror 18/7/2017
So Porn sites are to demand proof of age before obtaining access.
No doubt that the intentions are honourable but will they work with Tech savvy kids, alreay used to driving smart phones from a very tender age?
The USA tried this with on-line gambling, by demanding credit card details.
Of course anyone under-age, using on-line gambling would already have access to a credit card.
So not so effective.
They tried blocking based on ISP address but it’s so easy to present as someone from outside the jurisdiction of the blocking Law.
I’ll be interested to see what Digital Minister Matt Hancock comes up with and how quickly knowledge of how to circumvent it spreads.

letter to Daily Mirror 19/7/2017
Who were IS fighters selling their slaves too?

letter to Daily Mirror 19/7/2017
You report that shares in Carillon jumped on being awarded a Government contract.
This made me wonder if the MP’s register of interests held details of share holdings and, more particularly, when the were bought.
If it doesn’t, shouldn’t it.
It’s not as if Geoffrey Archer was an atypical Tory.

letter to Daily Mirror 19/7/2017
Do the BBC really need to compete with commercial channels in terms of wages for presenters?
I recall Granada taking on Bob Greaves (, who claims he just walked in off the street and asked for a job.
Not a pretty young man, or woman, but an ordinary local reporter, with a bald head, glasses and experience.
Even Philip Schofield, we are told, was just a lad who pestered the BBC for a job in front of camera.
I’m sure there are thousands, who would and could do such jobs at much lower salaries.
What if commercial firms do poach them?
They can only steal so many before they are glutted.
It’s not as if Gary Lineker was that competent in his first year on “Match of the Day”

letter to Daily Mirror 20/7/2017
The media has focussed on the gender inequality of the BBC salaries, almost ignoring their size.
The only argument advanced for such ridiculously high salaries is that it is caused by market forces; implying that the women presenters just aren’t as marketable as the men.
Should we, then, accept “market forces” as a clinching argument?
As a teacher, I was on a salary structure based on responsibility.
It was the same pay regardless of subject taught, teacher gender, or age group taught.
I know a News presenter does more than just read an autocue for a few hours each day; but what do they do that’s valued ten times greater than a top of scale teacher, fireman, nurse, or policeman?
I know Susanna Reid was poached from BBC, by ITV, but she was readily replaced without a dip in viewing figures.
It seems that everyone who has left, from any TV channel, has been readily replaced, without affecting viewing figures.
I’d like to see a justification for such salaries, by comparison with those professions mentioned above.

letter to Daily Mirror 22/7/2017
I understand why Government allows businesses to register as limited liability companies (i.e. to encourage investment in launching new businesses) but it seems that it is a severe disadvantage, in regards to the General Public.
In cases like the collapse of BHS, the tragedy of Grenfell Towers, or the numerous rogue traders constantly exposed by programs such as “the Sheriffs are coming”, the guilty escape justice and their victims are left desolate.
It may be that a venture fails because of pure bad luck, which is excusable, but it can occur because of incompetence, negligence, or, too often, a deliberate intent to defraud creditors and debtors.
Why should this be allowed to persist with officialdom shaking their shoulders and claiming that they have no legal powers to redress the situation?
It must be possible, for each business, to identify the main beneficiaries and make that person (those people) culpable for any criminality, or negligence.
Identifying them after the event is pointless, so it should be a part of the registration process, with an annual review.
This would provide an incentive for CEO’s etc. to pay closer attention to all aspects of their responsibilities.
In all cases, the main beneficiary may not be directly responsible but they have appointed and directed the people, who are: This is reflected in their pay/profits and should be reflected in their level of blame.

letter to Daily Mirror 24/7/2017
It was reported that ISIS sold captured Yazidi women as sex slaves.
Presumably others were also enslaved and sold.
Now that ISIS has been cleared out of Mosul, they will presumably be pursued into other regions.
I hope our World leaders will be just as diligent in pursuing those who have bought these slaves, and prosecuting them.

letter to Daily Mirror 28/7/2017
Congratulations to ITV for showing the Euro17 games.
Women’s football has become a lot more watchable in the last decade and the England team has done exceptionally well.
All the more shame that the Media hasn’t celebrated their latest success in winning the group stage:In a better fashion than their male counterparts often do.
I’m not interested in how much Sky, or BT money a Premier League team has offered to buy someone else’s best players.
I just want to watch skillful football by a local, or national team, without paying through the nose for it.
Once again, Congratulations to ITV for showing the Euro17 games.


various blogs 7 (5/3/17)

March 7, 2017

I understand the logic of the Law against “stealing by finding” but I have strong sympathy for the woman prosecuted for pocketing a stray £20 note.
I have known a case where someone found a £20 note being blown along a beach.
Someone, who found one folded up on the floor of a packed New Year’s Eve pub.
Whom do you tell?
To whom would you pass it?
Legally, you take it to the police, you get a chitty and in 6 month’s time, if no-one has reported it lost, you are invited to claim it.
Would you be able to take it into a cop shop and explain what you were doing?
Would you be able to tell anyone that you had done this?
What if it was a 10p coin?
If you lost a £20 note would you report it to the Police, hoping to recover it?
There’s legality and morality and there’s a fear of ridicule.

Although I can’t endorse The Lords interference in the brexit process, their amendment has pointed up the lack of support for Theresa May’s intent to use the future of EU residents as a negotiation tactic.
This total lack of support must surely have lost her any hoped for leverage in her negotiations.
Her EU opponents will be confident that she can’t play this “chip”
Consequently she might as well go for the humane option of assuring all law-abiding EU citizens resident here that they will be allowed to stay, if a reciprocal arrangement is agreed
I would think that those, who do consider themselves as British, would formalise that status and apply for citizenship to avoid future problems.
I was told that in order to sell their cars in the EU, Nissan had to agree to incorporate poorer but more expensive French components such as the nylon reeled electronic window winder (5 million imported parts per day).
If Nissan remains in the UK and has surcharges imposed by the Single Market, then Nissan would presumably be able to manufacture their own, better quality, components here.
They would be producing a superior product, more cheaply.
It would be worth the Government’s while to try to keep Nissan here, if they cared about the Economy and UK jobs.
Reading the article on the Sunday Mirror Poll, it says nearly two-thirds of Labour voters are satisfied with Corbyn staying as leader.
We need to grow on that and find out why the remaining voters aren’t happy.
It also says that over 5 in 6 think Labour has the right policies.
Presumably the remainder have some concern over particular issues.
We obviously need to consider what these may be, bearing in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time.
Perhaps further polls are needed but ones which seek to find what aspects of Tory policy concern their voters.
I can’t believe that all of their voters are happy with their policies on the NHS, prisons, police, HS2, trains and schools.

Why are some Labour MP’s joining the Tory chorus of attacking Jeremy Corbyn?
It can’t just be the loss of Copeland, where the Labour vote has been dropping by thousands ever since the initial success of Blair’s Gov’t in ousting the “Sleaze” ridden Tory Gov’t.
Blair was encouraged to quit in favour of Brown, because of his unpopularity.
Brown lost the following election mainly because of his beggaring the Nation to bail out the banker’s but partly because of his “bigot” attack on a Labour supporter.
I think the latter carried more impact for the ordinary voter.
Miliband lost the next election and gave fuel to UKIP by further deriding Labour supporters and denying them the right to a referendum on the EU and by not challenging the Tory claim that Labour were not responsible with money.
Two elections lost but Corbyn has yet to lose an election.
Nevertheless, he has been subjected to so much abuse by MP’s of his own party, that Labour voters at the far Left and far Centrist have been given cause to withhold their vote.
Whether, or not, Corbyn is replaced, Labour looks set to lose the next election, unless the whole of the Parliamentary Labour Party starts singing from the same song sheet and a tune that all sections of the Labour vote can endorse.
Judging by recent comments, still being made by some MP’s, this will never happen.
No doubt there will be plenty of suggestions as to who can replace Jeremy Corbyn but they will all be tainted by either Blairite or Corbynista attacks and will lose votes from one of those sections of voters.
I fear we are about to lose our NHS and enter a period of far Right control, which will take us back to the 1930’s

Remind me why our Gas and Electricity were privatised.
To turn us into a shareholder nation? But if working people had enough spare cash to keep shares, Wonga and Visa would be out of business.
They were going to build new power stations etc., which is why some are still running decades after they were supposed to be closed down. It’s why the Government has agreed to pay an extortionate price for the French and Chinese to build a new nuclear power station.
Prices would come down through greater efficiency.
It’s all a nonsense, really. Instead of one overpaid CEO (like British Gas boss, Iain Conn), we have a dozen, each with a duplication of Accounts, Computer, Admin, PR, Sales and Advertising departments.
We have a whole industry badgering us to Switch suppliers, wasting a few more hours of our lives. Who pays for them?
I remember the bad old days, when the Nationalised Industries weren’t pre-occupied with maximising shareholder profits but with keeping the Nation supplied and minimising customer complaints, delivered through badgered MP’s and Ministers. I even remember complaining about having to wait in for the gasman to bother to show up. Still some things never change.

Why has the BBC started asking “when” we should be charged to see a GP?
The question should be what is the point of a GP, if you are going to charge to see them?
It’s the GP who does the initial diagnosis and then re-directs to a specialist, as needed.
It’s the GP, who judges, whether you should be allowed prescription medication.
It shouldn’t an overworked random intern in A&E.
In a civilised Society it shouldn’t be a return of Blackadder’s “wise woman”, or ancient folk remedies for the masses and a privatised NHS for our “betters”

What is the point of asking anyone on BBC’s Question Time, how they’d feel, if an elderly relative had had to wait 8 hours on a trolley in A&E?
This is root cause of the disaffection between voters and politicians.
We know that their elderly relatives would be snug and secure in a hospital bed, whilst most of ours were waiting for an ambulance.

The same applies with many of the public services, which the majority rely on, such as education, social care, pensions, public transport and so on.
Small wonder that panellists rarely answer questions directly, when they can not speak from a common experience

I find it hard to believe that Tiverton Town Council lost two full years of Council Documents.
The first thing that should be taught on computer security course is the grandfather, father storage system for files.
Even a basic Windows domestic PC platform will recommend a monthly backup of your files.
Computer memory is extremely cheap and fast nowadays; it should be a routine to save working files and archive others.
To lose two years worth can only be construed as mismanagement, or an administrative convenience.
I have to agree with Saira Khan’s support of MP’s taking their babies into The Commons.
After all who’d notice, if one began screaming its head off during PMQ’s.
When HS2 was first announced, the price tag was given as £40 Bn, quickly revised to £50 Bn.
Although some pundits suggested that it might be £80 Bn, when finally underway, it has been consistently priced at £50-60 Bn.
Then this morning, I’m sure the figure of £90 Bn slipped off Andrew Marr’s tongue.
These slipping figures seem so slight, one thinks of only another £10 Bn increase at a time.
Then one asks how much has NHS funding been cut by the Tories and feels despair.
One also has to ask if HS2 will be necessary, once the Northern Powerhouse is underway and businesses realise that there are great ports at either end of these linked cities, with greater room for airport expansion and new cheaper housing.
Who is pushing for HS2 and why?
Your piece in the Sunday Mirror questioning the Honour’s System and the lack of a knighthood for David Beckham, does form an indictment of decisions being made by those claiming to represent us.
A more honourable system would be if such honours were decided by populist vote.
Of course, this is unlikely to happen when the likes of Lord Prescott, who having been on the wrong side of two referenda, has expressed a distaste for them.
He says, in the same issue of the Sunday Mirror, that he prefers the sovereignty of Parliament, over populist sovereignty.
He was happy to become an MP by populist vote but like many other MP’s (past and present) of both parties, he now expresses contempt for the ability of the People to make rational choices.
How can we respect such people, who are repeatedly telling us that decisions on Honours and Government policy can not be entrusted to us and, moreover, should in many cases, be kept secret from us, until an irrevocable decision has been made and published?
Candidates in local bye-elections are supporting constituency view on #brexit, although, for some, it’s contrary to their own views.
On the other hand, we are repeatedly told by MP’s that they are entitled to vote in Parliament, according to their own consciences, regardless of voter, leader, or constituency wishes.
what are we actually being asked to vote for, if candidates can be so blatantly hypocritical in their campaigning?

Gina Miller’s court case was, allegedly, merely to establish the Sovereignty of Parliament.
It was successful, so what does it matter if MP’s are only being asked for permission to sign Article50
signing Article50 doesn’t commit us to any pre-conditions, it merely initiates the avowed intent of all parties to obey the plebiscite’s wish to leave the EU?
I’m sure every step of the negotiations will be reported and chewed over, every step of the way.
Every agreed point will be objected to in Parliament, with the time limit reached before our Sovereign Parliament has reached any concensus about what the 27 EU leaders have been prepared to concede.

Just before Blair issued his demand, for more homework, OFSTED had announced that Homework was of little benefit except in certain instances such as in Maths.
Blunkett then demanded minimum amounts for all pupils, regardless of relevance.
It then became a duty of teacher’s to set, mark and (especially) record such work.
Some pupils are incapable of such an effort and were ordered to be punished for their failure to comply, creating resentful and disruptive pupils.
Compulsory homework has been the cause of most of the social problems in schools.

An alternative to HS2 @richard_branson @TheGreenParty @AtkinsCareersUK @balfourbeatty @kiergroup @David_Cameron

September 9, 2013

If HS2 is really about capacity, then I’d like to advocate my idea of guided dirigibles for freight.
In fact, I’d like to expand it to a second network of transport.
As an analogy, consider how the body has two vascular systems; one is for transport of red blood cells and the other is for white blood cells.

I would have:

Trains being used almost entirely for pedestrians.

Motorways for cars.

And the new network doubling up for container freight and cyclists.

As with the vascular systems of the body, there would be region’s, where the various travellers would necessarily cross over but the intention would be to minimise this, especially long distance sections, where speed would be key.

The new network could, to a large extent, exploit the existing canal system but would also require new bridges and roadways. Their nature would, however, require less land surface than motorways or railways.

So a re-cap of dirigible freight.
Essentially it is based on cable car technology, which has proven very reliable. The erection of such a network would be a lot less problematic than building railways or motorways.

Like motorways, there could be three lane traffic, depending on the nature of the loads to be transported.

Access would be required for maintenance, so B-grade roads would need to be built, with the advantage that these could double up as highways for cyclists.
The dirigibles would be tied to the cable ways, picking up and depositing container loads at marshalling yards, where the containers can be transferred to trucks, trains and boats, as required, near cities and ports.
Because the dirigibles can be adjusted to give neutral buoyancy to the containers, the cable network would have minimum wear, reducing maintenance costs.
By taking freight off roads, Motorway maintenance would be reduced, meaning less traffic queues and therefore lower fuel imports. Most problems on motorways are caused by trucks leap-frogging each other. This would be reduced. there would be less soot particulates from their diesel engines and fewer truckers dying of associated lung damage/cancer.
Cyclists would be freer to travel between towns, especially if those towns constructed networks minimising the risks created by mixing cyclists with cars and buses.
One other aspect, which might be of greater concern to those outside London, is that this network would be less problematic than conventional freight, when considering hilly terrain.
This is particularly the case, when considering the limited routes East-West across the backbone of the country. i.e. The Pennines


@Daily_Express @David_Cameron Every Cabinet / Ministerial decision should carry an accountability clause

August 19, 2013

Sent as a letter to the Daily Express

The big problem with Ministers pooh-poohing the claim that the bill for HS2 will not be £80B, is that they are not subject to any retribution.
By the time the final bill is made known to the British Public, we will be a generation on from here.
Those Ministers not having already had prayers said over them, will be retired from office and may be safely ensconced as Directors of the companies presenting the bill.
They have no accountability, any more than those responsible for The Dome and numerous other financial catastrophe’s that the present generation are having to face the cost of.

The HS2 isn’t something that politicians can lay at the doors of the Banks, The E.U., The European Court of Justice, NHS Trusts, or the privatised Utility companies.
To all appearances, it is something that they are claiming credit for, rather than their E.U. friends.

Let’s have an element of accountability.

There have been calls for Police etc. to have their pension pots seized for cases where they have mis-used their official positions.

I suggest that all members of the Cabinet involved in such matters take corporate responsibility.
Those Ministers claiming that the bill for HS2 will not rise above the £42B (or whatever figure they are prepared to admit to) should sign an agreement to forfeit any pension tied to their official roles, as well as any private remuneration that can be tied to companies involved with HS2 contracts in any form.
I would suggest similar penalties for Civil Servants, except that they have the defence of having to comply with the wishes of their political master’s, no matter how mendacious, they are.
If every Cabinet decision had had to be tied to an accountability clause, then perhaps Tony Blair might have had more difficulty in dragging us into an illegal war, perhaps Gordon Brown would have thought twice before bailing out the banks and perhaps George Osborne would have been in less of a hurry to sell them back into private owbership, ata a discount, as soon as the regained profitability.

Published version:

Ministers will be long gone when HS2 cost is known
THE big problem with ministers pooh-poohing the claim that the bill for the high-speed rail link will not be £80billion is that they are not subject to any retribution (“HS2 line `will cost taxpayers -£80bn”, August 19).
By the time the final bill is made known to the British public, we will be a generation on from here and those ministers will most likely be retired from office.
They have no accountability, any more than those responsible for the Millennium Dome and numerous other financial catastrophes that the present generation is having to face the cost of.
Let’s have an element of accountability among politicians.
There have been calls for police to have their pension pots seized for cases where they have misused their official positions.
I suggest that all members of the Cabinet involved in the HS2 decision take corporate responsibility and forfeit any pension tied to their official roles if the project rises above the Government’s estimate of £42.6bn.

@daily_express @number10gov is the HS2 part of a vanity project

March 8, 2013

A letter to the Daily Express prompted by an item in Fred Forsyth’s column.

When Fred Forsyth made mention of Corridor 2, ( I immediately thought of the roads of the Roman Empire and the Autobahns of the Third Reich but Corridor 2 is merely a route and the HS2 would be too vulnerable for military purposes.

Then again, how would it be of use for freight, which by its nature is massive and therefore ponderous and  for which the time element is not significant?

Eurocrats would fly (first class), if the time element was important.

Which all leaves me thinking that whole purpose is that of a vanity project, unless The Daily Express knows better.

Either way, it seems worth a little more clarification than “it’ll allow people to get from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly in 1 hour, rather than 2 hours”. The cost will be a mere £33 Billion. (about £400 for every man, woman and illegal immigrant in the country).

The other main argument for HS2, is that the existing lines would be unable to carry the anticipated increase in passenger numbers. This leads to two area’s where we are short of information.

How will these two main stations cope with the increased capacity? Will they be expanded? Will the feeder roads and Tube be upgraded, to cope with this increased passenger load, or will the stations act as bottlenecks.

What would the cost be, if we merely duplicated the present rail lines?

It’s worrying that when you try to get information, all one can find are turgid reports (e.g. with their “never mind the quality, feel the width” attention to minutiae and disregard for substantive issues.  

It reminds me of Sir Humphrey’s placing of memo’s at the bottom of the tenth dispatch box.

@occupy LSX Fred Forsyth and Dutch rail line that suggests there’s something fishy about HS2.

January 20, 2012
Once again we have to thank Fred Forsyth for his extensive knowledge.
How else would we have been made aware of the Dutch Fyra service?
It beggars belief that no-one else, with a voice, has been aware of this or has thought to mention it.
All those MEP’s, including Nick Farage, never thought to point out this railway version of the Emperor’s new clothes; yet they should surely have been aware of the comparison with the proposed HS2.
As Fred says, this new train would cut minutes from the journey. E.g. Birmingham to Manchester cut from 2hours 11 mins to 1hour 55mins.
So what? A train could be stopped for longer than this by the most trivial incident.
The relevant Minister says that it will cost very little to build and fares would be comparable to those presently in force.
As the only people with experience in building and running the HS2, will be the Dutch one (High Speed Alliance), the lesson relayed by Fred is that this wasn’t true in Holland, why should it be true here.
The really frightening thing is that the HS2 will go ahead, because too many politicians will feel that they have invested their reputations in it and the people behind the Dutch Firm will be looking to the British Taxpayer to recoup their investment, with interest.