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Cameron ‘schizophrenic and delusional’ over HS2

David Cameron – Living in a dream world, where the only thing that matters is his 'legacy' Campaigners against HS2 have branded the Prime Minister ‘schizophrenic and delusional’ following his speech about future infrastructure needs.

Full text of speech as delivered by David Cameron available here:

After starting his speech saying that he wanted to put more power in people’s hands enabling local communities to decide their neighbourhood plans, he said that pushing through HS2 was to “hold fast to our vision in the face of vested interests”. Meanwhile David Cameron’s speech praised the work of ARUP, the firm which sponsors many of the organisations lobbying for HS2 and has been awarded a string of multi-million pound HS2 contracts, despite having produced three versions of error-strewn plans thus far.

Mr Cameron said that the most immediate example of our long-term thinking is our commitment to deal with the disastrous hegacy of debt and deficit that we inherited, whilst not wanting to leave liabilities for the future. In this he seems not to have noticed that the ‘headline’ costs for HS2 have risen in just two years from £32.7bn to £36.4bn, and that this figure does not include tax or trains, meaning the actual liability of HS2 will be £54bn and is likely to require an ongoing subsidy. Government predictions are that HS2 will make an operating profit, but this assumes exponential passenger growth during a period when fares are planned to rise faster then inflation and none of the other passenger railways make money. Whilst citing the principles of Adam Smith, the Prime Minister failed to note that the institute set up in his name is opposed to HS2.

Despite the very real need for urban redevelopment of brownfield sites, the speech slipped in Government plans for consultations on ‘new garden cities’. With HS2 Ltd Chief Engineer Andrew McNaughton letting the cat out of the bag, saying the area served by the HS2 station near Birmingham Airport would be the site of a new city, it is likely that planned out of town stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire will get the same.

Stop HS2 Chair, Penny Gaines said

“It is easy to say something is in the national interests and hope that people who have not looked into the plans will accept that, but the biggest national interest is sorting out our financial mess. That is the so-called ‘vested interest’ of organisations which have come out against HS2 include the New Economics Foundation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Taxpayers Alliance and the organisation named after the person whose principles Cameron claimed to be following, the Adam Smith Institute.

“However none of the organisations pushing HS2 are willing to pay for it, expecting the exorbitant cost of HS2 to be paid for by the taxpayer. These companies that expect to make money from building HS2 are the real vested interests.”

I pine for a more sensible approach to saving our forests

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