Minister resorts to 'HS2
might look nice'
as all other arguments collapse.
Greening says 'HS2 might look nice'. No, honestly! At a speed typical of the delays with the HS2 proposal, Justine Greening has taken over a week before speaking in support of the Department for Transportís plans for HS2, in a very belated response to the lead story in The Spectator last week which claimed the Government were preparing for a u-turn. Today, Greening has been today doing the rounds in the media, saying that; "We are full steam ahead and there is no wavering in our determination to get on with High Speed 2."
Whilst being careful not to mention the business case, which had crumbled from a benefit cost ratio of 2.4 to one of 1.2 before freedom of information requests revealed theDfT had purposely suppressed research which would halve that again, Greening was full of platitudes, saying that the scheme could be Ďbeautifulí and Ďiconicí, whilst harking back to the Victorian age.
Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said; "Justine Greening has now been reduced to saying HS2 will be iconic, because that is the only argument she has got left. Concorde was iconic, but it was a financial disaster and only ever used by the richest in society. It is clear that this is exactly what HS2 will be. She also talks of wanting to emulate the Victorians, but clearly hasnít realised that almost everyone investing in railways back then went bust. For a modern day equivalent, it is clear that Spain wouldnít be in as great a mess as it is if they hadnít thrown so much money at their HSR network. What investing in HS2 means is more austerity for everyone now, with the promise of something better for the rich in 20-odd years time while the rest of the transport infrastructure crumbles."
"Greening is very much picking and choosing her comparisons with the Victorians. Building HS2 will be very much like building the canals, outdated as soon as they were complete. My son started doing video conferencing at school at the age of six and the Government havenít got a grip of how IT will change working practices in the future as the next generation comes through, there is no point devising a 19th Century solution to a 21st Century problem. If the Government want to take a leaf out of the Victorian transport manual, it should be by investing in trams and local transport infrastructure which will benefit the masses, just like the recent Labour policy review said."