Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's spend like it's 2017!

Breaking news people, it seems that the election promises of jam tomorrow are starting to come out from the Government, as today we're being told the Government is to decide (by March) on a high-speed rail link (up to 200mph) that will run between London and the West Midlands in order to give us plebs a real "choice" at the next election.

Now comes the hilarious bit about the multi-billion pound project. Construction is planned to start in 2017 and end in 2025. Yes that''s right, its a proposal to give people a real choice at the next election as to whether they want to spend oodles of cash we haven't yet got on a rail link after the election after that. Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary has told the Times,
“In terms of new policy, high-speed rail is my top priority over the next three months”
Sounds familiar, wasn't it all about an "integrated transport policy" in 1997? Then in the 2001 manifesto didn't they say "Labour's priority is to improve and expand railway"? By 2005 I'm pretty sure we were promised "a new generation of high-speed trains
on intercity routes".

Incidentally, don;t be mistaken for thinking it's only Labour that are making proposals to spend money not yet in the current account in the distant future on the Mecca of "high speed rail". The Tories are proposing to start construction in 2015, just in time for the next election too.

Throughout all the hot air though not once have seen anyone talk about the passenger cost which is, in effect, what makes or breaks such things. It's all well and good if you can catch a train from London to Edinburgh that takes 2 hours and 40 minutes (assuming the right kind of rain and no leaves on the track), but if it's going to cost more than an Easyjet flight is anyone really going to use it?

I guess we're all going to have to get used to this sort of bullshit from the parties over the coming months. The economy is in the complete shit as we know, so what more can they do but promise us really cool new flashy things in six to ten years time? Everyone knows that budgets need to be cut, so the only scope for spending commitments can be on things where another election comes in between.

Frankly, I'll be sticking with my car.

Image via Flickr

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