Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is this one reason to vote Tory?

Setting tribalism aside for a moment, I have to applaud the Tories for thinking outside the box and refusing to go along with the conventional wisdom on airport expansion. Instead of a third runway at Heathrow, they plan to build a new high speed rail link to the Midlands and the North.

To hear the Conservatives actually advocating major investment in (a) rail infrastructure, and (b) the North of England was a real breath of fresh air and shows how much politics has been turned on its head since the 1980s and 1990s when both would have been anathema. Much more of this sort of thing and I might even vote for them.

My only criticism of the plan was that the Tories' proposed new high-speed rail route appears to run only from London to Birmingham to Manchester to Leeds. What about Newcastle, Dave?

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media scum said...

If the plan is posited as a way of easing the straon Heathrow, then as it stands it is a nonsense. Any high speed rail link has to compete directly in serving those towns and cities with existing and busy air links already - Newcastle and Teesside, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Theer are not many flyers from Birmingham or Leeds to London

Bob Piper said...

Whilst I also welcome the improvement in rail travel, as an alternative to flying to London it is a joke. it is planned to finish this link in 2027 for heaven's sake! By then the air traffic is likely to have either been diverted elsewhere or people from across the world will fly to Paris or Brussels and take the Eurostar.

Rather than regenerate the North, it will starve it. If people can fly to Birmingham and then bugger off to London in 45 minutes... what incentive will they have to invest outside of the South East?

It is not a plan, it is a gimmick to get foolhardy people thinking the Tories are 'thinking outside the box' and maybe vote for them. Paul, you are easily bought. They know, even if you don't, that it just ain't going to happen mate.

Paul Linford said...

I don't think I've quite been "bought" yet Bob, but there is an interesting conundrum developing in politics whereby left-of-centre voters may see more of their "wish list" in the Tory manifesto at the next election than in the Labour one. Partly it's a reflection of the fact that oppositions can promise things which governments can't, but it's also reflects the degree to which political cross-dressing has made the two main parties virtually interchangeable in ideological terms.

That said, I hope Brown's "fairness" speech of last week cupled with the economic downturn marks the end of the era of anarcho-capitalism and a revival of interest in democratic socialism (although they won't call it that, of course.)

David Gladwin said...

Hang on though, chaps. Aren't those places already linked by rail?

What are the Tories suggesting? Sticking a load of fast trains on the existing lines, or putting down new, improved lines, on which new, improved trains can go faster?

They'll still have to wait for all the slower ones that set off earlier to get out of the way.