So the battle of Boris’s Big Brexit Bong seems to be over as there is going to be a light show instead or something I think I’m not sure and I don’t care that much.
Today we find our intrepid PM caught in a political pincer of his own making – the early leaks suggest that High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) to Birmingham just about makes financial sense but beyond that the bean counters can’t seem to make the numbers add up. Beyond Birmingham is ‘the North‘ and Boris made such a big thing about repaying the north for giving him a commanding majority in the House of Commons. Now this is the first big test and what will Boris do? My suspicion is that he will forge ahead because he loves big infrastructure project but I just don’t know. However, should Dominic Cummings ever find my blog may I suggest three reasons to build HS2: One short term; One medium term and One long term.
Short Term Reason – you kind of promised to spend big in the midlands and the north and you don’t much bigger than HS2 (If you discount Trident replacement or Hinkley Point nuclear power station) Over the length of its development you are looking at around £100 billion which is not small beer but it is not being spent all at once and will continue significant investment in the midlands and north for at last the next 15 years;
Medium Term Reason – sometime over the next few years we are going to suffer some form of economic downturn. This has nothing to do with Brexit, although that is unlikely to help matters in the short term, but rather the economic cycle and when it does hit ploughing billions into the most populated part of Britain will help stabilise any short falls – a very Keynesian approach;
Long Term Reason – we really need to get people out of their cars and planes and onto the electric powered train because it will reduce the amount of carbon we produce each year and help towards ameliorating the worst effects of global warming we are going to suffer over the next 50 years or so. It will also make a great statement of intent to be carbon neutral as this should also free up extra capacity on the existing network for goods trains – thus removing many lorry journeys.
If none of these reasons don’t do it for Boris then think about this – if Boris doesn’t do it then this will revitalise the Labour party quicker than putting an hyphen between Long and Bailey. “…Here is the evidence that the Tories were lying to you all along…” they will say should Boris not build HS2 and HS2 is now Boris’s HS2 even though he had nothing to do with the project until he became PM.
Will any of this have an influence on anything. Absolutely not but they should build HS2 anyway and all the way to Manchester and Leeds not just to Birmingham and then stop.