David Cameron says those who oppose HS2 lack vision. The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin says the strongest argument for the new line is freeing up capacity on the existing network. Labour’s current rhetoric is it will only support HS2 if its costs are contained (with no hint as to what it would do once the the inevitable massive cost overshoot occurs).
Yet there is still no convincing case for HS2. There are overseas investors willing to finance all manner of projects in the UK (nuclear power stations, shale gas exploration, etc.,) but HS2 has already achieved white elephant status with the international investment fraternity because it simply doesn’t stack up. The latest increased capacity justification seems somewhat lightweight compared to the previous “it’s about changing the economic geography of the country”. Well, if it’s serious about reducing network capacity problems in the south-east, why doesn’t the government look at relocating the Commons to somewhere north of Birmingham? It would certainly be a lot cheaper.
As the STOP HS2 campaign slogan says: No business case, no environmental case, no money to pay for it. What else is there to say? Based on the inability of the government to stay within spending targets on major projects, a final bill of well over £100 billion must be on the cards. MPs need to be made aware that in supporting HS2, they will be held accountable by the electorate.
For more information on STOP HS2 go to http://stophs2.org/