Aren’t politicians extraordinary? The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, described the result of the recent general election as a “massive vote of confidence” for the HS2 project, which in a couple of years will be inflicting an ugly gash through some of the most unspoilt countryside in the region.
Does he actually think this gross distortion of the truth will sugar the pill that our county is going to have to swallow when the diggers move in and tranquillity moves out?
If they had lost the election would Mr McLoughlin in opposition have lamented the loss of his project after the British people had turfed his lot out because they couldn’t accept HS2?
The truth, of course, is that no-one other than those adversely affected by this unnecessary vanity project allowed HS2 to colour their voting deliberations for more than a second or two.
I would go so far as to hazard a guess that if you polled all Conservative voters, not one of them would lay claim to voting as they did because of HS2.
Even the successfully re-elected Conservative MPs whose constituencies straddle the route of the proposed folly are against it, partly for reasons of self-preservation it could be argued, but possibly because they know and care about their constituents and the area.
It is simply the kind of utterance that politicians will always make when shoring up a particularly unpopular piece of government policy. And it therefore smacks of desperation.
For some reason known only to them, the present lot seem to attach huge importance to the notion of businessmen being able to get from London to Birmingham (and presumably vice versa) slightly quicker than they can now.
And they think the £50billion spent achieving that is good value for money at a time when our road infrastructure is in national disrepair and accessibility to public transport in rural areas is being eroded to the point of non-existence.
Earlier this year the House of Lords expressed its opinion that the costs had been hugely underestimated and queried the validity of the cost/benefit analysis of the project.
It seems no one outside the Cabinet really wants this monstrously expensive white elephant.
Furthermore, if it were (we can dream) kicked into touch we would also be spared the endless reference to ‘Haitch’ S2 that far too many broadcasters and commentators insist on calling the project.