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HS 2 another fracking bad idea

HS 2 was a plan for a high speed rail link from London to the Midlands, but now it’s been extended to the north of England too. The original estimate of the cost was supposed to be 32 billions, but that has been revised upwards to 42 billions and with the governments track record we can expect it to cost closer to 100 billions. Could we spend money and invest more wisely?

It would seem the HS 2 plan is cheap labour for London and the south east. Will people really travel from Birmingham to London each day to work for 6.21 an hour. What’s so special about London anyway? The government is there and the City of London. That’s the political power and the financial muscle, but the government has the political power to decentralise power to the regions. It also owns several banks including Lloyds Banking Group (which includes the TSB and Halifax), RBS and what’s left of Northern Rock. The nationalised banks can be used to invest in the Midlands and the North. Why can’t all that money which will probably be around 100 billions be invested in Birmingham and the North?

Here in the Midlands we need a financial centre like the City of London. We need a proper stock exchange in Birmingham where Midland companies can raise capital and investment. A modern stock exchange offering investment opportunities to the people and not just investment banks and ‘wealth management’ companies. A stock exchange for the people and not just for the rich. The Midlands was once an industrial powerhouse for the world. With investment it could lead a recovery from recession. Maybe not manufacturing this time, but innovate products, designs and services. We might even give the IT industry a run for it’s money if we had investment in our universities. Why can’t Birmingham, Aston and Wolverhampton be top universities to rival Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard; rather than poor relations? Why aren’t we competing with the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple?

The government has Victorian ideas, they want to bring back ‘workhouse’ style incentives to work. The Industrial revolution was fired with coal from the ground and the sweat of the working class. The railways provided the transport; now the government want a new high speed railway and they want to frack oil from the ground for some kind of new revolution. The Victorian nobility built mansions, cruise liners, art galleries, museums and libraries using both the resources from the earth and the human resources. The workers got the crumbs from the tables. Will ordinary people be any better off if HS 2 is built? Will they get new affordable homes to buy and rent out of it? Will they get free water, cheaper food or a better environment for their children to grow up in?

We don’t want a new high speed rail system cutting a swathe through our country and it’s farmland. We don’t want more more privatisation and Victorian values. We want investment in the Midlands and North and a devolving of power and wealth from London. We need more affordable housing, less empire building and innovation built on common sense. There is a lot of common sense north of the Watford Gap.

What do you think? Do you want to see your money spend on HS 2? Is it worth £3,000 for every household in Britain? Have your say in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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