Coffee House

Even Nick Clegg likes George Osborne’s HS3 rail commitment

23 June 2014

2:39 PM

23 June 2014

2:39 PM

George Osborne’s commitment to a third high speed rail link in the future has gone down well this morning with a nice spread of business groups, northern MPs and Conservatives worried about the Tory appeal (or lack thereof) in the North. It has even gone down well with Nick Clegg, who has released a statement welcoming the Chancellor’s commitment, while of course arguing that the Lib Dems got there first.

Clegg’s spokesman said:

‘Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have led the charge in government to rebalance our economy so that it benefits 100,000 square miles of the country, rather than just one square mile in the City of London.

‘George Osborne’s new-found commitment today is welcome and we are now hopeful that he will match his words with action by backing the Leeds city region growth deal and its proposals for better transport links to other cities across the North.’

This of course makes it the perfect announcement: its start is so far in the future that no-one need really worry about it, it silences those who complain that HS2 does nothing to link up the North, and it allows for a little bit of Coalition bickering.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Mark McIntyre

    NO2 HS3 – it has Calamity written all over it !

  • Iain Hill

    No one thought of Scotland?

    • Jimmy R

      Scotland already has a monstrosity of such an urbanised area, it’s called ‘The Central Belt’ and, just like the suggested new northern city of Megametroplis does nothing for anything outside it’s boundaries and simply strips other places by dragging everything towards it.
      The North of England does not need a new Mega-City, it needs the regeneration of those cities and large towns it already has sufficient of. A new city will simply make other already deprived areas in the North even more deprived thereby massively increasing the problems in the North instead of doing anything to solve them.
      The whole concept, including the silly HS3 idea, is nothing but a cheap vote catching stunt and nothing else.

  • DaveTheRave

    Well, he would. He also liked the hike in tuition fees.
    This would be yet another catastrophic waste of money. It could be spent far more wisely.
    Where are leaders with REAL vision?

  • Chris Rose

    As someone who lives in the north, may I suggest that the money would be far better spent improving and speeding up the existing rail network, particularly ironing out the patches of speed restrictions on the trans-pennine routes. Such work would not be glamorous, but it could start now and would bring real benefits fairly quickly. HS trains running east-west on an island the width of Britain is barmy.

    Such ‘announcements’ from Osborne come straight from the Blair/Campbell book of government and I had rather hoped we consigned them to the dust-bin: silly me. Idiocy thrives in Westminster.

    • DaveTheRave

      I concur.
      Definite shades of New Labour.

    • Alexsandr

      dont let politicians plan anything. they just make vanity projects.

    • IsambardBrunel

      You are clearly not a railway engineer. major speed upgrades were a major part of the west coast mainline upgrade, that project was a disaster, endless dirsruption, way over budget and didnt achieve 140mph as planned. HS1 was built on time and on budget. major patch ups of old victorian lines is not good value for money.

  • Earlshill

    In other words, Isabel, it’s a complete non event. Are you on piece work, paid by wpd (words per day)? There’s a much more interesting story emerging through Dominic shortly…..

  • Smithersjones2013

    That Nick Clegg likes the idea demonstrates what a calamity such an idea is. Its one thing for London to evolve with all its pomp and ceremony into the sprawling monster it has become its wholly another to try and create such a monster out of the North’s dark satanic mills. Is Osborne related to the Frankenstein family by any chance?

    • DaveTheRave

      I agree, the idea is total claptrap.
      We create one monster, so the answer is to create another. Londonzilla versus Northzilla.
      The very fact that they think ‘The North’ needs this reveals the paucity of their vision, their argument.

  • DWWolds

    For a number of reasons, this might make more sense if HS3 became HS2 and the current HS2 was pushed further down the line to become HS3. In other words, make a start on the northern link before the one between London and Birmingham.

  • Kitty MLB

    Its a vainglorious nonsense. What is it with politicians and playing with toy soldiers
    and with their toy train sets.
    It will cost a fortunate, mankind will be living on Mars by the time its finished. Oh and the world of business, we can speak with and see people in Manchester to do business with the same way we can see and speak with people in China or Canada,
    technology is quite amazing and by the time this is finished we will be visiting Mars.
    It will wreck our countryside, homes will be devalued along route, this is also a somewhat small country, we have no need for a super train that only benefits a few.
    We need to update the train stations we already have and deal with our atrocious
    roads..Potholes.. the blight of the universe.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh may I change my mind a little. I suppose if its clean and efficient it’ll free up
      our already clogged up roads and to be honest travelling on motorways for
      hours is a nightmare. And they say you’ll be able to travel throughout Europe

  • El_Sid

    If you really want to encourage employment oop North, they could try regionalising employment taxes to allow lower NI oop north whilst discouraging employment in central London with higher NI to pay for it.