03 February 2013

A speedy recovery

Through the recent icy weather people have been able to keep themselves warm by harnessing the cubic metres of hot air being released over HS2. For those not familiar with the hot topics of British infrastructure planning, this is the sequel to HS1, a high-speed rail line connecting London to Birmingham, that, like a teenage delinquent, needs somewhere else to be moved on to once it reaches the midlands. So this week HS2's twin paths to the east and west of northern England were announced to the usual cries of joy and disdain from the NIMBYs and YIMBYs who believe they will lose or gain from its proximity.

To bolster its case as a piece of strategic thinking, and not merely jam tomorrow from a government desperate both to look visionary and to be seen to be investing in infrastructure projects, all sorts of projections of wealth generation are being cast about like fishing lines. These sort of calculations are speculative at best - not so much back-of-an-envelope as back-to-the-future, as we are betting a £33billion farm on a time we cannot see: no-one will actually be able to experience signal failure at Toton until at least 2033. But that hasn't stopped HS2 itself (which seems to exist as an independent entity, with its own website) reckoning it will generate £47 billion in user benefits to businesses when the entire network is completed, as well as between £6 billion and £12 billion in wider economic benefits. And all this from the ability to get from London to Birmingham 30 minutes quicker.

We've become used to spurious economic externalities being blamed for downturns in recent years: royal weddings, snow days, hot days, cold days, bank holidays, sick days, all of which make the difference between businesses staying afloat or going bust, it would seem. But the prospect of an economic boom coming on the back of the next generation getting to Brum 30 minutes sooner seems generous at best. What can you do with an extra half an hour - have a piano lesson? Are we going to rebuild our flagging economy by cramming in extra piano lessons in the time we saved not being slumped dribbling on the 08.45 out of Euston?

Recently I've taken to cycling to my local train station rather than driving - it saves money and gives me exercise, though it does add probably half an hour to my commute. I worry that, given the apparent solid link between time and money confidently predicted by HS2 that I am now contributing to the economic malaise in the country. How much more money would I make for UK plc if I drove? Better still, I could take a helicopter and be in London in half an hour. If the price of the recovery is simply getting somewhere else a bit quicker, why aren't they laying on 12 trains an hour, 24 hours a day across the country?

My second doubt about these predictions is the same as my doubts about any soothsayer or, god forbid, "futurologist". In 1993, who was predicting that by now you could do a week's grocery shopping and tape your favourite TV show from a telephone you could carry around with you while you waited for the train? No one could even see the future of the tablet market 6 years ago, never mind 26 years ago. My son's headmaster reckons that, by the time he graduates from university, around 25% of the jobs he could do wouldn't have existed before he started his first day at school.

When I was younger, I went to Portsmouth to look around HMS Warrior, the less glamorous younger sibling to Nelson's flagship. It is perhaps the best-preserved example of an Ironclad Ship, the successor to the ordinary, and very penetrable, wooden war vessel. Within a few years of its completion, it was completely obsolete, as full iron ships showed counter-intuitively that metal that floats was the future. Ironclad was definitely the future until we saw it was just a bridge to something else, with the wisdom of our hindsight. Similarly, I can't help thinking that, in twenty years time, when we'll all have hoverboards AND jet-packs, plus dinner in pill form, the idea that we would want to get to Birmingham any quicker than we had to might seem a curious one.

And in 100 years, my great, great grandchildren will take school trips to visit HS2 like I went to see Warrior, to marvel at the uncertainty of betting on a sure thing.


Anonymous said...

[url=http://buycialispremiumpharmacy.com/#pyrda]buy cialis online[/url] - buy cialis online , http://buycialispremiumpharmacy.com/#tpuvj buy cialis

Anonymous said...

[url=http://buyviagrapremiumpharmacy.com/#ysjbf]generic viagra[/url] - buy viagra online , http://buyviagrapremiumpharmacy.com/#gwqhc generic viagra

Anonymous said...

[url=http://viagraboutiqueone.com/#ebpqv]generic viagra[/url] - viagra online , http://viagraboutiqueone.com/#efxxr buy viagra

Anonymous said...

[url=http://buyonlineaccutanenow.com/#ecphv]accutane online without prescription[/url] - buy generic accutane , http://buyonlineaccutanenow.com/#pacbg cheap generic accutane

Anonymous said...


[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/neurobionforte][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Neurobion Forte (B1+B6+B12)[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...


[size=4][url=http://my.moverapid.com/confido][b][color=blue]Buy [/color][color=red]Confido[/color][color=blue] ONLINE - click here![/color][/b][/url][/size]

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that's both equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head.
The problem is something too few folks are speaking intelligently
about. I'm very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

Have a look at my web blog; subliminal messages in disney movies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Self-help_books)

Anonymous said...

I just ϲould not dеpart ƴour website before suggesting that
I actuallү loѵed the usual іnformation a pеrson proѵide for your guests?

Is gonna bbe again often in order to ϲheck up on new posts

Also visit my website; weight watchers - Http://aiseoblog.zggongying.org/space.php?uid=123901&do=Blog&id=153145,

Anonymous said...

Hello to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this website,
and your views are pleasant for new users.

my blog post :: amoxil

Anonymous said...

Very good information. Lucky me I came across your site by accident (stumbleupon).
I have book-marked it for later!

Here is my website ... purchase hurricane windows

Anonymous said...

buy electronic cigarette, e cigarette, e cigarette, ecigarette, smokeless cigarettes, ecig

vabna islam said...

World famous information, news, song, award list, movie and lifestyle are there Enjoy famous celebrities most popular song and Movie and know their lifestyle, Biodata,news, contact number and home address Enjoy famous celebrities top and hot photo and video.
celebrity gossip


Silahkan kunjungi :


thank you for the information, interesting post. I hope this content can be benefits for anyone.

sourabh gupta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sourabh gupta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sourabh gupta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sourabh gupta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anita J. Holliman said...

You don’t say any one to write your homework.You try to make your own term paper. You can do do homework online. If your need to help, you can take it from a specialist.

Narender Godara said...

Packers and movers jalandhar
Packers and movers varanasi
Packers and movers agra
Packers and movers kanpur
Packers and movers allahabad
Packers and movers lucknow
Packers and movers ludhiana
Packers and movers mohali
Packers and movers shimla
Packers and movers jammu
Packers and movers amritsar
Packers and movers chandigarh

Narender Godara said...

chennai packers and movers
coimbatore packers and movers
dehradun packers and movers
ahmedabad packers and movers
chandigarh packers and movers
allahabad packers and movers
kanpur packers and movers
lucknow packers and movers
cochin packers and movers
agra packers and movers
varanasi packers and movers
indore packers and movers

Pengobatan Batuk Berdahak Herbal said...

Soon overcome all the problems your illness complaint before everything gets worse

Obat Asma Tradisional
Cara Herbal Mengobati Laringitis
Cara Ampuh Menyembuhkan Alergi Menahun
Pengobatan Hernia Untuk Semua Usia
Pengobatan Yang Ampuh Batuk Kering
Pengobatan Kudis Secara Merata

cara menggugurkan kandungan said...

This blog is so nice to me. I will continue to come here again and again. Visit my link as well. Good luck
http://www.jualobataborsiherbal.com/ obat aborsi
http://www.jualobataborsiherbal.com/cara-menggugurkan-kandungan/ cara menggugurkan kandungan
http://obataborsi59.com/ obat aborsi
http://obataborsi59.com/cara-menggugurkan-kandungan-dengan-cepat-dan-aman/ cara menggugurkan kandungan
http://obattelatdatangbulan.info/ obat telat datang bulan
http://klinikobataborsi.com/ jual obat aborsi
http://jualobatpenggugurkandungan.net/ obat penggugur kandungan
http://tandatandakehamilan.net/ tanda tanda kehamilan
http://tandatandakehamilan.net/cara-cepat-dan-selamat-menggugurkan-kandungan/ cara menggugurkan kandungan

Clipping Quick said...

Thank you so much for an amazing article
clipping path
clipping path service
background removal
raster to vector