3 October 2011

Thinking Paper #130: Will someone please think about Stoke-on-Trent?‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond’s haircut, is making a speech today. He will probably talk about trains.

The background

Philip Hammonds haircut has come under mounting criticism recently for his dogged determination to spend billions of money on a really fast train which will knock 30 seconds off the journey time between Birmingham and London. It is said that this will make everyone more inclined to get rid of their Ford Focus and make people in Newcastle really rich. The IIPBA looks at the consequences, alleged and otherwise.

The alleged consequences

To recap, we will spend all the money we have on train lines that will take around 20 years to complete in order to make journey times quicker between big cities. The alleged consequences include: bridging the economic divide between the wonderfully termed “north” and London; and making people less inclined to drive etc. The IIPBA particularly likes the use of the word “north”.

Some other potential consequences:
  • People in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will commute to London because all of a sudden, it’s loads easier to get to. Thus resulting in furthering the economic disparities between regions.
  • Places such as Stoke-on-Trent, which won’t have a stop on the new super quick line, will lose their twice hourly trains to London and will be rapidly wiped off the map. Thus resulting in furthering the economic disparities between regions. As a side note, Abbey Clancy, the wife of Peter Crouch, was said to be "gutted" at having to move to Stoke following his transfer to the Potters. The news about Stokes imminent destruction is unlikely to brighten her mood.
  • People will still love cars because they get you places you want to go to.
  • Distinguished residents of Hampton in Arden will barely have time for breakfast on the way to London, or a couple of G&Ts on the way home.
Conclusion

Some other countries opted for these really quick trains and it didn’t make any difference to regional economic inequalities. The UK considered these examples outliers and proceeded anyway. In conclusion, those pesky Whitehall technocrats done something bad. Politicians followed. The IIPBA smells a u-turn.

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