Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Compare and contrast

I’ve expressed disappointment previously with the response in Wales to the plans to expand high-speed rail in the UK.  Instead of lobbying for Wales to be next in the plans, the response of those in parties which claim to be ‘standing up for Wales’ has wavered between outright opposition to an ‘England-only’ project and a demand for a Barnett consequential so that Wales can spend the equivalent money on something completely different. 

It’s worth comparing that with the attitude of the SNP Government in Scotland.  As this story shows, they have demanded a ‘concrete timetable’ for expanding the network to Scotland.  They’ve also started planning their own high-speed link between Edinburgh and Glasgow, which could be up and running by 2024 on their forecasts.
There’s a clear contrast there between being bold and having a whinge.  Yet again, Salmond and the SNP have shown us what a nationalist response, pushing the interests of Scotland, looks like.  And there’d be no prizes here for guessing which approach is most likely to succeed.  Scotland is pushing itself up the list of contenders for HS3, whilst Wales seems to be doing its best to remove itself from contention completely.
PS – the UKIP response to the HS2 announcement, as reported by David Cornock, left me more than a little puzzled.  Instead of spending the money on HS2, they say that “the UK should invest that massive amount of money in developing better infrastructure, including transport between and within towns and cities”.  But if HS2 is not about transport infrastructure between cities, what is it?  It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that they are calling for a programme of road-building.

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