Here you go [PDF]. 64 pages and some crayoning
Been the usual (doubtless Kit Malthouse-inspired) PR blitz over the last few days, but, to my mind, no great wave of enthusiasm. Perhaps people aren’t especially receptive to huge unfunded transport projects just at the moment, or perhaps the report itself isn’t up to much as a call to arms for the C_FIT fraternity. Certainly initial Twitter reaction has been highly derogatory, although that’s Helen and Political Animal so far. Links elsewhere during the recent blitz include:
- Evening Standard covering the lack of cohesion with central Tory policy
- Kent News covering Boris’s cycling buddy Lord Adonis’s dismissal of the whole thing on the Politics Show, which also apparently included Gareth Knight of the Tory toddler group C_FIT, which they’re awfully pleased about. Listen, boys and girls, I’ve been on that, and if they’ll have me on they’ll have anyone (Christian Wolmar was ‘busy’, apparently).
- BBC video with rather a bizarre diagram apparently showing the rail link joining HS1 in the middle of the North Downs Tunnel
- Usual Sunday Times puffery, although at least they printed my comment complete with the word ‘bonkers’
- Yorkshire Ranter with an excellent piece pondering whether there is actually anything there between Team Boris’s ears or if it’s as insubstantial and wayward as it appears, using the TEA-bagging as an example – ‘appealing to “sheikhs” as the answer to financing anything deserves to be the standard marker of amateur hour’. Indeed.
What’s most pleasing, I suppose, is the confirmation that all the guesswork and dredger-following we did earlier in the year really did get the location nailed on. It’s essentially the amateur Marinair proposals that have been kicking around for a few years, mildly warmed over by an aging engineer. Actually, from a skim through, I stick to my first impression, this is an engineer telegraphing ‘DON’T DO IT’ without actually saying so. There’s a bit that clearly says ‘look, chaps, this is beyond my remit, you need to think a whole lot bigger’. Bigger? Cripes. It was hardly a London issue in the first place and it can’t be the Mayor of London’s role to reshape the whole coastline of the south-east like a JCB-driving Canute. This leads one to suspect that even if you can persuade the Tory transport team of the merits (which isn’t a given) you also have to persuade whichever gang they’ve got in charge of regional policy, too.
Anyway, I’d better go and read the rest of it, hadn’t I?
Update – Total rubbish. Basically takes 64 pages to say ‘I don’t know where to put it, I don’t know how to fund it and you need to redesign the estuary for it to make any sense at all’. Any report that starts off by analysing what the amateur idiots with grand schemes and no clue have to offer and *using that as a baseline* is not to be taken seriously.
Boris, of course, is appointing Sir David King, a full on climate change evangelist and perfectly sound scientist, to head up a working group including failed airline tycoon Kit Malthouse and the man formerly with the most useless job in government, Nick Raynsford. There’s also a strong whiff of pork in the air, courtesy of a company set up by Oakervee and the GLA’s Bridget Rosewell, who needs watching on this evidence.
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