Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Transport - A Lack Of Vision From Government And Opposition

Interesting article here on the forthcoming government-backed report on the transport situation in Britain. The fact that the report, to be released next month, comes from a former British Airways Chief Executive, Sir Rod Eddington, does not exactly inspire confidence from the start. The call for a major expansion of rail capacity is welcome, but the detail of the proposal is characterised by the unambitious 'prudence' of Gordon Brown's financial rule.

However, the response from the Tories is also revealing. I have said before how John 'Vulcan' Redwood's continuing high rank and credibility in the Tory Party gives the lie to Cameron's claim to be creating a more green and socially responsible organisation that reins in big business. Redwood has responded with some classic Martian claptrap comparing roadbuilding to opening new hospital beds and then says any expansion of rail must be paid for by the private sector - i.e. more snouts in the public trough to continue the PPP/PFI rip-offs New Labour are saddling us with.

'The government doesn't say "Put in a few more hospital beds and people will only use them, so they will all get blocked again". They just offer more beds. The same must be true of rail and road capacity.'

A completely dishonest comparison. Because it is a proven fact that opening new roads does encourage more traffic and more road based journeys in private cars. That is to say that preventative healthcare is a very good idea, just as are preventative measures to reduce traffic (i.e better public transport)- but to compare the two areas of expenditure and the implications of expanded capacity is silly. In one area meeting need is necessary, but does not significantly increase demand, in the other area the opposite is the case - and road and rail transport cannot be lumped together as most of the time they are competing forms of transport.

But if Redwood's inanity is enough to give you hope that the government's judgement is better, first have a look at Eddington's CV - his list of jobs and appointments is like a roll of dishonour of corporations progressives love to hate.

It seems we will have to wait a while longer before any significantly radical new thinking on transport emerges from either government or so-called opposition.

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At 2:12 pm, Blogger Dorothea said...

Greenman, I completely agree with you about Redwood. His comments are the same old, discredited illogic of "predict and provide" that has got us into the mess we're in now.

It's just a treadmill. More cars - more roads - more destruction - more congestion - more cars - round and round in a vicious circle.

You'd think it was obvious, but obviously not, to the blinkered mind of a petrolhead.


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