Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Ann Widdecombe says "It's time to speed up the Transport Revolution"

There is still a great deal of very predictable uproar over the new high speed rail line.
I can still remember the last one, when the first high speed link was being constructed through the Kent countryside and I was the MP representing the county town.

I made myself mighty unpopular by supporting the need for such a facility between the tunnel and the capital.

Many of those who feared its advent now use it regularly.

It is a clich√© but still true that we would never have built any railways at all if we had been trying to do so in today’s climate, let alone laid gas pipes into people’s homes, inviting the populace to ignite a combustible and poisonous substance and to cook on the resulting explosion of flame.

Why are we so resistant to every piece of progress? Partly it is because our procedures are so drawn out that people rightly fear years of blight and partly because our compensation laws are so penny-pinching that people rightly fear financial loss but there is a third, often ignored reason.

Unlike the Britain which built the railways and laid the gas pipes, we are now so overcrowded and with such vast urban sprawl that it is virtually impossible to design anything from a nuclear power station to a children’s nursery without having to station it next to somebody’s backyard let alone find vast tracts of land where transport can run unheard and unseen.

Transport is one of the first considerations of any proposal for inward investment and we simply cannot afford to be uncompetitive.

We do need this link and another runway at Heathrow and several other unpopular enhancements to our economy so those affected should be prepared to accept what is proposed in the name of the greater good but that is no reason at all to leave people with uncertainty, loss and blight.

All those miseries can and should be rectified by the apparatus of State. If government asks its citizens to make sacrifices then it should deal fairly and promptly with those same citizens or be prepared to be shown the door.

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