Sunday, 6 November 2016

How projects like The Tram and HS2 turn politicians into chameleons and vultures

The following quote is from a news item in Anna Soubry's e-newsletter dated 5 November 2016:

Beeston’s Central College set to close

Central College has announced that their Beeston site will close after 2020. I met the Chief Executive John van de Laarschot yesterday; he said the plan is to cut costs by reducing the number of campuses and instead build a new £50 million College in Nottingham. 

I am far from convinced this is a good idea. 500 students use Beeston College and whilst I accept the buildings at the rear are in poor condition, the front is modern and attractive - and it has its own tram stop. The closure will be yet another blow for Chilwell High Road. I am very concerned that yet again, the City is taking precedence over areas like Broxtowe.

Now  a quote and link to a page on Anna Soubry's website headed 'HS2 in Broxtowe':

Anna Soubry has welcomed plans to place the HS2 East Midlands hub at Toton Sidings. But the planned line will cause disruption to a small number of houses in Broxtowe, some of which will have to be demolished. There is also real concern about the affect on the environment at  Strelley Village, Nuthall and Trowell. Anna Soubry is committed to getting the best deal for those affected by HS2.

The impact of the tram on parts of Beeston and Chilwell is pretty much as Anna Soubry sees it, especially when she writes 'I am very concerned yet again (that) the City is taking precedence over areas like Broxtowe'.

Personally, I would prefer existing railway lines electrified and modernised so that there can be more, faster, trains to cities like London, Birmingham and Manchester instead of wasting billions on HS2. Another argument used by opponents of HS2 is that the this new high-speed line is all about sucking more business and jobs into London. Those who support HS2 are of the view that if HS2 is good for London, then, by default, it is good for the rest of England too, especially the Midlands.

Downscale these arguments and replace 'HS2' with the Nottingham–Chilwell 'Tram extension' and you have much the same scenario and arguments. The Tram has not gentrified or improved things for Bulwell or Hyson Green in twelve years and, as yet, it has done nothing of note for Beeston or Chilwell — a fact which Anna Soubry recognises. In her own words 'The City is taking precedence'. She could be talking about London and HS2. In fact she probably, albeit unknowingly, is!

I will be long gone come 2036 when the occasional HS2 train stops at the Derby-Nottingham (or Nottingham-Derby) HS Station at Toton, but I have learnt enough in my 72 years to know that Anna Soubry's successor in Parliament (if she is not Mother of the House by then) will also be complaining that 'The City is taking precedence'.

Central College is doing what is expected of it in a society where education has been commercialised and serves the interests of business before the students it is meant to be helping to educate. It is as simple as that. The financial and logistical problem the college is trying to address is one created by Parliament and all three main political parties in England.

I can imagine local Conservative, Labour and Liberal councillors on Broxtowe Borough Council saying much the same thing as Anna Soubry. Political elites in 2016 are like chameleons, they morph colour to please whoever it is they want to please on any particular day. They share policies like vultures share a corpse.

An educated population with access to decent public services and housing should be the No.1 priority.

FOOTNOTE. The new runway at Heathrow Airport also comes to mind. The vision offered  bears little resemblance to the awful reality it will bring about, if you consider the negative impact it will have on the environment, public services and public expenditure.

1 comment:

  1. I thought I recognised the name John van de Laarschot, he was Chief Executive of Stoke City Council until a couple of years or so ago! It would be a shame for that college to close:)