Sunday, 21 November 2010

Brave Words - Or Just 'Soundbites'?

According to Andrew Gilligan, writing in the Telegraph:
"Three ministers, including a member of the Cabinet, have threatened to resign rather than support the Government’s controversial high-speed rail line through some of England’s finest countryside."
Cheryl Gillan, Welsh Secretary and MP for Chesham and Amersham; David Lidington, Foreign Office minister and MP for Aylesbury; and Jeremy Wright, a Government whip and MP for Kenilworth have all spoken out against HS2 the high speed rail plan - stating they would vote against the government if necessary. Were they to actually do what they say, it would immediately require their resigning from any Cabinet and Ministerial positions held.

Not mentioned in this article, nor on the website of the Department for Transport, posting about the HS2, is the overriding connection of the European Union - and in particular the Trans European Network - Transport (TEN-T). An introduction to TEN-T and mission can be found here.

The 1992 Maastricht Treaty defined the TEN-T policy and mandated the development of the TEN-T Guidelines to facilitate the establishment of a single, multimodal network covering traditional infrastructure and equipment as well as the deployment of innovative and intelligent transport systems to enable safe, efficient and sustainable traffic.

The TEN-T Guidelines identify the Trans-European Transport Network including road, rail and inland waterway networks, seaports and inland waterway ports, airports and other interconnection points between modal networks. Integration and smooth operation of the system is ensured through efficient traffic management systems comprising systems for road (Intelligent Transport Services - ITS), rail (European Rail Traffic Management System - ERTMS), air (in the context of the Single European Sky policy and aligned with technology innovation through SESAR) and waterborne
transport on inland waterways (River Information Systems - RIS) as well as the European positioning and navigation systems (GNSS/Galileo).

Whilst there is no published link I can find, linking the HS2 scheme to TEN-T, it is worth noting that planned road links connecting the continent and Ireland, through England, are already under way, designated in the TEN-T's Priority Project 13. However, bearing in mind the words quoted above: "and mandated the development of the TEN-T Guidelines to facilitate the establishment of a single, multimodal network covering traditional infrastructure and equipment as well as the deployment of innovative and intelligent transport systems to enable safe, efficient and sustainable traffic", it should be obvious that the development of the transport system within the UK is not entirely within our own hands.

Returning to the matter of Gillan, Lidington and Wright, perhaps they are not aware of TEN-T, which in Lidington's case may well be true as he seems to know virtually nothing about anything! When they voted in favour of the adoption of the European Action Service or the European Investigation Order, did they survey their constituents to find out the view of those that pay them and who's views they are expected to represent? Also, it is worth repeating the point that by accepting a ministerial post, they have in effect disenfranchised their constituents as they have placed their loyalties to the Coalition over those of their constituents - in that it is a condition of such appointments that they do not vote against government policy. So why the 'revolt' over HS2? It is not as if they have been 'railroaded' into it, is it?

In any event, where our politicians and the question of EU membership is concerned, on the occasion of every general election, I am reminded of the words of H.L. Mencken:
"Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods"

2 comments:

Chuckles said...

Must be the famous !D-Ten-T guidelines?

As in ID-10-T

Witterings From Witney said...

chuckles: do you mind, I do the puns here! Like it though......