• HS2: The time for simple binary decision-making is past- it needs an independent review
    Unless the Chancellor has something up his sleeve for next Wednesday’s Budget, it looks as the Government is “deferring” a lot of big spending on HS2 for at least a couple more years. To judge from the Transport Secretary’s statement, some big decisions have also been deferred, presumably until after the next general election. This would, therefore, seem an opportune […]
  • Frameworks and functions
    The Royal Society report Multifunctional Landscapes – Informing a Long-Term Vision for Managing the UK’s Land poses some important questions. There is much to admire in it. Its admirably concise Executive Summary – just four paragraphs to introduce a 66-page report – includes a statement that should be tattooed on everybody in Whitehall and the devolved administrations. And held up […]
  • Cities of the plain – but it’s not so plain
    If you want a picture of what’s really going on in Britain, local papers often provide a better guide than most of the stuff in the national press. Take a couple of last week’s stories. In South Shields, volunteers at a food-bank were horrified, but not surprised, when a mother staggered in with two small children and collapsed from hunger. […]
  • The road to ruin
    When I heard that the Commons Transport Committee is launching a new inquiry into the Government’s plans for investing in major roads and motorways in England, I thought here was a Christmas present that could go on giving. Unfortunately I was wrong. In the Committee’s announcement of the inquiry, it says it was prompted by the way the current Road […]
  • Democracy – and worse
    “Democracy is the worst form of government,” said Winston Churchill. “Except for all the others that have been tried from time to time.” Watching the march of dictatorship around the world, one can only echo Churchill’s words. He certainly knew a thing or two about democracy – and the alternatives – but he also understood the necessities of getting elected. […]