High Speed, High Cost, High Vanity

The National Audit Office has questioned the business benefits of the government’s proposal to build a high speed rail link from London through Birmingham and to the North of the country. It is expressing a view that is shared by many people, not just those whose homes or businesses will be blighted by the new railway line. Continue reading

Trains – we gave them names

I am writing these words on a train. It left Bridgend in South Wales at seven o’clock on Monday morning and will arrive in London Paddington at about nine thirty. The fare cost me £114.50, which was the cheapest fare available to me and my circumstances.

I am squeezed into a seat which enables me to perch my small laptop computer and write these words, with a luxury of an electrical socket, to feed my elderly computer otherwise it will not last. Continue reading

Running on a cold and frosty morning

It was a cold and frosty morning, so I went running, not for long, but just to get some exercise. I could see the signs of modern heating with flumes from gas condensing boilers, this early morning. Many years ago I would have seen chimneys smoking but I did not see any at all. The air was very still and the only smoke I saw came from car exhausts as I breathed in harder to get my breath as I ran. There were some other runners on the pavement. They nodded in acknowledgement, which is a rare gesture in a London where folk keep themselves to themselves. Well wrapped folk walked slowly to their cars and started scraping the ice from windshields. I breathed harder.

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More Airports and More Runways Are Probably Not Necessary

There is a strong feeling that London needs more aviation capacity and so there is a need to make a decision about building places where more planes can land and take off. This is a straightforward matter; we must first decide if London needs more runways or airports and if so how large should they be and where they should be located. Continue reading

The outlook is for more gales and floods

When the vessels of the Royal Navy relied on wind power, and not on coal, oil or nuclear power, the sailors thought that when the equinox arrived would come gales and strong winds. It was thought that the shortening of daylight by a minute less than twelve hours was a recipe for autumn gales. If we are wise we know now that we know very little about weather except what we experience and in Britain, true to the sailors’ theory we have seen many parts of the country subject to gales and extraordinary rainfall. Continue reading

New Circumstances Require New Laws

We all love our freedom and no one wants to be oppressed. You can be oppressed and subjugated by violence and force and threats but ultimately laws are passed which provide a framework of oppression and a legal methodology which is used to oppress, for with every oppression there is an equal and opposite reaction – the oppressor becmes free to do as he pleases. Continue reading

Odd Things – Games More Important than Work

The Olympic Games start in London in a few weeks time. London workers are being told that during the three week period of the Olympics and the three week period of the Para Olympics, they will have to concede priority in their travel to from and during work to those participating in the games, and all the great and good officials and politicians. The officials will be able to travel from a hotel in Mayfair to the games site in East London in 20 minutes, using special lanes and traffic lights controlled to give them priority. These officials are the people who have made the games happen and they are so terribly important personages. The politicians are also terribly important for without them what would our lives be like?

But the workers of London who want to travel from East London to Mayfair to work will have to allow several hours for their journeys to and from work. Public transport will be prioritised for the games, roads will likely be jammed as the priority road lanes come into force and if you need to travel to work you are advised to walk or to use a bike. Clearly the games are more important than work, no matter what the work is. It seems a curious priority in times of economic difficulty when work will ease the difficulty, to make working so difficult.

Energy independence; we must strive for as much of it as we can achieve

One of the most vulnerable parts of a developed society is the supply of energy. If the supply of energy is disturbed, interrupted or even threatened society has to make rapid adjustments many of which result in suffering and loss of prosperity. Continue reading