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Johnson’s opening gift to Starmer – scrapping HS2?

January 21st, 2020

Being portrayed as anti-north so soon after the election might not be smart

The biggest mistake that was made over HS2 was to call it just that. It sounds like a vanity project which is exactly what it isn’t. The new line would free up chronic under-capacity on the existing West Coast Main Line including for all the local and commuter services. If this had been billed as “West Coast Mainline upgrade” it wouldn’t have attracted anything like the opposition.

So a decision to scrap it has much wider implications than just being able to travel between London and Birmingham a few minutes  faster. For it was in the north and the midlands where the Tory campaign picked up the vast bulk of its seat gains. These helped it absorb the losses in Scotland and enable it to have a stonking majority.

To scrap it so soon within only a few weeks of the election victory has huge political dangers for the Tories in the parts of England where they prospered most and which Labour ‘s new leader would dearly want to win back.

The party has got so used to facing the feeble opposition that Corbyn’s LAB represented that it has failed to comprehend how the political world will change with a new leader. Whoever wins the current contest is going to be very different and more politically astute. What a great issue scrapping HS2 would be to Starmer

All Johnson’s promises on helping the north would pale into insignificance.

Mike Smithson