Basically its a new 'High Speed' rail line planned for England, it's planned start point will be London Euston - phase one will terminate at Birmingham while phase two will see the line snaking its way to Leeds and Wigan.
I mention it for two reasons, the first far less bothersome than the second - its mentioned on the BBC's online news page for Scotland...
|Years of Disruption. It goes without saying...|
For the avoidance of doubt.
Illustrated most ably by the map from the BBC's web page, HS2 doesn't go much further north than Leeds. Leeds isn't in Scotland, heck, Scotland isn't even shown on the map the BBC chose to use in their story and yet - to paraphrase Alan Bissett - 'but you'll pay for it, you'll pay for it'.
Transport is devolved to Holyrood, the current Minister for Transport is Keith Brown, his budget comes from the block grant which in turn is worked out with the Barnett Formula - no yawning at the back - HS2 on the other hand is supposed to benefit the entire UK so Scotland won't receive an equivalent per capita share of this transport spending (which is how Barnett is supposed to work.)
(Very quickly: Barnett is a fag packet calculation on how Holyrood and its devolved responsibilities are funded. Put simply, if Westminster spent £100 on paperclips for England, Scotland - with ~9% of the population - would get £9 to spend on paperclips , or what ever we thought best suited our paper-collation needs. This is horrifically over-simplified, but I'd challenge anyone to try and make sense of the wiki page on the subject. If you do figure it out, please clue me in.)
Same as it did for London's new 'super sewage system' costing £4.2 Billion. Scotland should have got something in the region of £400 million in line with Barnett, instead though, we got to pay our per capita share of a sewage system 560 miles away from Inverness.
If Westminster decides a project will benefit the entire UK, instead of Scotland getting its per-head share of spending, it gets a per-head bill instead.
Not only will you and your kids be paying for a railway line which comes no where near Scotland - recently, an unintended consequence was discovered - not only will people in Scotland be paying for it, we'll be penalised by it.
That Aberdeen (for example) could lose out to the tune of £220m - this is to do with companies potentially choosing to locate to areas served by HS2 instead of the North East of Scotland - wouldn't have seen the light of day were it not for an FOI request passed over to the BBC, (sometimes they do their job.)
Only under the current Westminster arrangement is it possible for a person living and working in Dundee say, to be paying for a train line in England which will potentially cause the company they work for to relocate or for future job opportunities to evaporate because of that self-same train line Westminster forced them to pay for.
Indeed, it seems, if you live in Scotland and want something approaching your fair share of the tax revenues you contribute to the UK's coffers - you need to visit London for a dump.
Not wishing to sound dramatic about this but, there must a few jowly old men in clubs around London - pigs snuffling at the trough of the British Hyena State - laughing like drains over brandy and cigars. They are simultaneously taking the piss with London's new super sewage upgrade which Scotland helped pay for and taking Scotland for a ride with it's massively costly, doubtfully beneficial new high speed train set.
What more do people need to know for next September and why - seriously - why would you vote to maintain this iniquitous settlement?
* Edit for clarity. It isn't wrong to say the rail line will come no where near Scotland - it won't, at least not until the nebulous phase 3. The trains however, according to the HS2 website, will continue 'seamlessly' onto the East Coast Line (for example) to Edinburgh - one assumes the trains won't be able to travel at the same break neck speeds that it does south of Leeds. Its a fine point, we're still paying for a rail line in England, Scotland's benefit will by in the form of time saved when the train gets onto the new line at Leeds.
It's still not blowing my skirt up.