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Politics in it’s old hat.

This started as a reply to Sam’s comment here.

Sam, you have a point. The older I get the more I realise that politically we are regressing to a bastardized-Victoriana that never really existed. How else would the largest ever proposed engineering project in British history be a railway that George and Robert Stephenson could envisage – literally – it’s George’s gauge metal rails of course. It’s also 50 billion quid jizzed up the wall

It was cutting edge when George and son were building the Rocket but that was nigh on 200 years from an MP idling on the track and getting mown-down by the Rocket to the first paying passenger getting on the “new” HS2. What happened to the Fairey Rotodyne? Political pignorance and bastarding fuckwittery is what happened. There were concerns over noise (Fairey had got it down to the sound of a tube train). The fact the US military wanted loads of ‘em was irrelevant. The fact there was significant commercial interest in a high-speed city to city VTOL aircraft matter nothing if it scared the horses. Literally. The Bellendius Maximus who first championed HS2 was (and is) Lord Adonis. Yes, it does sound like he should be a porn-star. Lord Andrew [which means "manly" BTW] Adonis looks like this…

What mental image do you have of a Lord Adonis? A sort of demi-god who traded blows with Hektor of Troy? Or that piss-poor wankenshaft? He wrote a scholarly history of the poll-tax.

Short version. I did more against that. I simply didn’t pay. Not because I objected nor because I knew it was wrong as such but because I knew I could get the feck away with it and those quids in my pocket were worth more to me than being in the pockets of the cuntcil. At the time, there was, as ever a C19th (perceived as) idea that the community charge was either right or wrong. I just didn’t want to pay. Yes, I was shellfish. I was the full lobster.

So I didn’t pay and they never got me. So, what’s my point? Well, possibly it is Ike’s about “guided missiles but unguided men”. No politricks this last fifty years has moved much beyond WWI. Anywhere.

Look at the lavish expense of HS2 and compare with the dismal spending on Skylon? The first is a C19th solution to a C21st problem and the second is an SSTO aerospace plane that would result in Bristol Filton being re-monikered “Bristol International Spaceport”. Now if that isn’t cooler than making the trip from London to Birmingham 15 minutes shorter I despair. I have been to Birmingham. It’s OK but space!

It is the chronic lack of imagination that gets me about politricks.

And put it this way… 50 billion quid in you or my pocket is much more likely to get us to Mars than any ammount in the poche of the taxman. And that will only get you to Brum.

Which is like OK and all but seriously nothing to write home about.

Birmingham – it’s OK I guess.


  1. John Galt says:

    “And that will only get you to Brum.”

    In fairness I can already get to Brum by rail, all HS2 does is allow me to get to Brum a bit quicker, as long as I happen to be coming from the right direction AND as long as their aren’t any delays AND I’m prepared to pay the exorbitant fares required for this boondoggle…

    In fact given the latest estimates of cost are 50-80bn quid, I’d say HS2 is a pretty piss poor way to piss away that sort of money, especially when I can have door-to-door fibre optic for less.

    I think most people would prefer to keep the money in their pockets and fuck HS2.

    That’s got my vote.

  2. NickM says:

    JG, Well, Iive in South Manchester and it will make no positive difference to me. I’ll have to go into Manchester rather than Stockport to get to London and I’m suppossed to be served by this? It currently takes about 2hrs on the Virgin for me to get to London. So a few minutes time saving matters not a jot compared to the connection times because like most folks I might see I don’t do business in either “Manchester” or “London”. I do business or visit people in say Gorton or Southwick. It is epic wank.

  3. RAB says:

    Er… How fuckin sad do you have to be to even contemplate writing a history of the Poll Tax, let alone actually fuckin writing one?

    The HS2 is what politicians do when they want to feel BIG and doing things. No matter that they havent got a clue about economics or anything else. They still buy into the Infrastructure Keynesian con. In bad times and slow times build something big that will last and cost oodles of money and employ some folks for a while, but will ultimately be a white elephant. You might as well employ one crew of people to dig ditches today and another crew to fill them in tomorrow. But that’s politicians for you folks, repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Politicians have memories worse than Goldfish.

    Local Councils apparently now earn more of their money from parking fines, speed cameras and other neo-nazi wheezes, than they do from the Council Tax and Govt top ups. And still the bins are only emptied once a fortnight, and only if you’ve shut the lid properly, and only if you’ve put your re-cycling into the right coloured box and… Well we know the truth don’t we boys and girls? All that carefully seperated and selected and inspected re-cycling goes straight into one big skip down at the council tip and gets shipped off to China for landfill (probably filling in the holes that rare metals extraction has left making our Wind Turbines). They’re havin a Giraffe aint they?

  4. NickM says:

    Yeah, but Andy Adonis did write that book. And yeah it is undeniably epic wank.

    I recently read this…

    When the SS Athenia was torpedoed and sunk during the first hours of World War II, James Goodson survived-and vowed to become an RAF pilot even though he was an American. This is his story, from the first day of the war to the last, of how he became one of history’s leading fighter aces.

    “Tumult in the Clouds” is available from Amazon and everywhere else. Christ knows about the book by Lord Adonis! I don’t. Dismal twat he is.

    James Goodson, amongst other crates, flew a P-51 (in which he racked-up most of of his kills). Top ‘fella. Top Gun. Almost. He was only the second top scocer for the USAAF in the ETO. Of course the highest US tally was P-38 Lightning pilot Dick Bong.

  5. Roue le Jour says:

    Politics is objectively an intra-class struggle between two middle class factions. It has fuck all to do with anyone else. A sensible society would ban it.

  6. NickM says:

    Roue, you appreciate that is potential QOTD fodder?

  7. John Galt says:

    Certainly hard to disagree with Roue.

  8. Schrodinger's Dog says:


    Agree with your comments about HS2. But do you really want the state to be involved with high-tech projects, whether it be the Fairey Rotodyne or the Skylon? Really? After all, state involvement has probably put back progress by decades in three areas of human endeavour: nuclear power, supersonic flight and space exploration. Unfortunately, all three have military implications, so state involvement was probably inevitable.

    To begin with, state involvement can seem beneficial. Working at NASA in the 1960s must have been great: government (i.e., taxpayer) money is flowing in and things are happening far more quickly they would otherwise. Then the problems start. First there are the cost overruns, which seem to be inevitable on government projects. Then the grumblings from the public start about the waste of money – and, after all, they are paying for all of it. Finally, there are the politicians. The NASA people doubtless saw the Apollo programme as the start of of a sustained, ongoing exploration of space. In due course there would be a manned space station, bases on the Moon and manned missions to Mars. The politicians, though, had other ideas: they simply wanted a man on the Moon. (More to the point, they wanted a man on the Moon before the Soviets.) When that goal had been achieved, the money spigot was duly turned-off, with the results we all know. In 1960 not even the most optimistic space enthusiast would have thought there would be men on the Moon before 1970; in 1972 not even the most pessimistic would have thought there would be a 41 year (and counting) hiatus on manned lunar exploration.

    The same holds for supersonic aviation. The original proposal for the Concorde was made in 1956: a time when the only people to have flown at mach two were a few military pilots – and even they had only done it for a few minutes at a time. To go from that to a hundred person passenger plane capable of crossing the Atlantic at mach two was terribly premature, with dire long-term results: the result was an engineering marvel, but an economic disaster. Had you told someone in 1963 that, fifty years hence, there would be no supersonic passenger aircraft flying anywhere, he would probably not have believed you.

    Fortunately, both spaceflight and supersonic aviation now seem to be getting back on track, thanks to private organisations using their own, or investors’, money. Virgin Galactic, and others, will shortly be offering suborbital flights to the seriously rich. Doubtless orbital flights will follow, while costs will fall – as they always do with private businesses. Elsewhere, people are working on supersonic business jets holding 12-15 people, which is how engineering should be done: start small, learn from your mistakes and scale up.

    Ultimately, you just might get your wish. In fifty years time Bristol Filton might have been renamed Bristol International Spaceport; it might be possible to buy a ticket from there for a two-hour flight to Melbourne, or for a flight to the Moon. But, if it happens, it will have been due to the inventiveness of private enterprise.

    Keep the state out of it.

  9. RAB says:

    Nope, no Filton Spaceport, the small minds have won again. And to think I saw a Vulcan doing it’s thing out of my bedroom window flying from there( I can see Filton from my house) .

    On 14 April 2011, BAE Systems, the owners of Filton airport, announced that the airfield was to close at the end of 2012,[6] and were seeking to redevelop the site, an announcement which attracted local press attention and public debate involving various local groups. A local non-party-political pressure group called the “Save Filton Airfield” campaign was formed to oppose to the plans.[7] BAE’s decision was due to the lack of economic viability in keeping the runway open for their interests.[8]

    During the autumn of 2012, BAE systems confirmed the closure of the airfield. All operations on the airfield ceased on 21 December with a final closure on 31 December.[9]

    The police helicopter and the Great Western Air Ambulance are based at the airport. Both helicopters are remaining at Filton after the airfield closure.[10]

    The land of Filton Airport was sold for £120 million with intentions of building an aviation museum which will also house Concorde and a new housing development. Bridgehouse Capital Limited, a property developer, owns the site. The company expects to build 2,500 homes on the site of the former airfield.[11][12] In January 2013, the runway was made unserviceable by breaking up its su

  10. Paul Marks says:

    Interesting post – and interesting comments.

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