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Tuesday 15 February 2011

TPA – High Speed But No Progress

There is, out there in cyberspace, a small area where a heated debate is raging. Sadly for those producing most of the heat, not very many others have noticed. Welcome to the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) and their increasingly shrill campaign against High Speed Rail.

As I mentioned recently, the TPA have failed to address three key points in their attack on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project: more network capacity for freight traffic, the fatuous use of the Eurostar service as a comparator, and their inability to assess HS2 in its entirety. There is at least one further issue that the TPA has ignored, and I will consider that later.

In the meantime, TPA non-job holder Charlotte Linacre has put together a “holding” post in the TPA’s “Campaign” strand. That strand has the strapline “Fighting For Taxpayers’ Interests”, which is routinely fraudulent, as the TPA do not speak for 99.9% of them: they are the ultimate in unelected busybodies.

In the sights of Ms Linacre is Greengauge21, which the TPA calls a “taxpayer funded lobby group”. A word in your shell-like, Charlotte: the TPA is a lobby group, and would be much more credible if it were as transparent about its funding as Greengauge21.

Ms Linacre asserts that there has been “a lot of support” for the TPA “campaign”, but manages to cite just one MP, whose constituency is on the proposed HS2 route, and a local paper. She cites the TPA’s “rail expert” Chris Stokes, and the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) pundit Bruce Weston separately, but Stokes’ copy is hosted by HS2AA: they are effectively one and the same.

So much for the apparently wide coalition fighting for taxpayers’ interests, and their less than comprehensive coverage of the issues. Moreover, as I noted earlier, there is yet another issue that the TPA have not addressed, and that mainly concerns the town of Northampton.

I’ll post on that later.

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