Whatever else one says about him, London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has one thing going for him, and that is that he is a man of unshakeable principle. That’s principle, folks, as in The Principle Of More and Bigger Paycheques For Himself Personally Now, and the equal principle of garnering sufficient adulation from a gullible public to further climb the greasy pole.
Er, yes ... no ... maybe ... oo-er readers!
So when it comes to the HS2 project, Bozza has swayed from a “yes, but” scepticism to what looked at the time like downright hostility. By doing this he no doubt assuaged the anxieties of those whose homes would be on or near the line of route, while encouraging the antis to think that they really had one of the biggest political beasts in their corner.
Thus it was that back in July 2011, the BBC was reporting that Bozza “has criticised plans for the HS2 high-speed rail link in a letter to a campaigner”. He told that “While I have expressed support for a high speed rail network in the past my support is conditional on a number of specific criteria. The proposal now being consulted on does not reflect these conditions and is inadequate for a number of reasons”.
So he was not convinced. The following January he was just as hostile, as reported by Andrew “Transcription Error” Gilligan: “there are important aspects of HS2 which are not right. There is no point spending this much on something which doesn’t work properly. The business case needs to be properly made out”. However, it has to be said that Gilligan likes to put forward a hostile viewpoint.
But he was still at it only a month and a half ago, as the Telegraph reported TfL head man Peter Hendy saying “These are big issues on which the Mayor needs to be satisfied with the Government and without that satisfaction then it’s not a good project for London ... HS2 are being very attentive but there’s the implied threat that if they don’t meet those conditions then the Mayor might not support it”.
What a difference a few weeks, and a likely telling-off from Young Dave and his jolly good chaps, has made: Bozza’s column in today’s Maily Telegraph shows no such reservations on HS2, just effusive praise for the idea, with scorn poured liberally over anyone of faint heart. British efforts on High Speed Rail are compared unfavourably with the achievements of the Chinese.
“One way or another, we are going to need HS2” he asserts, comparing the need for the new line with that for the first Crossrail link now being built. All doubt is swept away, and there is no mention of past reservations or scepticism. Bozza has once again demonstrated his ability to detect the prevailing wind and bend his views to suit. And that means tough titty for Londoners living along the HS2 route.
That’s how high Bozza’s principles really are. So no change there, then.