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Monday 19 October 2020

Dylan Sharpe, High Speed Hypocrite

Westminster watchers may have noticed that one well-known SpAd had disappeared from the scene last year: Dylan Sharpe, famous mainly for sending unsolicited topless images to several women in media and politics who didn’t want to see them and then playing the victim afterwards, used to be at 10 Downing Street. But not any more.

Where he might have gone is not initially easy to discern: his LinkedIn profile currently ends with his departure from Downing Street in July last year, after Theresa May resigned as PM and was succeeded by alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

Perhaps his previous berths would give a clue as to what kind of career direction he might favour? There was, after all, his time at Big Brother Watch, a campaign associated with the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance, a group opposed to any kind of publicly funded infrastructure projects, like, oh I dunno, HS2 for instance.

Sharpe also spent more than three years at the Murdoch Sun, where he was Head of PR and a leader writer. We know what the Sun thinks of major public infrastructure projects - after all, this is the paper that announced only last January that “Boris Johnson needs to pull the plug on the obscenely expensive HS2 line before it’s too late”. There was more.

That was when the budget was a ‘mere’ £34billion and the business argument seemed plausible. It is now more than three times that figure and counting [no it isn’t]. That is an obscene and reckless sum for a railway much of the country doesn’t want, whose case now looks shot and which won’t be finished until 2040. Who knows what our transport needs will be by then with, say, driverless cars [which aren’t coming]”.

As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. What does Sharpe think of those big ticket infrastructure projects like HS2? We don’t need to look far to find out. This is what he wrote for the HuffPost in 2012: “There have always been those opposed to progress. But we're not talking about the Galileo or the Industrial Revolution here - we're talking about 40 minutes off the journey between London and Birmingham - at a cost of £17 billion of public money! And, when no-one can be quite sure of the scheme's success, it does all seem like a little too high a price to pay”. You know where he’s working now?

As Cilla used to say, shall we have a look and find out? Next month, Sharpe celebrates the first anniversary of his appointment asHead of Media Relations” by, er, HS2 Limited. That’s the project that he’s been fervently opposed to - until they gave him a job.

Opinions can always be flexible - providing enough money changes hands.

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