319 comments posted · 1 followers · following 0

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Shapps has spotted a o... · 1 reply · +1 points

Yes, of course the £170bn is for the lifetime of the project. That's why I wrote 'the total bill'.

But how is it justified? What public demand is there for the project? Anyone who has spent years travelling from the south to the north on business will know that the existing services are perfectly adequate.

It's the commuter lines into the main cities, in both north and south, that are the real issue.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Shapps has spotted a o... · 5 replies · +1 points

If the Government were pragmatic, it would scrap HS2.

On 4 November The Times reported that the total bill for HS2 could be £170bn.

Over the years, there have been various justifications for HS2, the latest being that it is primarily for business travellers.

But, in the age of zoom, what demand will there really be for overpriced rail tickets when you can have a meeting via a computer at your desk?

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Shapps has spotted a o... · 1 reply · +1 points

Spot on. It is difficult to take Shapps seriously when he pops up on TV or the radio. The same goes for dubious Jenrick.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Johnson's 50:50 target... · 1 reply · +1 points

British Government Gilts (the mechanism by which we borrow on world markets) are essentially a pledge. The purchaser buys in the expectation that the interest payments that are enshrined in the offer will be paid annually during the life of the Gilt plus the repayment of the initial capital when the Gilt reaches maturity.

It would be interesting to see how a Boris Johnson pledge, offered to the market in the same way as a Gilt issue, would fare.

Would there be many buyers?

Well, perhaps the Finance Minister of a Latin American Republic. Or perhaps the mayor of a small town in Montenegro.

One can’t see the queues being very long….

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The conditions under w... · 2 replies · +1 points

But why are flu rates so mysteriously low this year?

And if the lockdown measures are keeping flu rates low, then why are hospital admissions attributable to Covid not being supressed to a similar degree?

The Government really needs to be transparent and publish a time series of monthly death rates over, say, a five-year period showing UK deaths by reason for death with both flu and Covid as separate categories.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Iain Dale: Yes to what... · 0 replies · +1 points

“Communication is everything in modern government, You can have the best policies in the history of politics, but if no one knows about them, or if the Opposition succeed in their attempts to portray them negatively, it’s all for nothing.”

No, the reverse is true. If you have no policies, then you have nothing to communicate and the public will dismiss what you say as empty spin and stop listening.

Even worse, if you try to communicate policies that clearly have not been thought through, as with the Housing Planning White Paper, then you will lose seats on local councils when the inevitable backlash comes.

Furthermore, you will be seen as both clueless for having suggested half-baked plans and weak when you have to U-turn.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The conditions under w... · 4 replies · +1 points

I spoke to a friend in Manchester yesterday evening. Given the number of hospital admissions due to Covid shown on a chart at the Downing Street press conference yesterday, I had expected her to say that Manchester’s hospitals were running out of capacity. She had seen nothing in the news locally to suggest this.

Could it be that deaths from flu are being counted as Covid deaths?

I long ago stopped trusting the data shown at Downing Street press conferences. What we are never allowed to see is the context of overall UK death rates from various causes this year versus previous years.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister said yesterday that 200,000 tests had been carried out in Liverpool. The relevant number surely should be the number of people who have been tested, because it is evident that more than one test is used on a person during testing.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: Mixed messages.... · 0 replies · +1 points

Johnson looked like a tired newsreader, blundering through the script he had been given without really understanding it.

As usual, he couldn't wait to hand over to Chris Whitty.

We need a competent prime minister who challenges the scientists and publishes the data transparently.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Dan Rosenfield is John... · 1 reply · +1 points

But really how much is an endorsement from Osborne worth? Osborne had virtually no real life business experience before being appointed Chancellor.by Cameron. He only got the job because he was a chum of Cameron's. Osborne was hardly a successful Chancellor. Ken Clarke was a vastly more competent Chancellor of the Exchequer.

1 year ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Dan Rosenfield is John... · 1 reply · +1 points

There is a very limited talent pool. At least IDS might serve as a caretaker for a few months while there is a proper - and short - leadership campaign. IDS, I am sure, has the humility to understand his own limitations and to listen to sound advice, unlike Johnson. The best case scenario is that then Hunt would take over. Anything is better than the witless buffoon we currently have as PM.