In his recent review of the HS2 project Sir David Higgins advocated the removal of the proposed North London Rail link between HS2 and HS1 on the grounds that it would provide a relatively poor return (removing the need for a one stop tube journey) on an apparently unreasonably large proportion (£700m) of the total budget (£42.6bn) .
(Therefore HS2 – HS1 = £41.9bn)
Today, according to the HM Treasury website in the kind of pre-emptive news strike that has now become the norm, George Osborne will propose a third high speed railway for Britain. Depending on who you ask this “keynote speech” or “pre-election waffle” is either a reflection on the success of his government’s long term economic planning or an attempt to deflect attention from a reported six point deficit in the latest polls. The new line, already being referred to as HS3 would link Manchester and Leeds across the Pennines.
I’m not wanting to speculate on the intention of the speech and without knowing who the audience was (apart from all of us) it’s also difficult to speculate on which particular lock his keynotes were meant to open. But the event of the speech is interesting in its own right.
Academics are interested in the dissemination of research outcomes – it’s one of the measures that is used to assess their (institutional) income. And social scientists (probably all academics but I’ve been hanging out with the Geographers) are increasingly interested in creating visual artefacts as a method of dissemination. They’re also interested in the analysis of visual artefacts as a method. The presence of the same words in the two previous sentences allowed me to, quite lazily, conflate these two concepts whereas, somewhere along one of my many roads to many Damascii, I came to realise that obviously the two concepts are almost the opposite of each other.
Notwithstanding my successful resurrection from memory of the GREP function in my text editor (see Datafest-2013 for details) and the glorious time savings this produces considering the number of links generated (yes I think it was 1432) it was nevertheless time to have a word with myself. This fiddling with data around the margins of the study must stop!
But before then here is a temporary resting place to catch my breath before getting back into the parliamentary (af)fray.