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Green Issues, Northern Rock, The Government

spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
edited April 2008 in Campaign
Didn't the government happily bail out Northern Rock for at least this sum?

I'm also ignoring the economic benefits of all the construction jobs to be created by such a scheme

THE man responsible for Britain’s railways is to launch a study into the possibility of high-speed trains passing through the North East, as experts warn the rail system is at risk of stagnating.

Network Rail boss Iain Coucher wants the Government to drop its reluctance to expand a high-speed route north and is ready to commission research into two new lines.

Yet despite an ever-increasing number of experts telling the Government it has to act now, transport planners have refused to invest in the next generation of rail travel.

And the Department of Transport has been told it must drop its reluctance to expanding the UK’s only high-speed line, the Eurostar route.

Mr Coucher’s proposals for High Speed 2 and 3 would see trains travelling from London to Scotland up both sides of the country.

The 200mph trains network would cost more than £50bn to complete and could be operational by 2020.


Mr Coucher has previously warned MPs that the current train network is about to reach maximum capacity and needs serious levels of investment to continue efficiently past 2015.

He is now urging Government transport planners to start the lengthy process of building a new railway. Mr Coucher said: “Not just High Speed 2, but High Speed 3, maybe even High Speed 4, that’s where we need to be by 2020. There is demand building up today.

“We’ll now sit down, working with the train-operating companies, to come up with ideas about where we think it should go and what it should look like.”

Mr Coucher told MPs it was important they start planning as soon as possible.

His plans will bring him into conflict with the Department of Transport which has refused to start detailed considerations for a new rail network until 2012 at the earliest.

The Network Rail study comes as the House of Commons transport select committee heard evidence from rail experts criticising the Government for failing to match European train standards.

Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, yesterday told the committee: “This was a golden opportunity that has been missed again by the Government. Our European counterparts recognise the benefits of such a line. You only have to look to Spain where they spent £15bn on a new high-speed line to see what we should be doing.”

Also giving evidence was Peter Rayner, an expert on railway operations and safety, who dismissed the Government’s transport strategy and warned the system was at risk of stagnating. He said: “I don’t think this is a paper that helps the railway at all, this is a paper that aims to preserve the status quo.”

Tyne Bridge MP David Clelland, who sits on the committee, said a change in the Government’s stance could be on the way.

He said: “I don’t think they are now dismissing the idea out of hand.

“It’s obviously not at the top of their agenda, and I certainly think they could be a lot more enthusiastic about this, but there is a Green Paper on the way and hopefully Government ministers are slowly coming round to this.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said the issue of High Speed would be looked at again when the Government begins to prepare its next long-term strategy by 2012.
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  • Your also ignoring the 5 or 6 other banks that were lined up to crack had Northern Rock folded.

    The rumours are that its only the intervention of the European Central Bank and The Fed that are keeping a couple of medium-sized banks afloat.
  • Are you also ignoring the fact that a bank collapsing would have a catasrphic effect on the economy, leading to runs on other banks, an imploding economy, general strikes, rioting, civil disorder or civil war..................

    anyway about those trains....
  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    This is a subject about which I have a particularly strong opinion, so I will try and keep it short.

    Basically, the phased development of high speed rail lines, like the french TGV network, is seen by many as essential to combating this country's transport problems. The vast majority of the rail industry want it to go ahead, as do most of the UK's regional governments. It ticks all of the right boxes as it encourages urban regeneration in city centres, reduces rail overcrowding, road congestion and domestic flights, and even pays for itself within a couple of decades.

    In fact, the only people who aren't in favour are the government, but this is through short term bean counting and incompotence. The more one reads about the proposed schemes and their projected benefits the more one has to question what planet the DfT are living on, especially when we see that every other western European country is rolling them out.

    There's plenty of information available on this website: http://www.greengauge21.net/
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • The government is so into green issues which IMO is not a bad thing. But don't they know the reason why it is so important for us to keep selling more stuff to ourselves that we don't really need is because there is debt to be paid and not enough money to cover it.

    It is suggested that fractional reserve banking invents money and charges interest on it yet the money to pay the interest is _not_ invented. So we have to compete to sell each other junk that does not last and has to be thrown away before we hand over some more money for the same junk. To do this we have to dig stuff up, burn stuff, fill up the land with junk etc..

    What has GB's policy been for the last 10 years? Borrow money and spend it on junk to prop up the nation. Its already done far more damage than his policies can reverse.

    NB - Improved rail links would be a great thing. It is just the kind of thing that public money is supposed to be spent on. It benefits the whole population and it is the population that would be paying for it. Instead we have bailed out a few greedy fly-by-night people who messed things up for themselves. The decision makers there who made the mistakes have probably left the country already.
  • Are you also ignoring the fact that a bank collapsing would have a catasrphic effect on the economy, leading to runs on other banks, an imploding economy, general strikes, rioting, civil disorder or civil war..................

    anyway about those trains....

    Isn't it great then that these organisation who apparently have the ability to destroy our country are able to behave so irresponsibly.

    If we just bail them out when they mess up then why would they care less? It must be great being one of these managers. It does not matter if you completely c*ck things up, you will be paid millions to leave. Its a no loose situation.
  • It must be great being one of these managers. It does not matter if you completely c*ck things up, you will be paid millions to leave. [/quote]

    Just out of interest, who was paid millions to leave, and by whom?
  • It must be great being one of these managers. It does not matter if you completely c*ck things up, you will be paid millions to leave.

    Just out of interest, who was paid millions to leave, and by whom?[/quote]

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/20299a76-9875 ... fd2ac.html

    Although not quite millions if you look around further you will see that he was awarded £380K pay-off when he left. A substantial amount of money for anyone.

    As these organisations make their profits from loaning money its easy to see how they would like to loan as much as anyone wants to who ever wants it. I don't think these people care about anyone but themselves and clearly they have the ability to sink us so I think its unbelievable that they could do things that are so risky. But again if we are there to put things right after then why would they behave any more responsibly? Its great for them, they get to charge interest on anything they can loan and keep all the profit for themselves while the risk is picked up by us.

    Now it looks like a downturn is upon us and right when we need to be spending we are left paying interest. You can bet a organisation as financially aware as a bank does not get landed with a large tax bill. So all our salaries are being sucked into a black hole instead of aiding our nation. Again just when we need it.
  • graham_ggraham_g Posts: 652
    Couldn't agree more with many of the sentiments here, glad I'm not alone. I've spent 10 years eligible to vote and couldn't bring myself to vote labour at any point, firstly for breaking pre-'97 election/manifesto pledges and later for the piss poor, old fashioned Labour spending spree and unsustainably bloated public sector. The only thing left to astound me is that people are only just waking up to the string of near decade old decisions/poliicies which have led us here when it was all too clear 5+ years ago.

    Planning for the future (sensibly!) is evidently not something politicians feel the need to practise.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    "Couldn't agree more with many of the sentiments here,....... , old fashioned Labour spending spree and unsustainably bloated public sector."

    But most of the sentiments here surely clearly demand a much greater spending spree than that with which you appear to disagree!

    Public infrastructure =s public expenditure =s a more redistributive taxation structure. I will no longer vote Labour because of its total surrender to the rich. It acts as if the class war is over. It ain't.
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,914
    All together now..
    " ...we'll keep the red flag flying high"
    If my wife and I weren't being taxed so highly, Income Tax, NI, Council Tax, Fuel Duty, VAT, then we'd quite happily spend the money on a cleaner, someone to do the ironing, get the outside of the house repainted.
    Get the idea?
    Bollocks to this twaddle about "A more redistributive tax system" you obviously have no memory of the 70's. Who are you going to redistribute the money to and how?
    There's billions of pounds sloshing about the system, being wasted by being passed through dozens of unproductive "Public Employees"
    The whole damned lot should be privatised, it'd work better and cost less.
    The idiots in Government rob us blind, they're conning hundreds of thousands of young people, that they need to go to University, where they'll "earn" a worthless degree,. before (If they're lucky) get a job doing something that they could have done 3-5 years previously without acquiring a mountain of debt.
    No "spending spree" is needed, the money's there but it's not being used properly.
    This fat Jock Git sitting in Number 10 has not only been screwing us blind for 10 years, he's been borrowing so much it's unbelievable.
    How anyone couldn't see through Teflon Tony from the start is beyond me.
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • meagainmeagain Posts: 2,774
    "you obviously have no memory of the 70's"

    When the one statement which you put forward as fact is incorrect, then simply reinforces my disinclination to agree with the rest. So just for the record, in the '70s I was in my 20s and 30s. As the cliche goes, I don't remember the '60s so well (I WAS there), but the '70s - just fine.

    And how nice: less tax, you could have a serf and someone less deserving than you could die (well, serves 'em right, eh?).

    Wall, up and against spring to mind.
    d.j.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • Just out of interest, who was paid millions to leave, and by whom?

    Sorry to be a bit prickly there but its been revealed recently he got £750K

    I'm not convinced any government can do much. I'm not into party politics and just because I don't believe in GB does not make me a Tory either. I think there is more going on than politicians can effect. If we don't take out loans there will be no money left but still interest left to pay on the previous loans. If we take out too much things will go wrong for other reasons. Its a fine line.
  • pliptrotpliptrot Posts: 582
    The whole damned lot should be privatised, it'd work better and cost less.

    Do you know anything about the PFI? If so, I guess you wrote that Tuesday morning.
  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    The whole damned lot should be privatised, it'd work better and cost less.

    If you're referring to the railways how about "been there, tried that, didn't work"

    The costs associated with running the rail network have now stabilised at about three times more than what they were under British Rail before privatisation. British rail wasn't perfect by any means, but it was arguably the most efficient railway in Europe.

    I'm no socialist and I accept that a lot of industries work better in the private sector. That doesn't mean, however, that one can apply that Thatcherite ideology to everything in a one-size-fits-all form and expect it to work. A railway needs to be an integrated organisation to run properly and keep the costs down, which is why breaking BR up into 100 pieces made such a mess.

    The benefits of a railway also generally go well beyond the railway's balance sheet and the income from fares, so it will always need state subsidy. For this reason I would prefer that subsidy to go to a public sector organisation, rather than to a company that pays it on to private shareholders.
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,914
    The big censored -up with railway privatisation, was splitting the running of the track from the trains themselves.
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • mooromooro Posts: 419
    All together now..
    " ...we'll keep the red flag flying high"
    If my wife and I weren't being taxed so highly, Income Tax, NI, Council Tax, Fuel Duty, VAT, then we'd quite happily spend the money on a cleaner, someone to do the ironing, get the outside of the house repainted.

    Isnt the whole idea about general taxation that it benefits others in society, serving some collective good? In your society there wouldnt be governement, and as a result we woldnt have public goods such as infrastrucutre or defense. The first hint of economic downturn or less than 10% increases in the value of everybodies house and little Britain pops out the woodwork.

    Surely the whole problem with the 'private' banking system, suggests the Private Sector should not be held up as the ideal model to run major institutions on which society depends.
  • OffTheBackAdamOffTheBackAdam Posts: 1,914
    Whereas the current (And past?) Government's record on anything suggests that the Public Sector is the best?
    Remember that you are an Englishman and thus have won first prize in the lottery of life.
  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    Whereas the current (And past?) Government's record on anything suggests that the Public Sector is the best?

    There is no right answer, and it's wrong to make assumptions about either private or public sectors. Going back to the example of the railways, it was the idealistic assumption that the private sector was always more efficient that led to the disaster of privatisation in the first place. This came to a head following the Hatfield accident, the aftermath of which caused more severe disruption to the UK rail network than both world wars put together. British Rail as a public sector organisation was, actually, very efficient and very effective at what it did. It most certainly wasn't a British Steel or British Leyland.

    That said, one of the few success stories of rail privatisation has been the rail freight industry. The amount of freight travelling by rail has trebled since privatisation, and railfreight is now a profitable private sector business.

    It's important to be pragmatic, not idealistic. I believe that passenger rail, especially those services that require public subsidy, should be provided by publicly owned operators. That doesn't mean that privately owned operators such as freight and so-called "open access" passenger services shouldn't also be allowed to use the same infrastructure.
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
  • mooromooro Posts: 419
    It is fact that at the end if the 2nd world war, when infrastructure needed to be built, and in the 50s and 60s public sector firms were more productive than their private counterparts (London School of Economics Study). The problem is that in the 1970's they were restricted by being too close to central government and therefore used for political means - which is what we should avoid as management decisions arent taken in the best interests of the firm.

    If they were kept at arms length from government, as is the current structure for both Northern Rock and Transport for London (recently taking Metronet back into public control) then they can potentially perform better as is the case in France and Germany where they concentrate on running these public sector firms well. Nothing really wrong with public ownership, its just that we in Britain associate it with memories of what happened in the 1970s.
  • carlstonecarlstone Posts: 602
    With regards to the rail system: Tarmac all the rail lines and turn them into HGV/coach only routes starting with the main lines.

    With regards to Northern Rock: The governemnt had to intervene after some bad decisions were made on how to help the bank out initially. There has been a lot of huge amounts of money mentioned but the real figures of what it will eventually cost the taxpayer is much less if anything when you take into account what could have happened.

    With regards to this government and Gordon Brown: He has taken over a government as the world economies have hit a financial dip (cyclical and it will get better). The labour government didn't really expect to still be in power at this moment so policy made in the boom times to 'set up' a conservative government has backfired. Gordon Brown has no charisma and an annoying 'lip sucking' delivery, but should we hold any of the above against him (well perhaps the second point). I really don't think the conservatives offer me anything new/better.
  • ParkeyParkey Posts: 303
    carlstone wrote:
    With regards to the rail system: Tarmac all the rail lines and turn them into HGV/coach only routes starting with the main lines.

    Bad idea.

    Trains are far more energy efficient than coaches* because the coefficient of rolling friction is an order of magnitude lower for steel wheels on steel rails. Trains operate at much higher speeds than coaches. Trains load and unload much, much faster than coaches. Trains can run on electrical power produced from many sources including renewables and nuclear, coaches can't and have you seen the price of diesel recently? Electric trains can also brake regeneratively. Trains are more spacious and offer a much better ride quality. Passenger preference over the private car is much higher with trains than buses, as was found the last time a lot of railways were closed and replaced with buses - people just used cars instead.

    As the majority of rail users are people commuting to work, some over long distances. There would be an uproar when they found that, especially after loading and intermediate stops, their journey time to and from work had increased considerably. Frankly, if you were to set out with the intention to flood the roads with lots and lots of extra cars during the morning and evening rush hours this would be the best way to do it.

    *(Anyone who tries to argue otherwise isn't comparing representative passenger load factors. You can't sensibly compare the load factors of coach operators like National Express - who only run coaches when it's most commercially advantagous and pack people in like sardines when they do - to the rail network where there is the obligation to provide a full public service at all hours of the day.)
    "A recent study has found that, at the current rate of usage, the word 'sustainable' will be worn out by the year 2015"
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