Earlier this morning, while everyone was focused on the implosion of the Labour party, former work and pensions secretary Esther McVey decided it was the perfect moment to promote her campaign against High Speed 2.
A quick reminder of the route of the proposed high speed rail link. Phase One will run from London to Birmingham. Should Phase Two ever go ahead, it will split just beyond Birmingham to create a y-shaped network, with one arm running to Manchester and the other to Leeds.
The map McVey tweeted this morning suggests that she doesn’t know this. But that is, at worst, the seventh worst thing about the map, because, look:
Let’s look at that a big more closely:
Yep. How many things are wrong with it? Let’s count.
1) Manchester is not east of Leeds;
2) Leeds is not south of Birmingham;
3) Both Manchester and Leeds are further from London than Birmingham, rather than, as this map suggests, closer;
4) To get from London to Manchester you kind of have to pass Birmingham, Esther;
5) There is no railway line that runs from London to Leeds to Birmingham because that would be a really stupid way round, what with Leeds being quite a long way north of Birmingham;
6) Should the government decide to boost the north by scrapping Hs2 and improving east-west lines instead, those improved east-west lines will not cross the proposed route of HS2 Phase One because they are quite a long way to the north of it.
Okay I’m going to stop there and get back to staring at the flaming bin fire that we loving call the Labour party. But for the record, Esther: I’m not taking advice on transport policy from anyone who doesn’t know where Leeds is.
Jonn Elledge is editor of CityMetric and the assistant editor of the New Statesman. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.
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