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  1. Wealth
May 20, 2013

The Conservative side of the coalition is crumbling

By Spear's

The party that is meant to conserve the countryside is driving its unnecessary high-speed train-set straight through it

One starts with HS2, the high-speed cross-country railway, which starts service in twenty years’ time, as the slow-speed Transport secretary says that ‘Britain must win the race to the future.’ What – starting in twenty year’s time? By getting to Manchester an hour quicker than now? You might as well use Fergie’s hairdryer – he doesn’t need it any more to blow away the opposition.

Any allowance for the inevitable project delays, and cost over-runs? (HS1 needed £10 billion of taxpayers’ money to finish it, with no return of income, or capital so far, and none in sight).

Don’t even ask if the rolling-stock will be made in the UK: you must be joking! Siemens from Germany and Alsthom from France will be fighting down the EU one-way public procurement super-highway … to their future, not ours.

Funding gap

Then the National Audit Office says that the starting date is over-ambitious and the funding gap is £3.3 billion – whoops. Then the Spending Review Board says there’s no detail behind the claim that it will create 100,000 jobs, or where, or in what businesses – sloppy. We all know where the jobs will be created – in already over-crowded London.

And the party that is meant to conserve the countryside is driving its unnecessary high-speed train-set straight through a sacrosanct and designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – just the sort of anti-social thing that Tony Blair would have exulted in doing.

This party – the one that promoted the wider ownership of privately-owned houses – now plans to knock down 10,000 of them, adding nicely to the housing problem.

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And all the while the PM refuses to decide about the real problem – air transport – between Heathrow or the Eastern Flatlands, which everyone agrees is urgent for Britain’s economy and employment prospects – that’s real jobs for the future.

Instead he goes to America, and was last seen running around with the redoubtable billiards-stripping Prince Harry on a red London double-decker bus, drumming up the tourist trade, but there soon won’t be an airport big enough for them to land here; whereupon they’ll have to land at Schiphol or Charles de Gaulle, or parachute in like HM QEII in 2012.

Headless chickens

Meanwhile, back at home his Conservatives are running around like headless chickens over the huge splits in their ranks caused by Euro-divisions and the inevitable rise of UKIP.

Many are terrified that Nigel Farage is about to eat their lunch; others, somehow, have convinced themselves that the UK doesn’t have a future outside the clearly crumbling EU; and others can’t even understand what all the fuss is about – including the PM.

He blandly promises a referendum in 2017, whenever that is in Euro-time. Nobody has bought that idea, as he promised a referendum in writing on the Lisbon Treaty, a promise which he did not keep. So now he’s supporting a Referendum Bill, knowing full well that there will not be sufficient parliamentary time in this parliament to allow it to be debated.

Death wish

There is now a death wish surrounding this Coalition: the only thing holding it together is Iain Duncan Smith’s Welfare Bill, to be debated this Autumn.

Next year’s June, however, sees the Euro-elections, and it is now distinctly possible that the Coalition will split before then, as the Lib-Dems, like Old Labour, want in the EU, but the Conservatives don’t know what they want. Expect Nigel Farage to eat all their lunches at this rate, or at least help himself to most of them.

Meanwhile, Farage has taken the debate on Scottish secession from the UK into Scotland, and has so alarmed the pro-EU atrophied political debate up there that only a rent-a-mob of hooligans – in the name of the Radical Independence Party whose Liam O’Hare labelled him as a racist! – was their sole response to his presence in their midst, while the Conservatives and Old Labour were nowhere to be seen. At this rate, he’ll soon end up helping himself to their wretched haggises too.

Read more from Stephen Hill

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