VeryVeryVeryCrossrail: A rant about Crossrail plans to put a rail link across London.

Yet again stupid, arrogant politicians are treating the rest of the country like it doesn’t exist while bloody London gets all the cake and eats it too. Damn, it makes me mad.

£16 billion is going to be spent putting a rail line across London so that people in East London can get to West London, and people in West London can get to East London. No prizes for guessing where the majority of politicians have homes, eh? Yep. East London. Or West London. Whoop-de-bloody-do.

Of course, this is Britain so the whole thing is really going to cost around £60 billion, most of the private investors will pull out/be taken over/sell out so the majority of the bill is going to be paid for out of our taxes, and it’s going to be 175 years late.

The reason, they say, is because “London is the financial heart of the country, and needs a 1st class transport network”. That would be true, if the rest of the country had so much as a 3rd class transport network, let alone a second class one. We have overpriced, poorly scheduled trains, a laughable bus network and precious little else to be proud of when it comes to letting people get from A to B. Where they exist, the city Tram services are excellent – Sheffield’s tram service is wonderful – so that proves just what can be done.

Let’s put this into context, shall we?

I’m assuming they’re using the (incorrect) US billion which is a thousand-million rather than the far superior (but rarer) UK billion, which is a million-million.

£60 billion (the likely end cost) works out to about £7,000 per family of three or more in the UK. That’s enough to provide every single family in the country with a free small car, and every single child a free bike. Or provide enough petrol for each family to travel 70,000 miles. For most families, that’s almost 6 years’ of free motoring.

Or provide every single person on the planet with a free rail travel card that’s usable for the next five years.

Even if we accept the base “cost” of £16 billion (yeh, right), that could pay for 10,000 nurses for the next 80 years. And that’s assuming the nurses earned £20k/year. Which they don’t.

Or £16 billion could put 8,000 Centres across the country to provide youth clubs, activities, education and homes to the people who need it the most. That’s with a build cost of £1 million each, and £1 million to cover running costs for the next ten years. Each. That’s enough for one in every village and town across the country. Sod bloody London. This is a better way to spend the money.

I wonder how many non-London folks heard the news and thought “Ah, what a great idea. That’s just what this country needs! Well done Gordon Brown!”

Not many, I’ll wager.

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