Political vanity projects usually have certain shared facets: a missing – or invalid – business case and massive over-runs in costs and timescale are almost endemic.
Our Holyrood parliament building fiasco is a prime example, soon to be eclipsed by the Edinburgh tram folly, whose futility will be finally exposed once its mini-system is in operation.
Ensuing debts will prevent the promised extension(s) from ever proving viable.
There is still time, given an unlikely outbreak of uncommon sense among politicians, to avert the looming superblunder known as HS2, the proposed countryside-devouring fast rail line to shave some minutes off the London to Birmingham run (with similarly improbable promised extensions).
I’ve read that the present services are far from fully stretched, with many trains running at under 50 per cent of capacity, so it would be helpful if the government actually sought public approval before proceeding further with the plan.
A first step towards that democratic gesture would be to publish accurate data showing current usage levels on the route. Unless a clear and urgent need can be demonstrated, any available finance should be directed at more general rail services.