I see, a little belatedly, that you cited my calculation that it would take the PM’s aide Dominic Cummings 6,000 hours to find the ideal genius or weirdo if he were to spend ten minutes on each of the 35,000 applications, of which I am one (In Passing LTT 7 Feb).
So far so good but I am then cited as applying as a genius. That is a mistake. I applied as a weirdo – so weird that I believe that applying the rules of arithmetic to national statistics should inform policy. Doing that produces the following startling results, (references are on www.transport-watch.co.uk):
If the Poorhouse of the North wants to become a Power House – take the tracks off its vast, costly and substantially disused rail network and convert them to roads. It’s obvious. Despite that, and the fact that rail carries less than two per cent of the region’s passenger journeys (Topic 35), Transport for the North expects to spend tens of billions of pounds on rail.
All very weird, but Frances Cairncross, writing as the economics editor of The Guardian in 1974, had the answer as to why the railway bandwagon rolls on. She wrote “...when trains are still the theme of nursery rhymes and children’s stories, it is small wonder that the railways have a romantic fascination for most adults. Only years of nursery conditioning can explain the calm with which the public has accepted a bill of £3,000m (£24bn at 2016 prices) to subsidise British Rail over the last decade.”
Railway enthusiasts will be relieved to know that Dominic has not contacted me yet.
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