Kevin Maguire is Leading Britain's Conversation.
3 October 2016, 13:13
James O'Brien Makes The Case For HS2
James O'Brien tries to make the objective case for HS2, despite the "epic" cost of the rail project.
The issue of HS2 is a divisive one, but James O'Brien tries to make an objective case for spending the "epic amount of cash" the project requires.
"It's like getting an upgrade on your computer, or your Sky TV," argued James.
Costing £55billion, HS2 will be the fastest train line in Europe, but also the most expensive when it is finally built.
"It's about taking what you've currently got and spending a serious amount of cash on making it work better, making it work faster and making it work at a much greater capacity.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: if they were going to tear down my house to build it, I'm sure I'd see things differently. But it looks like you take an epic amount of cash and you spend it on infrastructure. Infrastructure, you know? Not sandwiches and beer."
But it's not a black and white issue, as James admitted: "I'm naive.
"I don't understand in a global market, I don't understand why in the 21st Century, why necessarily bodies being able to move across the country is the future.
"Increasingly, we're supposed to be using technology to communicate with each other. The fact that we need a new runway at Heathrow and a whopping great trainline running through the middle of the country, suggests that future is still a long way off."