One million jobs claim is a disgrace

A few weeks ago I wrote in my Rail column (http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2011/08/rail-676-dishonest-arguments-by-both-pro-and-anti-hs2/)  about the dishonest arguments being pushed by both sides in the debate over HSR. While the antis had certainly been a bit dishonest with the evidence from surveys, by far the most outlandish claim was from the Campaign for High Speed Rail which claimed that the line would create 1m new jobs.

As I wrote at the time, this was patent nonsense, based on an analysis by Volterra the consulting arm which said nothing of the sort. Instead it suggested that the creation of a high speed line might, if various other conditions were fulfilled, support that number of jobs, but even then the analysis was thin and tendentious in the extreme. However, even though the clear error has been pointed out to them, the Campaign continues to use on its website a banner saying that the line will create 1m new jobs.

It has not responded either to my article or to emails I have sent the campaign. Putting out such false claims is, ultimately, an own goal and it is time the Campaign started presenting honest evidence in its cause, rather than what is basically a lie.

  • It does seem rather unlikely. I suspect the truth is that neither side of the argument really has much idea what the effects on the economy might be, just as the traffic forecasts for this (and all other projects) are basically guesswork.

  • Lizzylouise

    Well said Christian. If only people could act professionally and honestly but then I think this Government would be out of a job! Both sides could do better but it is not, I feel fair, to brand both as guilty as each other. The Yes campaign are backed by promoters and money and the No campaign is far too disparate to tar them all with the same brush. Will be interesting to see how the debate goes today.

  • Percy

    They don’t need hard facts, just spin and soundbites after all they’ve got the Great God Waterman onboard, When the Arthur Daley of the Midlands & North West England  popped up on channel four news, I thought why hasnt your bestie Jon Snow  invited you to de construct Pete Watermans arguments instead of the bloke from the stophs2 campaign, he just couldnt cut it against Mr. Bombastic.

  • Ian Raymond

    Good point Christian. As a professional researcher I despair when I see data from my work blatantly taken out of context. Yes, I’m pro-HS2 but unreliable facts help no-one (and may sour the pot for any future investments). Then again, when it comes to transport, why should we be surprised? Misleading data was used to underpin many areas in this realm, from the Beeching Report to CoBA behind motorways to current aviation policy…

    Ian

  • Matt

    In the words of a 20th politician (any guesses?)

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep
    repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be
    maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from
    the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus
    becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to
    repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus
    by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Actually inflating the results of research to back one’s position is not the preserve of the HS2 campaign.

    I remember another example of this, this time with regard to Cycle England

    http://www.christianwolmar.co.uk/2010/09/cycling-england-on-list-of-quangos-to-be-abolished/#respond

  • Tom

    Clearly your ‘mate’ Nigel needs a new battery in his hearing aid………given his level of support for HS2. 

  • Anonymous

    And suppose for a minute there IS a million jobs created – say – and the next question is where exactly will these jobs be created?  The other counter-argument to HS2 is that it will centralise the economy even more in London now that it is easier to commute there.

  • Paul Holt

    I found this lecture on the subject fascinating: http://www.theiet.org/local/uk/east/essex/events/2011-2012/121011-high-speed2.cfm

    I hope CW is familar with Professor Andrew McNaughton.

  • Bernard Segal

    Christian,
    Has Chiltern  chosen which locomotives are to be selected to push/pull the Mk 3 rakes for the London/Birmingham scheduled  journey.As there are no immediate Government plans for electrification out of Marylebone in the near future,does this imply that  the traction units will be existing Diesel/Electrics that provided traction power on the Shrewsbury run?
    Personally,I use Chiltern Lines both for local commuting,and long distance,and am pleased with their approach to Customer Service.
    Regards,
    Bernard Segal,
    Harrow,M’sx.

Shares