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HS2 or gigabit internet?

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Should we fund HS2 or free gigabit internet connections to every household and business in the UK
HS2
12%
 12%  [ 1 ]
Free gigabit internet connections
62%
 62%  [ 5 ]
Something else
25%
 25%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 8

Awitt
1376807.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:10 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
Hmmm...

I attached a poll, but it doesn't seem to show up. Don't we do polls any more?

PDR


It's now visible to me, Sunday morning Aus time. Wasn't last night.

 
Brock
1376808.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:22 pm Reply with quote

Awitt wrote:
PDR wrote:
Hmmm...

I attached a poll, but it doesn't seem to show up. Don't we do polls any more?

PDR


It's now visible to me, Sunday morning Aus time. Wasn't last night.


Jenny kindly added it (post 1376785).

I'm not taking part in the poll because it sets up a false dichotomy. There isn't a pot of money that can be allocated either to HS2 or to free broadband provision. In fact I'm not sure whether this thread is meant to be about the case for scrapping HS2 or the case for providing free broadband. Both have their pros and cons but they're entirely separate debates.

 
barbados
1376809.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:37 pm Reply with quote

They are two separate things, but there is only a finite amount of money to carry out the capital projects.
You can’t increase one without finding money from somewhere else. So despite the suggestion that the question isn’t an either / or option, it can only ever be that.

 
Brock
1376810.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 4:56 pm Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
They are two separate things, but there is only a finite amount of money to carry out the capital projects.


Yes, but it's allocated via departmental budgets. HS2 is a DfT project, broadband provision is (I presume) DCMS. You can't just transfer money between Government departments like that.

If the Government were to scrap HS2, I imagine that ministers from all the spending departments would be bidding for a slice of the money saved. The Government would be very unlikely to give it all to one department.

 
Celebaelin
1376811.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 5:50 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
I'm not singling out the frost giants north of watford - I am suggesting that the need for ALL long distance mass travel will massively reduce. Businesses won't pay for people to physically travel for meetings unless you can show that it's actually necessary.

Necessity is relative - when you actually CAN'T travel and lay eyes on the situation then you'll make do with what can be done remotely and accept the assessments and opinions of others but this is not an ideal situation in the long term.

PDR wrote:
The goods and foodstuffs argument is a red herring, because such a small proportion of freight actually goes by train. The bottlenecks aren't the lack of HS provision (if you carried lots of freight on the HS services you'd have to throw the passengers off, and the HS services have very few stops which doesn't work for freight). The main bottleneck for freight from across the channel is the channel tunnel itself, and the limitations it imposes on container sizes.

As I have said both in this thread and others the significant contribution of HS2 to infrastructure is to free up the West Coast line for more freight traffic. In its initial stretch to Birmingham this will ease the load placed on the M6 in particular .

PDR wrote:
You seem to be equating the need for video with fatcat salaries - that's bollox! Many people on barely mean wages are in roles that have used video during lockdown.

'Have used' is not synonymous with 'have a requirement for'. The existence of a dedicated workplace is justified by the single location provision of work-related facilities. Exactly what these facilities are changes with the times but it is always profit-lead; if you want next-gen solutions go in to the sodding office - locations may change but that's what such places exist for and a better net connection won't change that any more that having 100 phone lines for one building did!

What is practical always depends on the value for money you get from whatever system it is you happen to be talking about. HS2 is intended to both promote and accommodate a shift from demand for air travel to one for high speed rail reducing the carbon footprint of UK travel and simultaneously allowing better rail freight services on existing lines. Your argument suggests that air travel will become increasingly inefficient as passenger numbers dwindle so delivery of HS2 actually becomes a higher priority as much the best solution for moving large numbers of people from North to South in the UK.

PDR wrote:
...if you have two kids at university then they will often dominate the requirements. Universities are all buzzing with the term "blended learning" by which they mean "we're going to move the bulk of the course content on-line for better profitability".

Cutting out the whole 'life without parents looking over your shoulder' element of university. You're talking about an OU style course really until such time as online live interactive lectures become possible or teaching becomes more small group/individual tutorial based. How you'd cope with practical sciences remains problematic as watching a demonstration is in no way a substitute for actual practical work.

PDR wrote:
The "common laces of work" will become fewer as companies look to leverage the lower costbase through smaller premises (lower rent, lower power/light/heat/rates etc etc).

I doubt it - though they might change location.

PDR wrote:
Quote:
In truth we're both speculating about the post lockdown landscape; an increase in home working...

Speculating? Perhaps.

He said speculatively; there's no certainty in anything you're saying although the element with the highest probability is that HS2 is going to be built at least as far as Manchester (IIRC).

PDR wrote:
But I'm speculating based on what I actually see my and other organisations discussing as the shape of the business over the next 5-10 years. There are already two of our smaller sites where people have been told to come and retrieve personal belongings from their desks within 3 weeks because those sites are going to be reconfigured for 100% hot desking at 20% of their current capacity by the end of July. Not as a temporary thing, but as a permanent change of workstyle.

Without knowing the type of work, whether that involves redundancies or a shift to home working and a dozen other factors I can't really comment but I find it difficult to envisage a circumstance where gigabit access from home would change that situation; I assume it's a cost cutting measure.


Last edited by Celebaelin on Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:50 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Celebaelin
1376812.  Sat Mar 13, 2021 6:07 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
If I were the one needing to spend the money, it would go on maintaining and reinforcing existing infrastructure rather than creating new infrastructure.

You can't efficiently run regular 'express' passenger trains* and freight on the same line as you need to move freight off the main line into sidings to allow the faster passenger service to maintain high speeds.

* The non-lockdown fast service from Birmingham to London runs roughly every 15 minutes.

 
CB27
1376841.  Sun Mar 14, 2021 12:26 pm Reply with quote

As others have said, it's a strange choice to choose. While there are relateable objectives, they are different types of projects, so I could vote for other.

I like the idea of high speed connection available to all, but it should also come with funding for equipment to for schools to lend to pupils, as well as other organisations (such as rehabilitation centres) and education on usage for both children and adults.

Similarly, the HS2 project I thought was very limited in it's scope and what it aimed to deliver. It seemed to concentrate on delivering faster travel between big cities, but ignored the need for connections to smaller areas. Many areas of the UK are declining because business is not travelling to them, and this creates a drain on talent and spending. In some areas, and in particular certain industries we're seeing the average age of of people increasing and getting to the point where we might see them disappearing, which will increase our reliance on imports, or increase the reliance on migrant workers.

 
Brock
1376898.  Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:14 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:


Brock wrote:
When I was younger it was fashionable to say that Trident should be scrapped to pay for this, that and the other. Why do we never hear that now?


If you spent more time than you do with middle class teenaged girls, you would still hear that argument on a regular basis. Now for sure, it may be that those girls have realised that I am "A bit Guardian", and so they'll talk to me about this when they mightn't talk to a teacher who they think would be unsympathetic. It may be that Jeremy Corbyn brought the idea back into the public consciousness to some extent, after it had been unfashionable for twenty years. But I still hear it.


Well you might start hearing it a bit more now:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/15/cap-on-trident-nuclear-warhead-stockpile-to-rise-by-more-than-40

Doesn't this violate our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?

 
Celebaelin
1377039.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 4:41 am Reply with quote

The NPT was signed by the UK in 1968.

Quote:
Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (“NPT”) states in full: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

https://www.law.upenn.edu/journals/jil/jilp/articles/2-1_Simon_David.pdf

Using that commitment to accuse the UK of starting an arms race is like suggesting that an increase in funding for Coventry Blaze would constitute a bid for Olympic Ice Hockey Gold.

The UK's nuclear arsenal is so small in comparison to those of Russia and the USA that we weren't even involved in the SALT or START treaties. I'm unsure what the purpose of this announcement is but I suspect it is more of a message about attitude than it is a change in the significance of the UK's nuclear deterrent. In a world where new nuclear powers (India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea and maybe Iraq) have come into being highlighting the UK's 'big boy' independent submarine delivery system may pay dividends as a negotiating point if dicks start being slapped on tables.

 
PDR
1377043.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:05 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/mar/15/cap-on-trident-nuclear-warhead-stockpile-to-rise-by-more-than-40

Doesn't this violate our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty?


No. Under pillar 1 of the NPT we have an obligation to not provide nuclear weapons to any countries that don't have them - which neither we nore anyone else does (no one sells nuclear weapons to anyone else anyway). Under pillar 2 (article 6) we have an obligation to:

"...pursue good-faith negotiations on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race, to nuclear disarmament, and to general and complete disarmament."

This is a general obligation to participate in multi-lateral limitation and disarmament negotiations, which we do. Nothing in Art 6 or anywhere else prevents us from increasing or decreasing our own nuclear capability.

We have obligations under other arms limitations treaties in which we undertook to limit our arsenal to certain numbers of weapons in each class. Until now the UK has stated that we comply with those limitations, but never officially confirmed to the public how many weapons we have, particularly in the strategic class. But we have always let people understand that our Trident fleet sail with substantially less than their full complement of missiles even though we would not break those limits were they all fully-fitted. As far as I can see Comrade Bubble-Brain has simply said "we're going to add enough warheads so that they will now sail with a full set of deployable instant sunshine". This would still be within the limitations of the various treaties we have signed.

It's worth noting that the various limitation treaties provide no "verification" methods - there is no right of inspection of another nation's weapons. As written the verification is to be by "national technical means", which was a euphemism for espionage and surveillance (satellites etc). This is essentially an unwritten agreement that if we catch each other out by spying we can complain without having to admit to spying. I say "unwritten" because these parts aren't covered in the published treaties. I'm led to believe that most of them contain "classified protocols" which aren't published, so there could be stuff in those about verification processes.

This is different to the NPT. Nations who sign up to the NPT agree to give external inspectors access to everything to verify compliance. In return they get access to civil nuclear technology (nuclear power, nuclear medicine etc) at substantially discounted prices. To many nations the loss of "national pride" is ore than worth it for having the products of nuclear programmes without the costs and risks of developing their own.

PDR

 
Brock
1377073.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 10:53 am Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
(no one sells nuclear weapons to anyone else anyway).


Unless I have completely misunderstood, the USA sells Trident missiles to the UK.

 
barbados
1377074.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:26 am Reply with quote

Not an expert, but don't we just launch them when required on behalf of the US?
i.e we don't "own" any missiles, but we do own the best equipment to launch them.

 
PDR
1377075.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:42 am Reply with quote

Brock wrote:
PDR wrote:
(no one sells nuclear weapons to anyone else anyway).


Unless I have completely misunderstood, the USA sells Trident missiles to the UK.


The USA sells us Trident missiles. The UK design, manufacture and support the nuclear weapons we mount on those missiles. The same was true of the UK submarine-launched nuclear cruise missiles and the previous Polaris missile system. We also design, manufacture and sustain the other elements of our tactical nuclear capability which may or may not include artillery shells, land mines, air-deployed free-fall bombs, air-launched anti-ship missiles, air-launched cruise missiles, torpedoes and depth charges.

PDR

 
Brock
1377076.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:45 am Reply with quote

barbados wrote:
Not an expert, but don't we just launch them when required on behalf of the US?


No.

"The UK’s nuclear deterrent is operationally independent. Only the Prime Minister can authorise the use of our nuclear weapons even if deployed as part of a NATO response."

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-nuclear-deterrence-factsheet/uk-nuclear-deterrence-what-you-need-to-know

 
barbados
1377080.  Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:23 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
PDR wrote:
(no one sells nuclear weapons to anyone else anyway).

.........


The USA sells us Trident missiles.

PDR

I can't be the only one who doesn't understand this - and there has to be a logical explanation - but.
Is that not contradictory?

 

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