Crossrail and other prestige projects.

Crossrail is an interesting project. But is it necessary or even useful? The projected cost is 15.9 billion – billion – amazing. When the tube system is such rubbish, would it not be better to spend all that money & effort into improving the tubes. There don’t seem to be any new stations or destinations which it is isn’t possible to reach anyway in the existing system.

It won’t be completed until 2018 by which time goodness knows what natural disasters will have occurred. It seems that it is true that the bigger the cost of a project the more likely it is to go ahead. For the past decade most of London seems to have had to undergo the roads & pavements being dug up. For Crossrail, it appears that buildings are being demolished, perfectly good buildings at that.

Somehow don’t we just know, that it will cost even more than the projected amount, it won’t be finished on time & at the very least will have enormous teething problems? After that it will probably never work properly. I suppose if it encourages people to use their cars less it could be said to be of value but we all know that isn’t going to happen. There is something Soviet about the project. It is a prestige project more than anything else.

And then there are the Olympic Games. Why do we want the Olympic Games? They last 2 weeks, cost billions of pounds & then we are left with all stadia nobody wants. Would it not be more logical for it be held in Greece every 10 years & the Olympic Movement to pay for it? And the World Cup. Why would we want that? All these prestige projects are a waste of money. Those of us who aren’t interested in football or athletics are doomed to wall to wall coverage of these boring events.

Concorde was a prestige project that never made any money & was eventually scrapped. When Labour came to power in 1964, George Brown promised to scrap Concorde but he didn’t & all those years later it came to pass & then met its unlamented demise. The Americans went to the moon to keep up with & surpass the Soviet Union.  Nobody goes to the moon anymore – if they did in the first place anyway.

The main argument about Crossrail is that with climate change, London has an uncertain future anyway. The Thames Barrier is used many times during the year & will eventually have to be made bigger. And then bigger & then bigger again. The present Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, holds the opinion that the human race won’t survive beyond the year 2100 anyway. Politicians should bear this in mind.

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