Rail spend would propel economy

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APART from being vital within a general comprehensive public transport integration perspective, HS2 is easily affordable.

The real fantasy ‘prestige’ plans are for new Trident missile systems and hugely expensive aircraft carriers by ‘our’ megalomaniac warmongering ruling class tax-dodging kleptocracy.

All the welfare and other issues are easily affordable, notwithstanding, as well as HS2 and the construction of an integrated state owned public transport system.

More so, if the private rip-off sector are stopped from getting their sticky fingers on our tax money.

Even more so if there were to be a massive redistribution of the £4.5 trillion held by the ‘top’ 10 per cent of the British population, over 30 times the current economic deficit.

Just as wind turbines should be built offshore so the grasping land-owning classes and their friends cannot profit from any government grants on land, so HS2 rail would be an integral basis for an environmentally and socially responsible, fast (300mph -400mph+) worldwide freight and passenger train system, especially if a tunnel were to be built over the Bering Strait between Siberia (Russia) and Alaska (USA) concurrently.

Not only would this negate the wasteful and environmentally disastrous long-haul need for bulk air and sea transport (all

petroleum-based), it would also boost the economies of the world by creating massive demand for steel, electronics, etc, to construct the new system, just as the huge railway boom in the 19th century benefited the vast majority.

And this time it should be done without capitalist speculators muscling in, as part of a centralised, socialist, workers-controlled plan.

Steve Metcalfe

(personal capacity)

Branch Secretary

Lancaster District RMT 0844.

Numbers are pie in the sky

In response to a UKNDA report just published, the Defence Secretary is right to say that military league tables are not a realistic guide to defence capability – but some numbers do matter.

Our £7bn a year Royal Air Force certainly aims to be in the top flight. It claims 889 ‘deployable’ aircraft, placing the RAF in the world’s top 10 air forces, but all is not as it seems in cloud cuckoo land.

Included, too, are the Red Arrows and 258 flying training aircraft, 119 of which are commercially-owned elementary trainers. Another 146 are air cadets’ planes, including 81 gliders. It seems cruel to add that the RAF even claims the 12 vintage aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight in its ‘In Service Fleet’ of 889 – the venerable Lancaster and Spitfires, indeed.

Take those 429 off the total and an air force nearly half the size emerges below the clouds, relegating the RAF to the lower leagues.

There has not been an air threat to our country since the end of the Cold War so a huge land-based air force is not necessary anyway. Never more than 10% of the RAF’s planes and people are deployed overseas, so there’s no need for the RAF’s 231 land-based combat jets and dozens of supporting aircraft.

And that’s good news, because the RAF claims it has 122 Tornado combat jets but fewer than half are actually airworthy.

A significant number of the RAF’s ‘In Service Fleet’ is manifestly not in service at all.

In the light of this RAF skulduggery, their airships at Battle of Britain HQ offer others a lesson.

Were, Neptune forfend, the Chief of the Air Staff running the navy, he’d doubtless add HMS Mersey’s inflatable boats, Sea Cadets’ rowing boats and HMS Victory to his ‘In Service Fleet’ – it’s the air force way of fooling parliament and ourselves, if not the enemy!

Lester May

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Camden Town