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Friday, 24 October 2014

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HS3? As much use to Carlisle as a chocolate fireguard

Ever felt a bit lonely and left out – like there’s a party going on somewhere and nobody remembered to invite you?

Of course you have – you’re a Cumbrian! Well, here comes that feeling again.Not for the first time, it looks like we’re sitting out the fun on our own, in the deja vu room.

Chancellor George Osborne is going to create a “northern global powerhouse” of interlinked cities to compete with the south east for prosperity and “to take on the world”, as London does.

An HS3 high speed rail party has been declared and Mr Osborne is in fancy dress for the occasion of celebration.

Wearing his patronising hat and a pirate’s patch, he has one blind eye on what he perceives as the “North” and his other, all-seeing one on next year’s general election.

The new superfast £7bn rail link he has in mind will connect Leeds with Manchester – as does the M62 and a rail journey of about 50 minutes now – and will be as much use to Carlisle as a chocolate fireguard.

He’s quite excited about his visionary gift, saying that in the past few decades giant global cities, such as London, had emerged and that a connected string of northern cities, with better transport links and careful planning, could take bigger competitors on and be “greater than the sum of their parts”.

But while he’s dangling the temptation of goodie bags to get northern cities into his election party, he is again showing how blissfully ignorant he is of life beyond Manchester and Leeds.

Whose fault is that? Perhaps Carlisle’s for not marketing itself sufficiently as a city worthy of powerhouse potential. Maybe it’s our MPs’ for failing to keep Cumbria on Westminster’s radar. Or is it our own fault for perpetually trundling out like sheep with banners of protest, every time progress for our city and county is mooted?

Any or all of the above strike as possible. But it would be refreshingly exciting if for once a government would step up to the Cumbrian plate, without having to be prompted, recognise our needs (improved and efficient transport links being among them), and offer remedy. George Osborne should know where we are. He should know who we are. And if he doesn’t know by now that the national economy he’s so fond of crowing about suffers only set-back when he fails to remember Cumbria’s powerhouse potential, he soon will We don’t bear grudges for long. But he can’t expect them to have faded to nothing by the time voting day comes round.

Have your say

its an airport we need.. this county is a joke !!

Posted by Matt on 7 July 2014 at 09:29

We can't even get a decent train to Newcastle let alone HS3.

Posted by Anon on 2 July 2014 at 11:43

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