Down there at the bottom we see that
the next Conservative government would invest in a High-Speed Rail link connecting Leeds to London, Birmingham and Manchester...
Matthew commented,' This will be great news for Leeds, reducing travel times and so supporting our Leeds economy and jobs. For too any years we have seen Leeds, the finance capital of the North, miss out to Manchester"
Missing out to Manchester? Would that be the Leeds that's had two-hour train journeys to London for a decade or two while equidistant Manchester only got that upgrade a couple of years ago?
Meanwhile, with no sense of irony or conflict, on the back of the leaflet we get this lament:
the news that BMI has scrapped its flights between Leeds and Heathrow is hugely disappointing to Leeds people.
Firstly, I wonder what proportion of people in Leeds ever used a flight to London. Of this tiny number, what subgroup could describe themselves as 'hugely disappointed' that the service was axed? Would anyone guess it was more than a sliver of a fraction of one percent of the amount needed to qualify as being representative opinions of 'Leeds people'?
The government has just announced a swathe of high-speed rail links with the explicit intention of killing off domestic flights, saying
For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail.
But this is seemingly not an issue to Lobley, a man who manages to talk about future energy policy without reference to carbon, and on his website only manages to mention it once, as "global warming", complete with quote marks.
For him, it's just that we need journey times cut. That'll make the train compete with the plane. Except the normal train already does.
Matthew and those hugely disappointed Leeds citizens will be relieved to know that Flybe have picked up the service and fly from Leeds to Gatwick.
Choosing a date and time at random, the 14.05 flight on 9th September from Leeds to London takes an hour and ten minutes. Add the minimum 30 minutes check-in time and it's 1.40. And that's before we recognise that the train terminates right in the city, whereas the flight leaves from outside Leeds and lands a good half an hour's journey away from actual London.
The 14.05 train takes 2 hours 17 minutes. So, there's nothing in it timewise and the train's almost certainly the better option on that front.
Not so with the price, however. The flight costs £24.99 including taxes. The train costs £84.00. What can we do about this incentive to take the high-carbon option?
In January 2007 David Cameron suggested
I think what we need to have is we've got to make sure that air travel more accurately reflects all of the costs. And, if you like, what the Economist would call the externalities, the pollution cost. I think that is important. And I think that would lead to a fairer competition between, between rail and air travel, particularly within the UK.
On 13 September 2007 the Conservatives published their Quality of Life report. The same day, in light of the report's recommendations, it was reported that
David Cameron will finally bite the bullet on green taxes today by backing the imposition of VAT on aviation fuel on domestic flights
Less than two weeks after the 547 page report was published, Cameron had read it and removed his teethmarks from the bullet.
We’ve put forward some different options, we’ve now looked at that and decided the right option, which is to not do VAT on domestic flights, that VAT on domestic flights was not an option.
So, if nothing else, at least Lobley's in line with his party leader, sticking his fingers in his ears and going lalala about aviation emissions.