Monday, March 17, 2008

John Watson's lonely hearts club

We did promise more about the further postponement of the Public Inquiry and today we have the sad tale of the lonely figure that is the Inspector, John Watson.

What prompted the Highways Agency's latest announcement was in fact a letter from John Watson published the week before. He makes it clear that he has not heard from the Highways Agency by their promised date of February 2008 and published a series of questions, to wit:

Does the Highways Agency still intend to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry?

If the Highways Agency still intends to submit revised evidence to the Inquiry, when does it intend to do so?

These are the words of a man kept hanging on. He has no role without his consort, and sounds rather lost and desperate. He is eager to please, but is really the Highways Agency's plaything. And they have decided not to play, at least for the time being.

The reason Roy Oldham and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce are huffing and puffing and getting steamed up, and that the pathetic figure of Tom Levitt has to issue press releases reminding us that he still supports the bypass is because they are clearly not calling the shots. At a time of huge financial uncertainty, the government is prepared to put projects like the M1 widening on the back burner and move towards using the hard shoulder of motorways to 'take up the slack'. The Longdendale Bypass has become a 'wait and see' issue.

Those who are opposing the bypass must press on with the attack, to take the advantage. It's not time for a rest.

As for poor old John Watson, we hope he's making good use of his time, perhaps by writing another book?

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