Grand projects happen because statesmen want them to, not because they will be profitable.
Projects that statesmen want to happen will have their estimated cost and time needed artificially suppressed to make them appear more acceptable.
The 2102 London Olympics, London’s Crossrail, the English Channel Tunnel, and currently HS2, have all benefited from this policy.
The opposite also applies. Projects that statesmen don’t want to happen will have their estimated cost and time needed exaggerated to make them seem unacceptable.
The estimated £335 billion cost a Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge is one such exaggeration.
It is a particularly absurd example of that opposite policy cited above, given that China managed to build a longer 34-mile bridge for around £15 billion three years ago.
A more realistic cost of a Scotland-Northern Ireland bridge is £50-100 billion, allowing for greater basic costs and engineering challenges than the China bridge.
Justifying the cancellation of the bridge to Northern Ireland on this basis suggests little support for the Union UK Treasury and probably Boris Johnson’s cabinet too. Unionists should remember this the next time a contender for the Conservative party leadership speaks to a party conference.
Edward McDowell, Belgravia, London
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