Monthly Archives: January 2020

THE HS2 SAGA

Continue the Project. Really?

Anyone around still knowledgeable enough to inform any Martians landing in London that the steam engine and the train both originated in the UK, would probably be vapourised for barefaced lying. Apart from the ongoing HS2 debacle, the general state of our various railways is so bad that not even space visitors could be expected to believe we turned a great BRITISH early 19th century revolutionary idea, which largely drove the Industrial Revolution, into the current mess.

The original plans for the proposed HS2 new line from London to Birmingham have been so vandalised that the initial concept of connecting London Birmingham Manchester and Leeds via a new high speed line at an estimated cost of some £32bn in 2009 has now soared to a mind boggling £112bn and an urgent decision is now awaited on whether to continue Phase 1, the London to Birmingham stretch.

The main construction work is not even due to start until March this year but already there is talk of further delay. Government has already spent some £8bn on the project which is now not due for completion until 2027. Obviously this date is subject to unlimited extensions as further financial and construction problems begin to emerge.

Now everyone knows that you just do not throw good money after bad and that sometimes it’s better to take a hit and call it a day. In HS2, the British Taxpayer has a ready made bottomless pit with no prospect of calculating the final cost. Would anyone with any intelligence really have any doubt as to whether the venture should be halted?

However, a decision is due to be made soon by Government one way or the other. Latest reports have the PM set to continue the scheme ‘in defiance of his principal adviser’.

In the meantime, no one seems to have noticed that by the time Phase 1 comes into operation sometime in the 2030’s, the whole concept and design of HS2 will not only be 30 years out of date……………….

……………BUT, by then Japan will have the superfast 374mph Super MagLev fully operational on its flagship routes.

Aren’t we all on the wrong track Mr Johnson?

THE HUAWEI AFFAIR

Our closest military allies have banned HuaWei from further involvement in the supply of communications equipment over fears the Chinese Government could use its systems for espionage. The USA, along with Australia, New Zealand, Canada & Japan, has been most vocal in calling for the UK to have no further dealings with the Chinese technological giant.

Britain’s MI6 Chief has said the UK should avoid relying on a monopoly provider of equipment.

Under the Chinese National Law, HuaWei is legally bound under the constitution like all Chinese companies & nationals to provide any information Beijing or the Chinese Communist Party demands. It has no choice in the matter.

It is also an ongoing fear that through HuaWei, Chinese hackers would find an easy way into Western intelligence shared information. The US Government is also trying to prevent Western companies using Huawei’s routers and switches.

Against this background, Britain has reportedly gone against the flow and told its intelligence partners that it will maintain its HuaWei relationship but confine it to the ‘peripheral’ part of 5G ie the RAN (Radio Access Network), known as the ‘dumb’ part of the network. This is because the smarter software, although handling a greater volume of traffic, will not actually affect the data.

So the UK believes by banning HuaWei from the core, and confining it to the RAN, this makes its involvement more manageable.

However, I agree with those cyber security experts who maintain that over time the ‘edge’, the name given to the boundary between the core and the periphery, will gradually disappear, as more sensitive operations are done closer to users.

How then will it be possible to exclude HuaWei, and obviously the Chinese State, from the network’s secret areas?

China has made no secret of her political and territorial aims. These are hostile to the best interests of the Western Alliance. Some say there is little doubt that certain elements of the British establishment have been seduced by Beijing and continue to overplay the benefits of expanding economic ties while greatly underestimating the security risk.

Quo Vadis Mr Johnson?