A Simple Soul....16th January, 2020

HS2: It would appear to those in the know, that the cost of HS2 is “out of control and its benefits overstated.” It’s even been said that Parliament was misled over the cost. Surprise, surprise! The original cost was set at £55bn but has risen to an estimated £108bn. It seems to me we have much more important things that this money could be spent on as only a fraction of us taxpayers will ever use it. The north of the UK has old trains, daily delays and cancellations, and Sunday services that don’t run as they rely on drivers working on their day off. Investment is much needed in this area as the passenger usage will be far higher than HS2 will ever generate. I believe HS2 has been dubbed “the posh boy’s train set” and it seems it could well be just that - if it ever gets off the ground. The trouble is, by the time it reaches the north it could well be out of date and no longer fit for purpose. Even that Cross Rail is over budget and behind schedule, and may only open partially next year.
ALIENS: Dr Helen Sharman, the first Briton to go into space, has said she believes that aliens exist and may be among us on Earth. Much evidence it seems is emerging that mankind had assistance and guidance in our distance past especially in building structures which still stand today, where the workmanship is of such a standard that we struggle to match it in this day and age. It seems Mrs Simple Soul is in full agreement with Dr Sharman, as she has stated many times to me that she is sure I am not of this world.
CHECKOUT: I have said before in these musing that I am against the self-checkouts our major stores seem keen to install and I refuse to use the things. I noted that over the festive season a local supermarket actually had its basket checkouts cordoned off, therefore forcing those shoppers with only a few items to queue at the normal checkouts, several of which were not open, or to self-checkout. I note that now the festive season is over the basket checkouts are still closed, no doubt trying to save a few bob on staff wages, and to encourage us to use the self-checkouts. I sometimes think they forget that they are there to provide a service to those who shop there.
FOOTY: Has anyone any idea why multi-millionaire football players have to be given a half-time rollicking by their managers after seemingly having a “can’t be bothered” attitude in the first half? Many emerge for the second half and look like different teams. For the money they are paid, should they not be motivated at the beginning of every game? Another thing that gets up my nose is the substitutions made with only minutes left to play, just to disrupt the game and also going to the corner flag trying to hold the ball and waste time. What happened to the obstruction rule? And should substitutions not be allowed after say 80 minutes, just to give the paying fans a decent ending to the games? No doubt if this rule was to come into force, players would fake injury to waste time.
PLASTIC: I read today that consumer pressure to end plastic packaging in shops could be more harmful to the environment. It seems going back to glass, which is heavier than plastic, would be more polluting to transport. Paper bags tend to have higher carbon emissions than plastic bags and are more difficult to re-use. This advice comes from a cross party Parliamentary group it seems. Remember when politicians encouraged us all to buy clean diesel cars, but now want us to go electric. But I suppose that’s politicians for you. They can never make their minds up over anything.
SCROOGE: Did anyone notice that in my last musings some bright spark at the Chron had changed my “man of mystery” banner to a picture of Alastair Sim as Scrooge? I take it this was because I mentioned Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and the film in which Sim starred. Now some readers may have got the wrong idea and thought it was because I was a bit tight-fisted. Not at all. I may be classed as a bit careful on the financial front, but could be more generous if once in a while our editor’s cheque arrived in my post.
REFERENDUM: The country seems to have gone referendum mad in recent years. First we had the referendum to leave the EU, which it seems so many enjoyed they wanted another one. The Scots had their independence referendum, which their political leaders enjoyed so much, they seem to want to repeat the process. I read today that some Labour bloke wants a referendum on the future of the Royal Family, which could be so enjoyable that even that could have a second outing. Maybe they should all take a leaf out of Mrs Simple Soul’s book — her decision is final — no second chance no matter how enjoyable I may find it.