Have you noticed in the run-up to the election all parties are promising us everything we ever wanted without any convincing explanation of how they propose to pay the bill?

They’re even threatening to stamp-down on the profiteering of energy companies, a duty they have steadfastly refused to perform even during their worst excesses.

So why would we believe them now?

Why should we be interested in any of their manifestos when we witness them in action on a daily basis?

We know what to expect.

However, in a spirit of cooperation and goodwill to all parties I will offer a suggestion that will definitely assist their financial manoeuvring…ditch HS2.

Whilst I readily accept our railway network needs upgrading and increased capacity, I fail to see how this vanity project will benefit more than a handful of elite travellers.

I really don’t see how a train that hurtles between the capital and the north west virtually without stopping will be of huge advantage to the general public.

I can’t see a massive number of tourists, business travellers or commuters able and willing to pay the sort of price this service will demand simply to cut 45 minutes off their journey especially if most of it is lost travelling to their ultimate destination.

What I do accept is that every politician will regard HS2 ‘essential’ to their busy schedule and we know exactly who will be paying for their ticket.

I doubt Aunty Mary visiting her niece in Luton or the small business owner heading to Rugby will revolt should HS2 be scrapped.

Yes, of course senior executives of large companies will wail at the loss but do you honestly think there are hundreds of large corporations around the globe longing to bring business to the UK if only they could get to the north west 40 minutes quicker?

Me neither.

Of one thing you can be certain there is as much chance of our government completing this project on budget as there is of Diane Abbott winning Mastermind.

The Scottish Parliament Building finally opened in 2004, three years late and 10 times over the initial budget of £40million.

Can you imagine the final cost of HS2?

Politicians will.

Of course, blame contractors, landowners, engineers, topography, long-eared bats but never incompetence.

Guess who will pay that bill?

So…may I suggest whatever government triumphs on June 8 they ditch the HS2 project and spend the money expanding and improving current services.

It wasn’t Concorde that brought air travel to the masses it was Freddy Laker, since which budget airlines have thrived while Concorde after serving an elite, few passed away unnoticed.

I rest my case.


When I read the appeal for people to attend the funeral of 96-year-old ex Royal Marine Harry Wheeler I offered to go.

I didn’t like the idea of a Second World War veteran passing without due recognition.

I thought I might make up a small congregation but I was wrong.

Ex-servicemen and grateful residents turned up in their droves along with the Royal Marines complete with bugler, lone piper and a magnificent hearse drawn by two immaculate black horses.

When the bugler played The Last Post I have to admit stifling a tear.

I thought of all the service men and women who have lost their lives and those returning injured and damaged from conflicts around the world over which they had no say.

I thought of the bereaved families and those with loved ones struggling to overcome their experiences of wars not started by common people but by those who would never experience the pain.

As I made my way out of the crematorium I helped an 80-year-old veteran fighting his fifth battle with cancer.

“I was determined to be here today,” he told me before donning his beret and standing to attention for the final parade.

It’s that spirit that made Britain great.

NB: On the way out I spotted a small delegation of top brass from Cheshire East Council.

“I hope you will attend my funeral,” I chirped.

“Don’t worry we shall all be in attendance.”


“Of course, we’ll want to make sure you’re dead.”

Suddenly everyone’s a comedian.


I was talking to an elderly neighbour today who told me her great grandson had just bought his first car.

“What is it? “ I asked.

“It’s one of those little hunchbacks.”

It really made me chuckle.

My mother used to have an entire repertoire of weird and wonderful expressions.

As a toddler I was mesmerised by dogs (there’s a surprise).

I would follow them anywhere. My mum would stand at the back door yelling: “Don’t go wandering off after that dog and come back lost.”

My dad suffered from amnesia usually triggered by a bit of cheek from me.

Who the hell do you think you are?”

“I’m your son.”

“Who do you think you’re talking to?”

“Well, as there’s only you and me here…”

At that point he’d threaten to make me ‘laugh on the other side of my face'.

I never did work out where that was.

Whenever my granddad showed me how to mend a puncture on my bike he’d say: "You can do this yourself, it’s not rocket surgery.”

I’m not sure what dialect was spoken in our family but it definitely wasn’t English.