Now, prior to the most recent election we had the regional development agencies but of course OFTOSS (the office of Tory obsessions and score settling) believe the RDSs are intimately associated with the Regional Assemblies which Tory / green crayon brigade thinking believes are a front for our lizard masters in Brussels (TM). Therefore the RDAs are going, to be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships. Now, clearly dividing the country up into regions and each one having an RDA smacks of Brown-Clown-More-Like-Lizardist thinking and therefore areas of different shapes and sizes get to bid to be an LEP, some bids are accepted and some are refused leading to a bizarre patchwork...
see map http://geocommons.com/maps/32888
and list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Local_Enter
"Some bids overlap and in some cases a local authority will be permitted to be part of more than one local enterprise partnership"
Well, that makes a lot of sense.
So what this mess leaves us with is nothing to balance London sucking everything in to its all-consuming maw.
Something that struck me in Japan is that the new Shinkansen line on Kyushu (West most big island) was built starting with a section that didn't join the main line from Tokyo to Hakata. Maybe HS2 (or whatever it is called) should be built with the Birmingham to London bit last. This might encourage some circulation round the North of England, otherwise we just know that what it will become is another commuter line for London.
On this subject I was particularly amused by an unusually fine hand-wringing notice up by one of the clusters of residential boats on the canal path, it was a rather hand-wringing 'high speed trains are obviously a good thing, but not anywhere near here' notice. NIBMYism in its purest form. Of course there is the 'no-one who wants to go anywhere fast can possibly be up to any good' view, which I have seen from time to time (**) but it wasn't taking that line.
As with Crossrail though, I can't help wondering if it is actually worth the effort. I do wonder if it is a bit of national willy-waving due to the map of high speed train lines having only HS1 on the European map.
(*) the article on SET is quite amusing since it covers the traditional issue of British politicians inventing taxes which cannot sensibly collected - in this case all employers had to pay it with N.I. and then had to apply for a refund if they were exempt.
(**) indeed, I recall a comment within living memory on LJ, I think somewhere in the vicinity of the LondonPolyBiGothGeek cluster, that the underground was an evil middle-class plot and honest working people use busses.