Reputation invested, and rent sought
The sheer amount of money at the disposal of modern government gives untrammelled power to those who can circumvent the ‘checks and balances’, argued Simon Jenkins (29 October 2015).
[Tales of hi-vis New York chicanery from Osborne’s favourite author, Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, 29 Oct 2015]
[…] The reasons given to justify HS2 and Hinkley Point are mostly rubbish, and [chancellor George] Osborne is too intelligent not to know it.
[…] When someone has a sufficient interest in something – profit, vanity, glory, whim – democracy (between elections) is rarely strong enough to stand in the way. However potent the politician, he or she is rarely big enough to admit a mistake. They even prefer to pursue folly to prove their power.
Osborne’s megaprojects are like his tax credit reforms, with too much reputation invested to back down. Besides, as Deep Throat said, we should always follow the money. Where will Hinkley’s £25bn, HS2’s £80bn, or untold sums on Heathrow runways, Cricks of the north, concert halls and garden bridges actually go? The answer is the same place as £9bn on the Olympics: to the big international consultancy and construction firms that suck economic rent out of these state projects.