we were supposed to have high-speed rail links with some Northern cities already.
Heathrow isn't congested because of passengers flying up to Newcastle, it's congested because it's a major international hub in one of the world's major cities, and because everyone wants to fly from,to,or through it.
Either we want to continue to deal with this traffic in London or we don't - spending vast sums on rail links that don't address the problem isn't remotely helpful. A third runway at Heathrow will cost around £13 billion (how easily these huge figures trip off our tongues these days), so the rail link idea had better have at least £7 billion's worth of extra goodies up its sleeve.
Window dressing, that's all it is. Expect more of the same from both major parties in the coming year - methinks there's going to be an election in 2009.