/ Money, Travel & Leisure

This week in comments – Virgin Money, HS2 and chuggers

Paper speech bubble men

Will Virgin Money be a better bank? Is spending £32 billion on High Speed Two a good investment? Should chuggers be banned from high streets? These debates, and more, tickled your fancy this week.

For or against the HS2

Britain’s second high-speed rail line has been given the go ahead, but will you welcome it? Our HS2 poll is currently equally split between for and against, but the comments are a bit more one-sided. David Ramsay comments:

‘I am against. Business is changing, web conferencing and virtual conferences will become the face of the future. Spending £30bn odd on a single line from London to Birmingham is absolutely pointless. Far better to improve the internet communications structure such that people can easily work from home.’

Wavechange is also in the ‘against camp’:

‘Rather than spending this obscene amount of money on transport we should be investing in helping people and companies live and work in a way that has less impact on the environment.’

Do you think councils should ban chuggers?

Islington Council wants to ban charity canvassers from high streets. The borough’s Chamber of Commerce joined the Conversation and made this comment:

‘It’s becoming an epidemic of sorts along many of the main roads in Islington. Though we want to continue to champion charitable giving there are better ways of doing it than using “chuggers” who seem to undermine the brands of the very charities that they are supposed to be helping.’

How shopping centres could be tracking your every move

Are you worried about shopping centres tracking you via your mobile phone? Paranoimia isn’t:

‘Anyone in the shopping centre can see where I go and for how long; this system is basically just another person knowing where I am. It’s not like I’m doing anything secretive or illegal, so I really don’t care.’

But Paranoid is a little bit more… well, paranoid:

‘I do not agree that I should be watched everywhere I go and I would welcome a lot less intrusion into my life. Just because some sort of surveillance is already hounding us does not give others the right to track mobile phones.’

Can Virgin Money’s charter alter the banking landscape?

This week Virgin Money laid out its plan for better banking, but Martin isn’t convinced it will avoid the mistakes made by its banking competitors:

‘Claiming you will be the good guys is easy. Proving it will be MUCH tougher. I do hope they mean what they say, but words are cheap.

‘Despite the associations with Richard Branson’s Virgin brand, Virgin Money has quite a hole to dig itself out of to be able to claim the white knight status with any credibility. The very fact that it has this track record might lead many to be cynical. Sadly I am one of them.’

Warning lights on? Your car will fail its MOT test

New MOT rules will fail your car if a warning light’s on. Giles Cattermole thinks this is bonkers:

‘This is complete nonsense, a price-gouging ramp promoted by the car dealer trade as a revenue-earner. The results are often ridiculous and expensive. It’s a licence to print money for the motor trade. Nothing else. All sensible people will simply disconnect the light connections.’

But Tony P disagrees:

‘I believe the new rules are sensible and will make owners take action of these warnings which could cause problems in future or compromise safety. Would you want to fly on an aircraft with a warning light showing in the pilot’s cabin? It’s the same technology.’

Who’s confused by the Olympic ticket reselling process? Me!

Commenter Kev sums up the general mood following 100 comments on our Olympics Convo:

‘Four things that can be predicted with absolute certainty come 3 February: 1) Corporates will have more tickets than they did prior to the resale; 2) Ticketmaster will pick up a big fat cheque despite delivering a dire ticket system; 3) LOCOG will announce that the ticketing process has gone smoothly and to plan; 4) I will still not have any Olympic tickets.’

How much exposure to technology can kids take?

Can technology enrich kids’ lives rather than worsen them? Our commenter of the week, Anon the Mouse, thinks it can:

‘Technology now touches most areas of our lives, and by artificially limiting exposure to it you are creating problems for the future.

‘A healthy, supportive environment is more important for a child’s development than whether they spent yesterday playing the Nintendo DS for four hours or playing with other toys. Sometimes we go to the park, other times we grab the tablet, select something from the media library and play it on the TV.

‘Childhood is different now to when I was a kid, and different again from when my parents were children. Using technology to complement playtime or doing different things enhances their understanding of the world.’

Comments have been edited due to length, so make sure to read them in full on their relevant Convos (by clicking on the red title link).


Firstly it will not be finished on time. Public projects like this rarely are.
It will go vastly over the budget probably double or more. This always happens.
No one can predict the likely usage of the line by the time it is open beyond Birmingham.
There is no real demand for this. We cannot grow our journeys in finite space for ever. We will have to find alternatives to actually moving our bodies so often and so far.
What else could we do with the money and resources?
I don’t live near the line’s route but I question the negative effects it will have on the countryside it passes through.