Tory Minister John Hayes Divides Opinion With His Incredible Speech On Transport Beauty

'I've never seen a speech on transport quite like it!'
Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick

A Tory minister has confounded many and divided opinion with an inspired speech on “beauty in transport”.

Dubbed ‘The Ode to Beauty’ by one reader, John Hayes’ statement referenced the great philosopher Aristotle, Huddersfield rail station and author F Scott Fitzgerald.

It laid out a “provocative” plan to tackle the “ugliness” of Britain’s transport architecture, with Hayes adding that the new government had a “a unique opportunity to be the vanguard of a renaissance”.

He went on to rally against those who said public and industrial buildings needed to be nothing more than “bland”, saying such architecure emulated the “suffering and brutality of the human experience”.

Here’s a short extract:

So be warmed - or warned - when I speak next I will set out when and how.

How we will change what is built and what is saved – roads, rail and beyond.

Some who did the damage to our country were crass and careless.

But some wrought monstrous havoc knowingly, wilfully.

All of them Philistines.

Well now the Philistines have met their David.

The speech was delivered on Tuesday at the Independent Transport Commission but was hailed by some as unlike any previously heard before.

Others were less taken with it, though, with the detail of Hayes’ plans to transform the face of British transport architecture tackled for its muddled message.


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