It would be understandable if you thought the Brexit negotiations the most farcical display of incompetence in which the current government could ever indulge; or that the £39bn that Remainer ministers long to lavish upon the undeserving rich of Brussels, notably Jean Claude Juncker’s wine merchant, would be the most extravagant squandering of taxpayers’ money that could ever be imagined. That would be an understandable impression, but it would be wrong.

The Brexit debacle, at its most extreme, is a model of competence and fiscal responsibility, compared to the disaster that is HS2 – a nightmare scenario to which only the brush of Hieronymus Bosch could do justice. The latest news (in the context of HS2 that is a euphemism for scandal) is that a Freedom of Information request by the Bramley Action Group (an anti-HS2 campaigning organisation) has revealed the cost of acquiring land and property for Phase One of HS2 has nearly quintupled – from the 2012 estimate of £1.1bn to a now projected £4.96bn.