Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Toot toot!


It may please Cro to learn that the current Transport Minister is considering 'banning' strikes by train drivers by making them illegal. What a brilliant idea. One wonders why nobody has thought of that before now.

Wait a minute - someone did think of that before. I seem to remember that Margaret Thatcher (with the help of an elderly Canadian) solved the problem of striking coal miners by sacking them all and doing away with British coal production all together.

We could do the same thing with the train drivers. If they are so opposed to train staffing being halved that they go on strike, then we could teach them a bloody good lesson by sacking the lot of them - then there would be NO staff at all to go on strike.

Of course, this would make the lives of ordinary commuters a little difficult to begin with, but it would be worth it. If they can tolerate not using trains at Christmas time, then they will soon get used to it. Trains are not just for Christmas.

Who needs trains anyway? Ever since the Road Transport lobby persuaded the government that the haulage of goods was best done by huge lorries, hardly anything except ballast gets moved from one place to another by train, and the opportunities for extracting huge revenues from British road transport are so numerous that we are in danger of putting many road haulage companies out of business too. Soon, the only lorries you will see on British roads will be Norbert Dentresangle's. The French take good care of their interests, and will take special care once Britain finally leaves Europe.

Three years ago, work began on the electrification of the rail route between London Paddington and Bristol. This would - they said - be good for the economy and good for the environment. There were two large teams working at either end of the route, and the the Western team - made up almost exclusively of Welshmen - spent a couple of months using my yard as a car-park and depot.

The rails themselves are the responsibility of Network Rail, a private company which is heavilly subsidised by the British government (i.e. the taxpayer), but still manages to lose money - on paper.

The carriages and engines are regionally split up into several other private companies who - despite colossal tariffs, subsidisation and no expediture on infrastructure - also lose money - on paper. You can pay around £250 to travel the 100 miles from Bath to London.

Now they have put up everything except the wires for the electrifaction, guess what? They have gone a few billion over budget to complete the work, so it has now been mothballed.

Now guess what? The government wants to devolve the responsibilty for the various regions to local government, saying that it makes more sense. It certainly does for them, now that all those private contractors have milked every last penny - and more - from the system and the shareholders are happy.

Does this not stink to you? If not, then you have no nose.

34 comments:

  1. Wilson closed more pits than Thatcher. Scargill did not have the backing of the miners to strike, he didnt ballot them. The plan was to modernise the pits because the industry was losing over a £1M per day. Scargill is the one to blame, not Thatcher.

    Only weak government will allow the Southern rail strikes to continue. The current Southern franchisees should be fired.

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    1. Yes, I meant to mention Scargill's crucial role in the miner's strike. Anyone who declares himself a president for life should be immediately removed from the position.

      Was there a particular cause for the coal industry to be losing so much money that it was cheaper to import coal from Spain than to dig up our own? Do you think that these losses were not rectifiable? Did anyone try? No.

      How do you think it possible for a country so close to bankruptcy as Italy can offer a journey of the same distance as Bath To London, on a very good, air-conditioned, fast, well-staffed and reliable train for about 10 euros and still stay in business?

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    2. Also, Thatcher's idea of 'modernisation' was to sack as many people as she could. She walked into the BBC and asked how many people worked in each department. When told, she advised them to get rid of half of them. She was not interested in full-employment as a target outside of the service industries.

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    3. And Mick Mcgahey politicised the workers and stood in the way.of any ballot. He was as much to blame as Scargill. Modernisation and streamlining would have worked given the chance.

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    4. I agree. I hated the unions as much as Thatcher did at that time, thanks to power-hungry bastards like Scargill, who would (and did) sacrifice the entire workforce and their families for the sake of his own ego.

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    5. On Italy. That's one reason why they are nearly bankrupt along with giving failing industries money. In the end it catches up with you.

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    6. Bollocks. It is non payment of both personal corporate tax as a national past time which has fucked up Itay, and you know it. Why do you defend all this shit?

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    7. The Italian government state funds everyone even if it doesn't have the money to do it from taxes. It is a country before Thatcher. And it is the basket case worse than Greece because the EU isn't going to save it and France will be next.

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    8. And what is wrong with that? If it really did fund everyone, then there would be no unemployment. We should be funding the proper companies, not the 'wealth creators' of which you are so enamoured. Same old story - once someone is nice and cosy as far as their limited future is concerned, then it's a case of 'fuck the rest of you', as in 'I'm alright Jack' - which was the slogan of the self-made men of 40 years ago. I find your attitude somewhat sickening, and I am NOT leftie.

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    9. It is not an attitude it is fact. And you are a leftie.

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    10. I have only just read this comment by you - after I told you your last cartographic offering was shit. I am enjoying your company as much as you enjoy Ursula's right now, so why don't you just quietly disappear from my blog? Please? Pretty please?

      I have lost the spirit of Christmas now, and could do without your shitty drawings and comments. Jesus - I could do without my own, let alone anyone elses.

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  2. Chris Grayling confirmed today that NO railway people would lose their jobs, nor would there be any cuts in pay. Mrs T didn't sack any miners, it was the Unions who closed the pits by making them unsafe. Most of the others had already run out of coal.

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    1. You actually believe Chris Grayling? They have a way around these broken promises. They sack Chris Grayling or move him to a different job, then his successor says, "I didn't say that," thereby avoiding being accused of lying.

      Scargill did Thatcher's job for her, that is true. She was backed up by some particularly viscious police at the picket line.

      I cannot think how more unsafe they were than when they were first set up, and there is a difference between a mine which runs out of coal and one from which it is too expensive to mine it without modernisation - by further investment.

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  3. What does a private company do when it is not making enough money from the hundreds of employees due to poor management? It deliberately runs it down after stripping it of anything of value. If anything should be made illegal, it is those sort of practices, not striking.

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    1. It gets rid of workers first.

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    2. No it doesn't. I t gets rid of the fucking pensions first.

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    3. It sells the company for £1.

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  4. Just last Tuesday, I had a day trip in Cambridge, taking express trains from and to London. I bought my tickets ahead of time, thought the price was fair. No one collected tickets from my fellow passengers and me on either route. Is this usual? It sometimes happens on commuter trains over here.

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    1. There is a barrier at Cambridge. You cant get out of these stations without tickets.

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    2. Sometimes they clip them, sometimes not. In London stations, you cannot get out or in without tickets. If I buy a ticket two weeks in advance, it costs about £50 return to London. If I walk into the station at 8.00am, it can cost - as I said - around £250. I don't know how much season tickets are these days, but it is thousands.

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    3. Rachel, you are correct about the barriers outgoing and incoming, that my tickets slipped through to allow me entry and exit. I was just thinking about the absence of train personnel on board.
      Another instance of machinery taking over a former job. xo

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    4. Yes, I know I am correct about the barriers. I live here.

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  5. My nose is like Pinnochios (even if I can't spell him) so I do agree with all you say. Luckily I do not live anywhere near a rail link (except Settle to Carlisle) and never use trains anyway - so it won't affect me. Am off to stick my head back in the sand now.

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    1. Don't miss the Christmas post, Weave. Another strike this week, I think.

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  6. What a mess. In the US, the republicans always want to put everything back to the states, calling it states rights, but problem is, the states can't afford it. Sometimes I wonder if government every gets anything right.

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    1. It's all to do with the distribution of wealth... or - more usually - the distribution of poverty when the wealth runs out.

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  7. I'm giggling like a school kid re: the title of this post!

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    1. It could have been, 'poop poop', as in Wind in the Willows, but that could have produced unwanted hits from an ignorant readership.

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    2. Hey Tom: I finally read that a few years ago. I had a fear of books with talking animals.
      More importantly, why did you delete your last post? I can only read a paragraph on my "blogger reader" and I want more!

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  8. It strikes me that France is often out on strike, they never had a Thatcher and although some might try to change the system the unions are too strong. So far. Toot Toot!

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    1. Agriculture being the strongest.

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    2. and every house has several shotguns.

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  9. Seems to me that whilst most people's attention is firmly fixed on the shambles that is Brexit, the Unions are going to flex their muscles and bring the UK back to the 70's with petty arguments and nationwide strikes. Toot Toot too!

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    1. A vacuum is soon filled. I'd rather unions than fascists, but not both. Italy again.

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