Trouble on the trains

This week saw the collapse of the West coast railway contract. On the eve of a court date with Virgin boss Richard Branson, the government caved in and admitted to getting its sums wrong with the assessment of the contract. It would appear that they made a number of school boy errors….such as forgetting about inflation (important, given the effect Quantitative Easing is having on that). They didn’t consider whether all those passenger’s could fit on the West Coast line (without it being expanded, in which case what’s the point of HS2!). They also seemed to have assumed that Branson would just hand the trains over, when it seems, peeved at loosing the contract, he instead planned to sell the trains to anyone but First Group.

As I’ve described in a previous article, the current government has some serious question marks hanging over it as regards its competence. They seem to blunder from one self made crisis to another. And even when they try to do the right thing, they still screw up royal.

It is now costing the government 5 times more to subsidize the high fares “privatised” rail service today than it cost to keep running the nationalised rail service. I pointed out in a prior article that I can see two ways the railways could be fixed. The first was re-nationalisation, something which a number of commentators and the audience of Question Time this week, seemed to think was a good idea, but sadly out of the question under a Tory government. Plan B was to create a “proper” privatized rail system. This would involve making sure that there was actual competition between companies on routes and for rail franchise contracts. This would force the rail companies into a sink or swim scenario where they would have to shake up their companies (e.g. stand up to the train drivers unions, currently a train driver in the UK can earn more than a pilot!), lower ticket prices and become more competitive.

Clearly the Tory’s were angling for this second option when they awarded the contract for the West coast mainline to First Group. Clearly the intention was also to scare the other companies straight. I should note that I’ve had not entirely nice experiences on Virgin trains (they still owe me for a delayed train and a lost laptop!), but even I would question how exactly painting a different logo on the side of the trains is going to change anything. But the Tory’s it would seem couldn’t even get a simple contract bidding right.

Why I won’t be voting Tory
I won’t be voting Tory in the next election for two reasons. Firstly, they are a bunch of upper class twits who only goal is to further their own class and flog the “plebs” (that would be anyone in the UK without a mansion and a butler). The Tory’s have never cared about the deficit, the real objective behind the current austernity is that they see no reason why the taxes (that they don’t pay) should pay for things such “health care” or “education” or a “police service”.

The second reason for not voting Tory is that, even if I was a right winger and I lived in Kensington (and I’m lefty living in a working class area), the present government are, as we’d say in Scotland “a bunch of numpties”. As witnessed by the petrol strike (that wasn’t), the UKBA screw up’s regarding border staff and the universities, the GCSE results, the pastie tax, the G4S fiasco at the Olympics or how various “cuts” they’ve implemented have backfired and ended up costing the country much more than they were supposed to save. One gets the impression that David Cameron and his government couldn’t organize a piss up in a brewery.

And I would put the blame for this second point squarely on the first. Cameron, Osborne, Boris and many other members of this millionaire cabinet don’t live in the real world. The Bullingdon boy‘s are used to merely issuing instructions to some hapless underling who scurries off and see’s that his master’s will is implemented without question or criticism.

Unfortunately for the Toff’s in power right now, in the real world of government, people will question these dictates and subject the fool who proposed them to ridicule in various radio and TV comedy shows. Also in the real world, those put out by such dictates, be they low wage civil servants or multi-billionaires like Branson, don’t just curtsey and back away without making eye contact. No, in the real world they go on strike or hire an army of lawyers to get the policy changed.

Consequently I would argue that the Tory’s and their lib dem allies are unfit to rule and my advice to anyone with vaguely right wing sympathies would be to find another party to vote for come next election.


3 thoughts on “Trouble on the trains

  1. In a word, yes, they’re unfit to rule…

    But what are the alternatives? Back to labour again? Therein lies the problem with this country or at least the supposed ‘democratic electoral system’ they’ve foisted upon us. The ‘first past the post’ system they’ve fought tooth and nail to maintain is designed to return only two possible results – a Labour or Conservative government, until that is changed that will only ever be the likely outcome. There’s plenty of precedent for that by the way – this country has only ever had a Tory or Labour government since the end of the second world war!

    The mess this country is in right now is almost wholly down to either/or or both of those two political parties. Yet what’s the likely outcome at the next General Election? The electorate will kick out the Tories as they did with Labour when they got tired of them and we’ll get a Labour government again. It’s like a washing machine that’s permanently stuck on a rinse and repeat spin cycle. So how do you break it?

    Proportional Representation (PR) I’m afraid is the only answer. As much as people don’t like it, it’s the only solution and until the electorate of this country wake up out of their slumber and realise it, nothing will ever change.

    Plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose – as much as things change they’ll always stay the same.

    Ahh I hear you say, but we had a vote on PR and the electorate rejected it. They rejected the worst possible form of PR David Cameron could concoct because they didn’t understand it and that was contrived to be so by David ‘there’s nothing wrong with our current system’ Cameron. He knows full well that as soon as PR is brought in all this absolute power he and his buddies currently wield goes up in a puff of smoke, never to be seen again. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas do they?

    So we’re stuck with this antiquated first past the post electoral system that only a handful of developed countries still use, because all the rest, including most of Europe use some form of PR.

    That means governments can continue to be formed by a tiny minority of the voting electorate. In the last general election, 36.1% of the 60% of people who bothered to vote, voted Conservative. 36.1% of 60% is 21.6% of the people of this country wanted a Tory government, yet the other 78.34% of the population who didn’t want them have to suffer the consequences.

    And David Cameron thinks this gives him a mandate to govern?

    Two things need to happen to this country before anything will change, if it isn’t already too late – a switch to PR and an exit from Europe and neither will happen in my lifetime, so expect more of the same. Who’s to blame?

    The electorate sadly, because they’re simply too stupid and too gullible to see and understand the consequences of they way they choose to vote. They rejected PR and continue to vote for either Labour or Conservative governments.

    Want Einstein’s definition of insanity? To do the same thing over and over again and expect something different to happen.


  2. Hi daryan

    Thanks for your reply, I do appreciate it. I enjoy reading your blogs, you have some interesting views.

    In time hopefully I’ll get my own up and running. I’ll have a read through your opinions on the EU in the link you’ve provided.



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