Off the rails….

One worse thing in politics exists than to be hated and that is to be the object of mockery. Nick Clegg is definitely at the point where he is an object of mockery as much as contempt. His latest venture into the public arena this morning, to defend an eye-watering 8% rise in rail fares proves that he is like the comedy Grim Reaper – wheeled out to deliver all the governments bad news to an increasingly brassed-off populace.

Quite what the government thinks it is doing raising rail prices by 8% is beyond me, I can attest from first hand experience that they are already perfectly high enough. No matter what they think they are doing, they are adding a considerably heavier burden to people who depend on public transport and also taking another step on the path which will see it become the sole preserve of the rich. You would think the 8% rise sounds bad enough but as Fares Fair outline it’s the tip of the iceberg;

Fares are set to go up by 28% over the next four years – that’s £1,500 more for some season tickets. 

Public transport costs and standards of service are simply absurd. No real incentive exists for people to abandon cars so the simple fact is they won’t. Be under no illusions that Train Operating Companies are struggling somehow – they aren’t. The government, which should be a restraining influence on the corporate greed of the rail companies, actually encourages them to further line their own pockets under the guise of service improvements. It is encouraging fare increases so it can reduce its rail subsidy on the sly and the TOC’s are more than happy to comply to increase their profit margins. Neither of them cares about the railways, the rail passenger or the wider environmental implications and since neither can be trusted, the only way to end this unholy alliance is to transfer ownership democratically to rail workers and representatives of service users to ensure we have affordable transport which meets the passengers needs.



About darrellgoodliffe


8 responses to “Off the rails….”

  1. Paul Perrin says :

    Gray on black – not the easiest to read!

    Did you see this –

    EU want to remove all rail subsidies, so travellers will pay the full cost – fares up another 50%

    I think ‘traveller pays’ is a good thing – as long as taxes are cut so everyone gets the benefit of the subsidy cut.

    I await Chris Huhne popping up to say that the rail/road cost differntial must be maintained – so petrol duty will double, or road tax jump a £1000 or so.

    Come on we all know the truth – its just more tax to redistribute from the poor to the rich.


  2. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Especially for you and since you make a valid point, I have switched colours. You approve?

    I hadn’t but this is something the EU is definitely wrong on, I concede.

    I don’t agree – why should we pay through taxes only to pay varicolored fares? I rather think it entitles us to control as well.

    Well quite….


  3. Paul Perrin says :

    Much easier to read – cheers (and my points are always valid 🙂 ).

    I agree with the end of the subsidy – my issue with the EU isn’t what they decide, it is the fact that they get to decide at all, rather than our directly elected representatives at Westminster.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘varicolored fares’ – I don’t want to control the railway any more than I want to control the local baker or newsagents. There is the issue of protecting the free-market from monopoly (which trains tend to have), but outside that – I’ll pay if I want to use them, but not a penny if I don’t;.


  4. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well there is a point of disagreement because I dont agree with the ending of the subsidy. If that’s the issue why not take the plunge and support greater democracy in the EU?

    And there is an issue of protecting the people from the free-market and that seems to me to be the most relevant issue here….


  5. Graham Gillis says :

    Coo its posh on here!
    Hi Paul.
    There are no real rail workers left. The track gangs you see working are contractors, usually with one railtrack gualified person, from an agency, in charge.


  6. Paul Perrin says :

    @darrell talking about greater democracy for the EU is like talking about greater democracy in the politburo of the USSR. The USSR had no reason to exist the only complete fix was for it to cease to exist as unnecessary – a smaller fix was for countries to not be members of it.

    The whole political dimension of the EU is anathema to civilised democracy – there is nothing that it could be reformed into that would be any use whatsoever to man nor beast.

    The whole political edifice and its institutions are redundant – and have been since they were created.

    Hope that clears things up 🙂


  7. darrellgoodliffe says :


    Well, we do our best…I dont think thats really true to be honest, I am pretty sure there are plenty of rail workers left, for example, its to be hoped that your characterisation doesn’t apply to train drivers, for example….


    I’m not going to reply to that because my post tomorrow will be on Europe…we can take that debate there 🙂


  8. Graham Gillis says :

    Drivers work for train companies.
    In all the years I was Controller of site safety and Engineering Supervisor for Railtrack through an agency; I only met two Railtrack employees, and you wouldn’t want them in charge of anything.


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