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Why does the Guardian hate Chris Grayling

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16 hours ago, nothernsoul said:

I get the train to work,standing on a packed manchester platform with fellow commuters, most of whom will have worked all day, be net contributors  through PAYE. You can sense from the mutual, weary, dissatisfaction, as cancellation is followed by a two carriage train that nobody can even squeeze on,  that everybody is thinking the same thing. We go to work, in increasingly demanding jobs with deteriorating conditions and stagnant wages. Stupid house prices prevent us living nearer, and congestion makes it a nightmare to drive. Nobody wants a medal or a pat on the back for this, we just want to get home! 

If it was just the trains alone it wouldn't be so bad, this is just the icing on the whole contemptuous cake. Blaming unions is pathetic.  These arnt Britain in the 1970s problems, these are problems caused by 40 years of neo liberalism, where ordinary workers have had power stripped away from them and been slowly conditioned to suck it up. 

My experience as well. The s**t journey makes everyone weary, but they all seem resigned to it. Hardly any real anger, just weary resignation and typical British humour to try and make the best of it. It's really bad for mental health, hence why I'm going all out to get a job closer to home.

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13 hours ago, Bluestone59 said:

+1. 

It's a pity that the 1970s unions didn't have the brains to try and expose what was happening at the time. Such as excessive dividend payments leading to a British Leyland worker operating with equipment worth £1k per worker compared with £12k at Toyota (1979) and BL making £65 million profit and paying out £60 million in divis.

Not that anyone would have listened I suppose.

For about half my life I have tried not to blame Mrs Thatcher for almost every evil foisted upon us but more recently I've found that there are very few people about who think other than that almost everything she touched has turned to dust. I guess a lot of it seemed a good idea at the time but didn't stand the test of time.

I tried using the trains in 2014, I lasted three months. They kept dumping me at the station before the one I was going to and sailing through mine non stop to avoid punctuality penalty fines. But to be fair I have recently tried again, and they have been not far off perfect.  I am in the South which may account for that.

Mrs Thatcher was not responsible for privatizing the railways. She did however persuade the Japanese to build new car factories in the UK, and investors creating Canary Wharf.

The rail industry cannot be doing much wrong because passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years. Many of the current problems stem from that growth, which has shown up how much investment in new and improved lines is required. Sadly, our engineering industries don't perform all that well, and our planning system is antiquated (loook at Heathrow new runway), so delivery is a problem. The underlying issue seems to remain - that rail travel is not cheap, unless subsidized by the taxpayers. The provider, private or state, is irrelevant. How much of your income tax should go in rail subsidy?

Edited by onlooker

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1 hour ago, onlooker said:

Mrs Thatcher was not responsible for privatizing the railways. She did however persuade the Japanese to build new car factories in the UK, and investors creating Canary Wharf.

The rail industry cannot be doing much wrong because passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years. Many of the current problems stem from that growth, which has shown up how much investment in new and improved lines is required. Sadly, our engineering industries don't perform all that well, and our planning system is antiquated (loook at Heathrow new runway), so delivery is a problem. The underlying issue seems to remain - that rail travel is not cheap, unless subsidized by the taxpayers. The provider, private or state, is irrelevant. How much of your income tax should go in rail subsidy?

 Yes, I did say "almost everything". Thatcher's governments swerved privatising Royal Mail, I did wonder at the time whether rail was viewed in the same way.

A lot of increased rail traffic must be down to the cost of driving, congestion and difficulty in parking and a bigger population.  I don't get the feeling that rail companies, other than Chiltern Rail, should be congratulating themselves too much for this increased usage.

As for how much rail should be subsidised, last I heard the extent of it was over 4x the British Rail subsidy.

There's a story today that Stagecoach took a £35m divi out of East Coast before handing back the keys. If true, this isn't going to help sentiment. I still believe that trades union stupidity in the past opened the door to this kind of abuse. 

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Thatcher didnt privatise railway herself(although her ideology obviously drove it) , probably because she knew it would be a nightmare to do. The actual rushed privatisation was carried out at the end of the major government, when they knew they were on the way out, and just wanted to get it out of the way before Labour got in. They obviously didnt care if the overcomplicated, illogical structure, with a pseudo internal market shoehorned in didnt work, as they wouldnt be there to deal with the consequences. 

Shortly afterwards i remember former tory minister Nicholas Ridley, candidly admitting in an interview that he knew the structure of the privatisation was a disaster. He also mentioned how his father had owned shares in the pre british rail days(the so called golden age of the railways) and they never made money even then. 

Thatchers favourite adviser Alan Walters, famously suggested that the railways should be totally destroyed and the track replaced by motorway. He saw them as obsolete, plus the collectivist nature of railways would have proved offensive to his ideology. 

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3 hours ago, nothernsoul said:

Thatcher didnt privatise railway herself(although her ideology obviously drove it) , probably because she knew it would be a nightmare to do. The actual rushed privatisation was carried out at the end of the major government, when they knew they were on the way out, and just wanted to get it out of the way before Labour got in. They obviously didnt care if the overcomplicated, illogical structure, with a pseudo internal market shoehorned in didnt work, as they wouldnt be there to deal with the consequences. 

Shortly afterwards i remember former tory minister Nicholas Ridley, candidly admitting in an interview that he knew the structure of the privatisation was a disaster. He also mentioned how his father had owned shares in the pre british rail days(the so called golden age of the railways) and they never made money even then. 

Thatchers favourite adviser Alan Walters, famously suggested that the railways should be totally destroyed and the track replaced by motorway. He saw them as obsolete, plus the collectivist nature of railways would have proved offensive to his ideology. 

What Ridley didn't choose to mention, unsurprisingly, was something I heard a few times down the years, that the shareholders in the pre 1948 rail companies were paid (by Labour) much more than they were worth due to the poor state they were in. And, as ever, the smart money had probably guessed that the age of the car was just around the corner.

Another jolly tale post BR privatisation was that the Swedes sent a team over to check out how things were going as they were considering doing the same. It reported back that the idea would be ok but whatever you do, don't do it the UK way as it's totally bonkers.

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1 hour ago, Bluestone59 said:

Another jolly tale post BR privatisation was that the Swedes sent a team over to check out how things were going as they were considering doing the same. It reported back that the idea would be ok but whatever you do, don't do it the UK way as it's totally bonkers.

Likewise, I remember hearing an interview with a transport economist (sorry, can't remember the name after all these years) on Dutch radio about 3 years after BR privatisation; the discussion was about railways in NL and their future economics. The guy said that the only thing to do whenever a decision had to be made about railway development was to always do the exact opposite of what the British had done and all would be well...

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1 hour ago, Shrink Proof said:

Likewise, I remember hearing an interview with a transport economist (sorry, can't remember the name after all these years) on Dutch radio about 3 years after BR privatisation; the discussion was about railways in NL and their future economics. The guy said that the only thing to do whenever a decision had to be made about railway development was to always do the exact opposite of what the British had done and all would be well...

 

1 hour ago, Shrink Proof said:

Likewise, I remember hearing an interview with a transport economist (sorry, can't remember the name after all these years) on Dutch radio about 3 years after BR privatisation; the discussion was about railways in NL and their future economics. The guy said that the only thing to do whenever a decision had to be made about railway development was to always do the exact opposite of what the British had done and all would be well...

Have to wonder whether the Tories' hatred of rail transport runs so deep that they really have been trying to destroy it down the years. 

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4 hours ago, Bluestone59 said:

 

Have to wonder whether the Tories' hatred of rail transport runs so deep that they really have been trying to destroy it down the years. 

Rail privatization in the UK was driven by the EU, which required it to be done in a complex and inefficient manner. You can blame the Tories for a lot, but not for that.

But, yes, railways are a silly idea in the 21st century.

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27 minutes ago, MarkG said:

But, yes, railways are a silly idea in the 21st century.

Why? Although they've not worked for small goods loads for ages they're still easily the best option if you've got large amounts of goods that need moving between two fixed points, and they are (or should be) a decent option for people to get around, particularly if for whatever reason they can't or don't want to drive. The ride should always be better than on the road too. I find most "improvements" make them worse but they haven't entirely dragged them down to not being a preferable way to travel for long distances (or short ones sometimes if the choice is facing the road traffic).

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Yeah, if you have large amounts of goods that need to be moved from point A to point B and there's a railway line between them. If you don't produce goods at point A and sell them at point B, you'll have to load them on a truck to get to point A, then load them onto another truck at point B, so in most cases you might as well just drive the truck the whole way.

But, more important than that, shipping large amounts of goods around is about to go away. Why do that when you can just make them locally?

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5 hours ago, MarkG said:

Rail privatization in the UK was driven by the EU, which required it to be done in a complex and inefficient manner. You can blame the Tories for a lot, but not for that.

Nope. The EU directive was designed to change the accounting rules to make it possible for train operations to be privatised, but it was in no way compulsory to then proceed to privatise them:

Quote

In 1991, following the successful Swedish example and wishing to create an environment where new rail operators could enter the market, the European Union issued EU Directive 91/440.[9] This required of all EU member states to separate 'the management of railway operation and infrastructure from the provision of railway transport services, separation of accounts being compulsory and organisational or institutional separation being optional', the idea being that the track operator would charge the train operator a transparent fee to run its trains over the network, and anyone else could also run trains under the same conditions (open access).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatisation_of_British_Rail

The UK government could have privatised the network in a way that kept track and train in the same hands as long as the companies were accounting for them separately, but it chose not to.

A very simple counterexample to your claim that "rail privatization in the UK was driven by the EU", why are German trains run by a single state owned company, Deutsche Bahn? Last time I checked Germany is in the EU.

Edited by Dorkins

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7 hours ago, MarkG said:

Yeah, if you have large amounts of goods that need to be moved from point A to point B and there's a railway line between them. If you don't produce goods at point A and sell them at point B, you'll have to load them on a truck to get to point A, then load them onto another truck at point B, so in most cases you might as well just drive the truck the whole way.

But, more important than that, shipping large amounts of goods around is about to go away. Why do that when you can just make them locally?

A truck? More like dozens or hundreds of trucks.

How many goods are made locally these days? And why do you think that's going to change? I hope this isn't another "3D printing is the answer to every manufacturing problem" argument. The raw materials still need to get about too - most of the freight trains near me are from the quarries for example.

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21 hours ago, Bluestone59 said:

 Yes, I did say "almost everything". Thatcher's governments swerved privatising Royal Mail, I did wonder at the time whether rail was viewed in the same way.

A lot of increased rail traffic must be down to the cost of driving, congestion and difficulty in parking and a bigger population.  I don't get the feeling that rail companies, other than Chiltern Rail, should be congratulating themselves too much for this increased usage.

As for how much rail should be subsidised, last I heard the extent of it was over 4x the British Rail subsidy.

There's a story today that Stagecoach took a £35m divi out of East Coast before handing back the keys. If true, this isn't going to help sentiment. I still believe that trades union stupidity in the past opened the door to this kind of abuse. 

Is that 4x British Rail subsidy adjusted for inflation, and does is take account of the considerable investment in infrastructure, which BR neglected?

The international rail subsidy comparison is reported here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_subsidies

The figures for Euro million subsidy per billion passenger km are:

Germany  210

France      160

UK               60

You get what you pay for.

By the way the pre nationalization railways were not great money makers despite running virtual monopolies in their regions, and were pretty well wrecked during WW2 due to lack of maintenance and investment. However, they were showing interesting signs of innovation before 1948, but nationalization to a great extent stopped that trend towards modernization and rationalization.

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35 minutes ago, onlooker said:

Is that 4x British Rail subsidy adjusted for inflation, and does is take account of the considerable investment in infrastructure, which BR neglected?

The international rail subsidy comparison is reported here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rail_subsidies

The figures for Euro million subsidy per billion passenger km are:

Germany  210

France      160

UK               60

You get what you pay for.

By the way the pre nationalization railways were not great money makers despite running virtual monopolies in their regions, and were pretty well wrecked during WW2 due to lack of maintenance and investment. However, they were showing interesting signs of innovation before 1948, but nationalization to a great extent stopped that trend towards modernization and rationalization.

Have to come out with my hands up in not being able to recall the exact definition. That may be because the increase seemed shockingly large and left me feeling it made the point even without much questioning. My understanding was that it was the increased operating subsidy which I would assume includes the cost of hiring rolling stock and maintaining track but not projects like Crossrail. 

So I guess quoting a number without being totally clear as to what it means is not that helpful.

The lower UK subsidy is reflected in the much higher fares than almost anywhere, allegedly.  Allegedly, as I have never used a train outside the UK.

Pre 1948 I believe the LNER lost the most money and GWR made a profit. The trend towards innovation may well have come to a halt even without state ownership. 

It's hard to make money out of rail which is one reason for the Tories' aversion thereto, which to be fair to them is not that bad a reason. Chiltern Rail seem to manage financially though.

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Chris Grayling has warned the Commons that far-right demonstrations seen across Europe could occur on the streets of the UK if MPs do not follow through with the 2016 referendum result. The Transport Secretary’s comments come as cabinet colleague Jeremy Hunt warned no Brexit is becoming more and more likely while billionaire Leave donors admitted they had “given up” on ever seeing the UK quit the European Union. Mr Grayling was speaking as Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement hangs by a thread ahead of its Commons judgement in just three days.

 

https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1071022/brexit-latest-news-brexit-warning-leave-remain-withdrawal-agreement-theresa-may

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https://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/1082991/brexit-news-chris-grayling-banned-calais-Jean-Marc-Puissesseau-bypass-port-no-deal

Mr Puissesseau said: “We didn’t ask for Brexit, but we have spent the money for traffic to flow regularly.”

He then said Mr Grayling was so hated in Calais he would have to be pushed through the traffic light system himself to be able to get into France.

Mr Puissesseau said: “I have heard he is ‘failing Grayling'...He will have to have a declaration if he comes to Calais. He will have to go through the orange lane.” 

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1 hour ago, prozac said:

He is 150/1 to be the next Prime minister 

8A93D24B-35F4-4CD2-B7BA-EDD1ADC43931.png

We are now living in a time when if a bookie even offers you as much as 4/1 about anything it's very unlikely to come in.  Unless the field is a pretty big one.

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2 hours ago, Trump Invective said:

I have an advert for a gig by Madness to the right of this thread - some algorithm or other is spot on  🤣

This is what i have on my right.

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-06 at 19.19.46.png

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