Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rising UK Train fares

Train fares for some tickets and networks across the UK are to rise by 7% next year!! Will trains be 7% more punctual, will there be 7% more seats for commuter trains. Will trains run 7% more frequently? I somehow doubt it!

How will a 7% rise encourage more people onto the trains easing traffic congestion? Particularly when services appear to be as shoddy and unreliable as ever. Especially galling for the non regular train user such as myself (weekend trips to London being about the extent of my train use), is the huge subsidy from the Government>Taxpayer>Me of approximately 50% of the total train running costs.

In defence of these rises, the spokesman said that the West Coast main line is now completed and Hastings train station has been revamped. Great!! Great news then if you live in Hastings and wish to travel up to Glasgow!! What about all the other poor commuters suffering from greater stress that Fighter Pilots and Police, in and around London who have to put up with seatless travel into and out of London twice each weekday to earn their crust?

MPs, David Blunkett and their private lives

David Blunkett (UK Home Secretary) seems to be in a spot of bother over his married lover's nanny and a fast track Visa application. So be it. It seems like he is going to fall on his sword here if the press continue with more "exciting" revelations.

You cannot ever justify a Home secretary getting involved, no matter how innocently, with individual Visa applications, particularly when he talks about limiting immigration. The Buck does stop with him and he should go.

As for Tony Blair saying that what an MP does in their private lives should remain private so long as it does not interfere with their jobs. This sounds reasonable, however, I don't recall him ever saying this when bashing the "weaknesses and foibles" of Conservative MPs prior to the 1997 General Election. Even a couple of weeks ago, he didn't say this when Boris Johnson was being sacked from the Shadow Cabinet!!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Traffic Congestion

Wouldn't it be great if there was no traffic congestion? Everyone could travel wherever they wished with no fear of getting caught in a traffic jam. This must seems to be the Utopia and certainly a noble goal that Ministers, and their electorate, the great travelling masses dream of whilst stuck on the M25 on a Monday morning.

It strikes me that no matter what Minsters do, whether it is building more roads, road pricing, multiple occupancy lanes or one of numerous other solutions, traffic congestion is something that will never go away. It will never improve overall but then, it will never worsen significantly either.

Every couple of months, some think tank will produce "shocking" research that if traffic growth continues at it's current rate then London, for example, will grind to a halt within five years. This is nonsense. People do have alternative means of transport and can make sensible!?! choices. These choices may be "sticky" in the short term ie unable to take the train to work or can only drive to work. In the longer term though, you can possibly relocate to be closer to your workplace, change your job so that you do not have to commute as far or chnage your mode of transport. I cannot ever see the time when I would willingly drive to work across London if traffic is not flowing at all!!

The typical response from all shades of government is to restrict traffic growth by increasing petrol and diesel prices with a nod and a wink to the green lobby. The most significant transport cost for me is the car purchase price and annual costs such as Insurance, Vehicle Excise Duty, Car service and MOT. As these are all significant costs in their own right, it unfortunately becomes the case that the more I use my car, the cheaper the average cost per mile becomes!! Perverse logic I know, but there we are, get out and drive!!

Identity Cards

The next big anti terrorist idea is to give everyone in the UK an ID card. How is this expected to protect the UK from terrorists? Passports can already be faked, carrying an ID card will not be obligatory, if you are requested to show your ID, you will have seven days grace (presumably terrorists will believe it to be a fair cop and will turn up at the police station with their fake ID).

How will it be organised, who should pay the £10bn estimated cost of it and why will it take so long to implement? ID cards were issued at the start of World War 2 when they were required, not six years later when they were no longer required. How did our grandparents achieve this before the first true computers had even been invented?

Not only is there a £10bn cost, but each individual will have to pay an additional £85 for their own card. What's that all about!?!


Welcome. Well, we have finally got a blog on the web. I just hope it goes well!!

The purpose of this blog is to be a foil to the Labour party's