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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mail Rail Attack Overreach

Following the news that Network Rail (NR) CEO Mark Carne would not now be taking any bonus payment for 2014, after the Christmas engineering work overruns and the shambles that was Finsbury Park on Saturday, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail were clearly emboldened into believing their campaign of outrage meant they were The Ones Wot Won It.
Who's calling me a f***ing hypocrite, c***?!? Er, with the greatest of respect, Mr Jay

So they have returned to the fray today in an effort to discredit not just those who, as NR is now on the Government’s books, work in the public sector, but also those who run the companies that, in turn, have rail franchises as part of their business portfolio. This is a most ambitious campaign, and there is no easy way to break the news to Dacre and his attack doggies: they may as well save their breath.

Why that might be is all too obvious from the Mail’s brief profile of the CEOs they are targeting: these include Rudiger Grube of Deutsche Bahn, Guillaume Pepy of Keolis, and former CEOs Bert Meerstadt of Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Jay Walder of MTR Corporation in Hong Kong. They are all foreign-owned and run companies. The  Germans and French are not about to pay any attention to the Daily Mail.

Of the others listed in the attempt to shame them, Martin Griffiths of Stagecoach, Tim O’Toole of FirstGroup, David Brown of Go-Ahead and Dean Finch of National Express Group are answerable not to the taxpayer, but to their own boards of directors and shareholders. Plus, something the Mail manages not to tell its readers, they oversee other businesses, like all those bus operations that the Mail isn’t fussed about reforming.

Isn’t there anyone in the list who is in the public sector and who can be manoeuvred into the firing line? Michael Holden of Directly Operated Railways, the public company that runs East Coast, is only around until March, because the franchise has been awarded to a joint venture of Stagecoach and Virgin, and his salary of £237k is hardly in the King’s ransom category. But there is always Peter Hendy of TfL.

Hendy has overseen not just the running of the Underground, but also the shambles of the resignalling project for what are called the Sub-Surface Lines (SSLs), the Metropolitan, Circle, District and Hammersmith and City. And he’s backed the New Bus for London, the overweight, unreliable, overpriced Boris Bus that is mainly being rolled out without the much-trailed “hop on, hop off” facility.

But targeting Hendy might need the Mail to do some proper investigative journalism, so the Dacre doggies may not be up to the task. In any case, they would be hamstrung by the knowledge that, when it comes to fat cats, their own editor is the fattest of all. Paul Dacre’s “remuneration package” for last year dwarfs all of the examples shown in the Mail article, coming in at around £2.4 million. Do as the Mail says, not as it does.

What did Stanley Baldwin say about “power without responsibility”? No change there, then.

1 comment:

SteveB said...

If Rudiger Grube is in trouble it will be over some of the goings on in Germany not here!

When will the right-wing, free-market-is-best, Mail understand that the task of a private company is to take money off people for the minimum effort and give it to shareholders (rather like selling the Mail....). The private rail companies do that rather well and therefore their top men earn their bonus.

Now, if their task was to take money off shareholders, invest in decent well run facilities and provide every comfort asked for by passengers with no care for whether the shareholders ever see any money back then they would have questions to answer. But that would be getting close to socialism and we can't have that can we Mr Dacre......