One thing that is already clear from the first day of 2018: there are plenty in the Press Establishment more than willing to continue sticking two fingers up to the memory of Stanley Baldwin’s admonition, and to carry on exercising Power Without Responsibility. And in the vanguard of this less than totally principled movement is, as so often, the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre and his obedient hackery at the Daily Mail.
Which c*** f***ing says I don't know what I'm f***ing talking about, c***?!?
This has manifested itself in the usual combination of hypocrisy and playing both sides of the field, in today’s front page lead “As passengers face inflation-busing fare rises, delayed trains and strike misery, bosses line up multimillion pound pay deals … RAIL FAT CATS’ HAPPY NEW YEAR”. Do as Dacre says, not as he does: the Vagina Monologue has just lined up, er, a multimillion pound pay deal for Himself Personally Now.
So what is the Mail’s beef? “Rail bosses are in line to receive multimillion-pound pay packages this year, as passengers face inflation-busting fare hikes, delays and strikes”. All four of the “rail bosses” the paper attempts to name and shame are CEOs not of rail operators, but the Transport and Service industry conglomerates whose empires include those operators. So their pay isn’t just down to running trains.
She who cannot be blamed for anything
But that is a mere taster for yet more moaning: “Tomorrow, passengers will be hit by an average fare increase of 3.4 per cent - the biggest in five years. It will add hundreds of pounds to the cost of some season tickets”. As I’ve been forced to point out before, it has been the policy of successive Governments that those who actually use the railway - a minority of the population - should pay more of the cost of running it.
That means above-inflation fare increases. It is not down to the bosses the Mail targets - they are working within increasingly tightly-defined contracts where most of what they do is specified by the Government, which Dacre and his goons support uncritically. Of course, fares could go down - but that would mean putting more public money into the railways. Would the Mail care to support that? Would they stuff. The Mail will not blame the player responsible - the Government - because Dacre is up their arses.
And fewer people are switching to rail because not only are fares increasing, the cost of motoring has not, because, guess what? If the Government made motorists pay more of the overall cost of the road network, the Dacre doggies would be down on them like a tonne of bricks, whining about the non-existent “War on the motorist”.
On top of that, the sheer ignorance of the subject is just grating: “A study said trains on Britain's railways are a record 21 years old on average, with some built in the 1970s”. The average age of train carriages is typically as much as 40 years. Do the math.
Wrong franchise TWICE
This extends to inept photo captions, like “Stagecoach, which runs East Midlands and part-owns the Virgin East Coast (pictured) and West Coast franchise”. Wrong. The train shown is a Pendolino, at Euston. West Coast. It’s not the only howler: we also get “Rupert Soames, chief executive of Serco, which operates the Caledonian Sleeper and part controls Merseyrail”. The train pictured is not Caledonian Sleeper, nor Merseyrail.
The Mail is ranting to no purpose. If Government were to move in the direction suggested by the article, it would whine even louder. And its subject ignorance is unforgivable.