One should not expect too much in the way of expertise when it comes to the convocation of rail travel and the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. After all, Zelo Street regulars will recall the magnificent idiocy of the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole, who, when faced with a choice of one station to catch his train from Edinburgh to London, went to the wrong one. It cost him an extra £130. Good.
Trains - difficult for some to understand
And the previous excursion of the Fawkes folks, Cole going after Labour MP Lisa Nandy, was equally unsuccessful, serving only to show that he doesn’t understand just how complex the system of advance fares can be – in Ms Nandy’s case, for journeys between her Wigan constituency and London. And today has brought another howler on rail expenses, this time for a Tory MP.
More brass than sense
This time, the role of Ron Hopeful is played by newly appointed teaboy Alex Wickham, who has been commanded to look though the IPSA database and find some dirt on MPs who are not the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet and suspected serial First Class seat blagger extraordinaire. He has turned up Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski.
“The MP who only travels First Class” is the accusatory headline, followed by the assertion that all Kawczynski’s journeys claimed for under IPSA rules have been for First Class travel. And, a fact that may surprise seasoned watchers of the Fawkes blog well used to its routine dishonesty, this is correct. However – and there has to be a however for this rabble – Wickham has missed one very important caveat.
All of Kawczynski’s claims – like those of Lisa Nandy – have been allowed. So they must have fallen within the rules on rail travel, which are that the maximum allowable is the standard class open, or “Anytime” fare. Kawczynski travels from Euston to either Wolverhampton or Shrewsbury. The relevant single Anytime fare to the former is £83, and to the latter £98. Returns cost twice those amounts.
He's well under the Anytine fare throughout
So if Kawczynski’s claims are below those amounts, he is allowed to claim them. The closest he gets is one single from Euston to Wolverhampton which cost £75. Kawczynski is the tallest MP in Parliament, and the extra room in First Class is surely one reason he takes advantage of book ahead deals to travel in that part of the train. But the Fawkes blog is a long standing animus of his.
And that means putting the boot in whenever the opportunity presents itself, even if it merely shows what a bunch of amateurs the Fawkes rabble are. Meanwhile, Wickham shills for Osborne by pretending that he has said he travels in standard class, and that he “pays his own way”. Not if he blags a First Class seat without paying for it, he doesn’t – and that’s what he’s been caught trying to do.
So that’s another failed attempt at saying “look over there”. Another fine mess.