When it comes to the railways, everyone’s an expert, no matter how pitiful their expertise, and to illuminate this by the light of their burning trousers has come the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who know sweet Jack about the rail industry. Staines personally took charge to tell “Socialist Disease is Returning – Support for Nationalisation of Railways on the Rise”.
The Great Guido ponders upgrading to a larger seat
Go on then, O Great Guido, give us all a laugh: “Crowded commuter trains and shoddy services are blamed on the privatised rail companies. People forget how truly abysmal the railways were when they were nationalised and called British Rail”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here. One, Network Rail, which owns and runs the tracks, and almost all the stations, is nationalised already.
And two, the business-led BR of the late 80s and early 90s gave a pretty good service and excellent taxpayer value, which, for the 90% plus of the population who do not use trains regularly, was A Very Good Thing. Try again: “The left goes on about public subsidies to private profit, which is true and something of which Guido would normally disapprove, however the alternative is to close the railway network”.
King's Cross Station, London
YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING CALLED BR WHICH DIDN’T DO PRIVATE PROFIT. But do dig yourself in deeper: “The truth is that very few railway services anywhere in the world outside metropolises are economically viable”. Hello Fawkes folks! Inter-City passenger services, which by definition venture outside metropolitan areas, are the country’s most lucrative.
But if you don’t succeed, er, suck some more seed: “This has basically been the case since the automobile became ubiquitous, and the situation has worsened as flying has become relatively cheaper”. What happened to Nigel “Thirsty” Farage last Friday afternoon? And what happened to regular flights from London to Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and other cities? Faster rail services killed them off.
Eurostar at St Pancras International
The Great Guido, though, does not allow such inconvenient detail to detain him, as he goes into full panic mode: “The rail companies and the utilities better start investing in self-defence and explaining their case to the public”. They already do – it’s called the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC). Any pundit who knew one end of the industry from the other would not need telling this.
Then, to put the lid on the Fawkes rabble’s lamentable show, a follow-up post tells “people forget how truly abysmal the railways were when they were nationalised and called British Rail”. The author of that post was Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham. When the sell-offs began in 1994, he was all of three years old.
All of which proves that those who know bugger all about the railways only make themselves look daft by advertising the fact. Another fine mess, once again.