Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Strangers On A Train

The "Traingate" tale has filled the media and the web with fun of many kinds.  So Jeremy Corbyn's media advisers and PR decide to pull a train stunt to beef up the long and boring proposal to "renationalise" the railways.  Given the amount of state money, regulation and franchise details involved the private bit does seem on the small side.

But doh!  Trains these days have modern surveillance systems that allow wide coverage of who travels and how.  Also, they are full of people with gizmo's that might allow a fellow traveller to reach out to the world all at the push of a few buttons.  If Jeremy had done an imitation of Luke Kelly of The Dubliners singing "Paddy On The Railway" it would have gone world wide in minutes.

The Youtube clip of this one is from The Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, but perhaps Jeremy is more James Joyce, G.B. Shaw or W.B. Yeats than Luke. Although, if Shaw he might have tried the song from "My Fair Lady", "All I want is a room somewhere...." sung plaintively by Eliza needing houseroom rather than train room.

While on the entertainment route, the contest between Jeremy and Owen Smith as to who offers the biggest disaster for the Labour Party is becoming more and more like something from the old "Steptoe And Son" TV series from the past.  This is where father Albert and son Harold argue about everything, often politics and policy, such as "Tea For Two" from 1970.

The blissful unreality of their debates and beliefs given what happened during the 70's is a poignant reminder that today's notions, or rather yesterday's polished up for the media and an electorate with a dislike of change are no better.  If the Steptoe's were misinformed and determined to impose a past on the future, they were well short of Corbyn and Smith.

There is the question of who the current franchisers are in the discussions of ownership of the railways.  One is Deutsche Bundesbahn, touted as the best and most efficient of systems.  But those of us who take a look at German news now see an increasing number of accidents and crashes.  All that one time German efficiency is a thing of the past and it is beginning to show.

So if either Jeremy or Owen start talking about the German model as to the one to go for it may be time to check the coach services out on line.

At least you won't get politicians pulling stunts next to the toilets.


  1. Now mix all this in with driverless trains and trains which have to think for themselves when to open doors and there's a comedy programme for the BBC.

  2. I recently stumbled across a fine episode (The Lead Man Cometh) of Steptoe And Son which neatly illustrates your point.

    A dodgy character (Leonard Rossiter) offers them a load of cheap scrap lead. Father and son argue about how legitimate the lead is while all the time it is being nicked from their own roof. They only find out when the rain comes.