In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.
Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.
The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.
Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:
This is the final post I shall be producing about my first visit to my parent’s new home in Cornwall. There will be photographs of all the publicity materials that I picked up while down there, captioned where appropriate with links to the posts that they relate to, except for one section where I am following the route of my journey to Penzance and flag that at the start of the entire section. Thus, this post will contain links to every other post I have produced about the visit.
THE PUBLICITY MATERIALS
We start with…
THE RAME PENINSULA OFFICIAL LEAFLET
This is the particular area in which my parents new home is located, so in one sense it relates to all of the previous posts in this series…
Next we have…
A DOUBLE SIDED RAILWAY MAP
This features the Great Western Railway network map on one side and the whole national railway network on the other:
Our next port of call is…
A SOUTH DEVON GUIDE
This is a stout little booklet, with a pictorial map as a centrepiece:
Next we come to…
A SELECTION OF RAILWAYANA
These are all unrelated to anything I blogged about, but represent things to consider for future visits…
We are now going to cover…
CORNISH TRAIN JOURNEYS
For most of this section we will be following the route of my journey to Penzance, but first a couple of pics to set the scene…
Now starting our survey of stuff that relates closely to my Saturday journey we begin with the St Germans Walk…
Continuing our westward journey our next diversion is at St Austell where those so minded can catch a 101 bus to The Eden Project (the officially recommended way of visiting that great attraction – they are not great admirers of the motor car).
Before arriving at the destination for our next section we give a passing wave to Camborne Town:
My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.
We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.
The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:
On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:
I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…
PLYMOUTH – LONDON
This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…
LONDON TO KING’S LYNN
I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM.
An account of the journey to Penzance, setting the scene for my next post, about Penzance itself.
This is continuing my account of my visit to Cornwall. We have reached Saturday, which for me featured a trip to England’s westernmost commercial railway station (note England not Britain – Arisaig on the Glasgow-Mallaig line in Scotland is further west), Penzance. The closest station in time terms to my parent’s new home is St Germans, and that is where my train journey started.
St Germans is completely unstaffed, and therefore, since there is no one to maintain it, has no ticket machines either. Tickets are purchased from the conductor once you are on the train. You are only allowed to do this at unstaffed stations – boarding without a ticket at a station where you can purchase one renders you liable to a penalty fare of £20 (I heard another passenger who had done this escaping with a warning not to do it again).
I had a bit of time at St Germans (given that the next train to call at St Germans was two hours later this was indubitably the sensible position to be in. Here are some photographs from the station…
The ticket issued by the onboard conductor is much bigger than a standard train ticket.
THE JOURNEY TO PENZANCE
Taking pictures through the windows of a moving train is not especially easy, although I did at least have a window seat for the entire journey, so was never shooting across people. After leaving St Germans the train called at Liskeard (change for the Looe branch line), Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel (although the name might suggets otherwise as far as I am aware no elves live here!), Par (trains to Newquay depart from here), St Austell, Truro (Falmouth services diverge here), Redruth, Camborne, Hayle, St Erth (branch line to St Ives from here) and Penzance. Here are the pictures from this journey…
These pictures were taken both on arrival at Penzance, and towards the end of my time in Penzance.
A photographic account of Downham Market, an old market town in Norfolk.
As those of you who read the post I put up earlier today will know I spent part of Saturday in the town of Downham Market. These post showcases everything I saw there other than the Town Hall.
This was my first visit to Downham Market, as opposed to passing through the station en route to further afield destinations. The pictures here were taken at two distinct periods, in the morning immediately post arrival, and in the afternoon when I had rather more time to kill than I would have wished. The only way across the tracks at Downham Market is by way of a level crossing, and the train from London to King’s Lynn arrives just before the one going the other way. The crossing gates close a couple of minutes before the King’s Lynn train arrives and stay closed until the London train has departed, which means that if you are looking to catch the King’s Lynn train, which departs from the far platform from the town centre and the crossing gates close you have missed it, and such was my fate on Saturday. For those affected this also explains both my later than usual arrival at the venue for Musical Keys and the fact that I was a tad breathless when I got there – I had stepped off a train at 15:20 at King’s Lynn and walked straight out to the Scout Hut in something of a hurry.
THE REST OF DOWNHAM MARKET
I start with two pictures to set the scene, a huge pictorial map which can be seen in the town centre and the information board about the railway:
The ‘Downham’ part of Downham Market comes from Anglo-Saxon (afterall, we are in the lands of the North Folk of the East Angles) and literally means ‘homestead on a hill’, and indeed the market town that grew up around that homestead (it has been a market town since Anglo-Saxon times) is slightly elevated from the surrounding countryside, which in Norfolk constitutes being on a hill! These photos are presented in the order in which they were taken.
I realised that there could be only one explanation for a signpost in cengtral Downham Market giving the distance to the town of Civray, namely that the two towns are twinned. Civray for the record is pretty much exactly halfway between Poitiers and Angouleme, due east of La Rochelle. I include a map as well as a close up of the sign.
Some thoughts on shared space streets and Exhibition Road in particular.
Much of this post will also be appearing on my London Transport themed website as well as here because of the location of the particular shared space road that brought this issue to my attention. That location is of course Exhibition Road, London – a location very familiar to me from when I lived in London and was a regular visitor to museums. Here is a map for you to orient yourselves:
WHAT IS A SHARED SPACE ROAD?
A shared space road is a road without pavements, with no clear distinctions between where cars, cyclists and pedestrians should be. According to some this arrangement reduces accidents. However, a recent incident on London’s Exhibition Road has called this into question. Here is a tweet from campaign group Transport for All:
This (to me) raises two questions to be taken in turn:
CAN SHARED SPACE ROADS WORK?
I am uncertain on this one and will welcome evidence from people with experience of shared space roads in their localities. My own view is that they could work but the following is necessary:
Clear signage explaining what a shared space road is and what that means.
A very low speed limit for motor vehicles (even lower than the 20mph which is now commonplace in the vicinity of schools) fiercely enforced – speeding on a shared space street should be punished more severely than speeding elsewhere because of the greater risk of hitting someone.
Referring back to my first bullet point it needs to made clear that motorists are always expected to give way to cyclists and pedestrians.
Given what I know of London drivers I do not think that London is the right city to be trialling these (although Rome and Paris would both clearly by even worse options!)
My name is Andrew and I work for Nicola at Tour London. Nicola is a tour guide in London UK who takes individuals and groups to the most famous landmarks in London, as well as discovering hidden gems along the way! We were wondering if it were possible for us to appear on your “links” page in any way given that we share such a similar topic.
Alternatively would you be interested in content pieces? Nicola has a vast knowledge of London and would love to share it with your audience. Finally, If not content, do you have any other advertising opportunities?
Naturally, I was delighted to receive such a communication, and I have since put in some links, done a special post about this site and ‘pressed’ a couple of their pieces. Please visit londontu.be to read about this in more detail, and then explore tourlondon to see what they have to offer.
WE OWN IT – TRANSPORT
The campaign group weownit have created a resource with the catchy title Privatisation Fails. Below is a screenshot of the homepage for this resource:
30 years ago, our bus services were deregulated and privatised. This has been a disaster for our buses. Fares went up and routes that weren’t profitable were cut, meaning you now pay more for less. In 2017, the Bus Service Users Bill was passed, which included a clause which bans local councils from creating their own public bus companies.
On this page are the Big Five bus companies that grew out of deregulation and privatisation in the 1980s – together they control 70% of the bus travel industry in the UK. Many of these companies either own, or are owned by, rail companies as well.
Read more about bus services, and how and why we want to bring them into public ownership, here.
British Rail was broken up and privatised between 1994 and 1997, and since then rail services in the UK have been provided by private companies. There are 16 rail franchises in the UK, where the government gives train companies funding to run services for a certain period.
Many of the companies that run our trains are European state-owned companies who reinvest millions of pounds a year in dividends from their British operations into their own transport systems. As you’ll see, these companies often own franchises within franchises. You might be surprised to learn who owns your morning commute! We’ve also listed three ‘ROSCOs’ or rolling stock companies, who lease trains to rail companies.
Read more about the privatisation of rail and what we can do about it here.
Royal Mail workers have voted by a huge margin to take strike action. The official voting figures are:
This means that 65.593% of all those eligible to vote cast their vote in favour of strike action. I did this calculation myself, entirely in my head, but here for the record is how to get there…
Calling Turnout T and Yes votes Y and Overall Percent Yes as O we have O = TY/100. Putting the known figures into this we have O = (73.7 x 89)/100. To avoid decimals until absolutely necessary we change this to O = (737 x 89)/1000. To calculate 737 x 89 we can reduce to single figure calculations as follows:
737 x 89 = (700 x 89) + (30 x 89) + (7 x 89), and then splitting these up 700 x 89 = (700 x 80) + (700 x 9), 30 x 89 = (30 x 80) + (30 x 9) and 7 x 89 = (7 x 80) + (7 x 9). We now have a series of multiplications which can all be treated as single figure multiplications, with in some cases zeroes to be stuck on the end. Multiplying them out gives us 56,000 + 6,300 + 2,400 + 270 +560 + 63. Adding these together we get 65,593, and dividing by 1,000 requires a decimal point to go between the first and second five, giving us 65.593%. PS It took a lot longer writing this out than performing the calculations in my head!