Some Suggestions Re Public Transport

Some thoughts on public transport, prompted in part by Lord Adonis’ resignation statement.

INTRODUCTION

The timing of this post is due to the resignation statement of Lord Adonis, a man who I have very little in common with, but who hits the nail on the head with his resignation statement, which you can read in full, courtesy of The Guardianhere (an excerpt is reproduced below, courtesy of twitter):

adonisresig

EAST COAST FRANCHISE LOWLIGHTS

The first time the East Coast Franchise hit difficulties, it was being run by National Express. The then government took it into public ownership, albeit with the (stupid) rider that it be reprivatised as soon as it was back in the black. On reprivatisation it passed into the hands of Virgin Trains, run by a combination of tax exile Richard Branson and the Stagecoach Group (as a non-driver who lives in Norfolk I know them too well and like them too little for comfort). The East Coast Franchise is now back in trouble, and the current transport secretary, Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling, as well as being a strong contender in the ‘most incompetent minister ever’ contest is such a ‘private good, public bad’ zealot that rather than take the logical option of taking it back into public ownership is bailing it out at vast cost, thereby setting a horrendous precedent which will enable any other rail franchise that hits trouble to demand a bail out. 

RENATIONALISATION AS START POINT

Not only should the East Coast Franchise be renationalised now, with it being made clear that it will not be privatised again, the whole railway network needs to be renationalised. The Labour party have laid out how this can be achieved – namely by refusing to put each franchise up for tender as and when it expires. For further detail check out We Own It’s Railways page. However, this is only a beginning – both because railways are only one part of public transport – there are also buses, and because one needs to consider how the system should be run. As I was typing this, the following came through on twitter from We Own It:

we own it buses tweet

Bus and railway services need renationalising, and they need to be run jointly. As to how they should be run – well there are two groups of people who should be represented in the body that runs public transport services: those who use the services and those who provide the services. If services are to be publicly owned (and these should be), they need to be fully publicly accountable. 

SOME EXTRA RESOURCES

I have three final links to share which relate to this piece:

  • A second piece from the Guardian on the Adonis Resignation
  • Mike Sivier of Vox Political has offered his take here.
  • The Mirror has demonstrated yet another way in which privatisation is failing us, with fares going up by an average of 3.4% (when we already pay on average five times as much as our fellow Europeans for a service that is probably not even on fifth as good as most of them get – I have travelled extensively in Europe over the years and most countries provide far better services than are available here in Britain) – we have on average the oldest carriages since records began (that average is 21 years old, with the Caledonian Sleeper holding an unwanted record with 42 year old carriages).

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here is you reward for reaching the end of this piece:

TW30TW29TW28climbing squirrelrunning squirrelTW27TW26TW25TW23TW22TW21TW20TW19TW18TW17TW16TW15TW14Sun on the Great Ouse11 lapwingslapwings and gullMallard drakes and white duck

 

Autism, Transport and Renationalisation

Some links, some pictures and solutuons to a few puzzles I had posed earlier.

INTRODUCTION

I have a number of interesting links to share, along with thoughts and photographs of my own and solutions to my last set of puzzles.

AUTISM RELATED LINKS

My first link in this section is to a post titled “Why Is It Necessary To Intervene With The Natural Course Of Being Autistic” published on THE BULLSHIT FAIRY. Here is the most important section of the piece:

Why is it necessary to intervene with the natural course of being Autistic?

“Early” implies that there is a need to “catch” things early, before it progresses.

Autism is not a disease. It is not progressive. It just IS.

It is disrespectful because it ignores our own timing. Autism is a developmental disability and respecting that is important, instead of applying a neurotypical timeline of neurotypical milestones to neurodivergent children.

And while some aspects of occupational therapy and life skills can be beneficial, if there is no respect for each child’s timing, and if it is done in a manner that is compliance based/reward based, and if this is called “Early Intervention”, then it is just another name for ABA”

My next link is to thge early stages of wbhat looks set to be an excellent series of posts. Blogging Astrid is writing a series of posts about autism under the banner #Write31Days. I have two links for you:

My next two links come from firebrightstarsoul and both concern education and autism:

  • Enough to break your heart” which deals with a school day which (due entirely to failings on the part of the school) went very badly wrong. I quote one paragraph, which comes near the end of the story:
    We were told we’d be given parent codes to log in to the school’s app so we could find her missing assignments and help her on the weekend until she’s caught up. She didn’t know where to even find this information on her laptop, and when she tried to tell the teacher she didn’t know what she was supposed to work on, the teacher smirked at her and dismissed her with the pithy remark, “I bet you do.”
  • The one-room school-house” which (unsurprisingly given the above) looks at the possibility of homeschooling. Here is a picture from this piece:

This section concludes with…

TWO SEGUE LINKS

My last two pieces in this section are at the intersect of autism and public transport. First, from the i newspaper comes a piece titled “Travelling as a disabled person: I have autism – it takes me days to recover from one Tube journey“, one of a series a pieces by members of campaigning group Transport for All being published there this week. Here is the image which heads the article:

Claire has autism and says: "The world is a very unpredictable and confusing place."
Claire has autism and says: “The world is a very unpredictable and confusing place.” (Image: Transport for All)

Finally, a petition on the official site for petitioning the UK Parliament, which means that it is only open to UK citizens, calling for a necessary change to the PIP rules. Below is a screenshot link:

PIPP

Please visit, sign and share.

LINKS RELATING TO RENATIONALISATION AND TRANSPORT

My first link in this section is to a piece on Vox Political titled “McDonnell States Labour Will Take Back Rail, Water, Energy and Royal Mail | Beastrabban\’s weblog” This excellent piece sets the stage for the rest of this section. Below is the single most important paragraph, by way of a tempter:

And if Labour does, as I fervently hope, renationalize those industries, I would very much like a form of workers’ control implemented in them. One reason why the Tories were able to privatize these industries was because, when Labour nationalized them after the Second World War, the party was too timid in the form nationalization took. The state took over the ownership of these industries, but otherwise left the existing management structures intact. This disappointed many trade unionists and socialists, who hoped that nationalization would mean that the people, who actually worked in these industries would also play a part in their management.

Since that piece was produced Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has put up a post titled “The public want nationalisation because nationalisation makes sense” in response to a hand-wringing editorial in The Observer, which started from noting that a recent study had revealed the full extent of public support for renationalisation (water – 83% in favour, electricity and gas – 77% in favour andr railways – 76% in favour – leading the way) and went full-on Tory from there, regarding renationalisation as a bad thing and coming with ideas for how this ‘threat’ might be dealt with. Professor Murphy, like me, takes the opposite stand-point, and points out how flawed the Observer piece is. 

PHOTOGRAPHS 1

This set of photographs is of Lot 553 from the auction of Monday September 25th (see this post):

whole mapPastureLand under cultivationOrkney and Shetland islandsExplanatory NoteThe French connectionIrelandKLLondonVarsityIOW

SOLUTIONS TO PUZZLES

The first of three puzzles I set that I have not yet provided answers to was a question from Triva Hive:

In which country is Europe’s only desert located?

a)Italy
b)Greece
c)Poland
d)Spain

I am sufficiently well informed about Italy, Greece and Spain that I was fairly sure that none of them is the answer. Thus, having ruled out the impossibles I was left withe one answer that however improbable must be the true one – Poland. The screenshot below shows that my Sherlockian approach to the question bore fruit:

bledow

The second puzzle was Abbot Foxs “street scramble”:

Puzzle

Unscrambling this gives “Pilling Park Road”, and the map below shows the location of said street:
PPR

The third problem came from brilliant and featured a treasure hunt. Below is the answer:
33

PHOTOGRAPHS

Just before I publish this and head out for a spot of ecotherapy and to top up the photo collection here are some non-tree pics from yesterday:

Moorhen2

Fish
A rarity – a fish sufficiently close to the surface of the Gaywood River that I could take a picture of it that (just about) came out.

C&GCGCgulls and corvidsresting cormorantSwimming ternstag beetleCormorant and gullsbird gathering

 

Exclusive: Southern Railway contract to be investigated by National Audit Office

The real answer, as the organisation We Own It have pointed is a fully publicly owned and controlled railway system, but this is an interesting development regarding the worst rail operator in the country…

Westminster Confidential

southern-railway-train-pic-credit-bbc A Southern Railway train: often overcrowded even if it runs. Pic Credit:BBC

CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM

The badly managed and strike prone Southern Railway contract is to be investigated by Parliament’s financial watchdog, the National Audit Office.

After months if not a years of misery for commuters caused by failing services and strike action over safety  the NAO has quietly decided to investigate the Department of Transport’s  handling of the contract alongside another investigation into the modernisation of Thameslink services. Both are major commuter services  into the capital and both are owner by Govia, the country’s biggest privatised train operator.

The decision by the NAO has been quietly slipped out on its website as an update to the Thameslink investigation without an official announcement. Such a move is bound to cause some consternation for transport secretary, Chris Grayling, and his officials.

Publication of the report due this summer will trigger…

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