Train comps’ huge lengths to cover for striking guards they say don’t need

As Skwawkbox points out this is a massive amount of effort being put in to cover “non-essential” roles!


keep guardsThe latest in a series of strikes around the country are set to hit rail operators who are pushing for DOO (driver-only operation) in a drive to eliminate guards on their trains. For the operators, it’s all about saving money – a leaked report put that beyond doubt.

For unions, the key issue is the critical role played by their members in the safety of rail users and the general public – even the leaked report on cost savings acknowledges the risk of more – and more severe – accidents if guards are eliminated.

The rail operators, at least publicly, claim that the guards’ role is non-essential and that putting a customer-service manager on some trains is enough – but considering that they don’t think their trains need guards, they seem to be going to extensive lengths to cover shifts of guards during the strike action.

The striking guards…

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Autism Acceptance Month

Setting the scene for Autism Acceptance Month, explaining why the original title, Autism Awareness Month is no longer acceptable. Numerous links and photographs.


This post is by way of setting the stage for April, which starts tomorrow after all. As well as my own stuff this contains links from other autism related sources. The title of the post begs a question…


There are two parts to the answer to this question:

  1. The original title is tainted by its associations. A very large organisation which I shall not name (think blue jigsaw pieces though) which presents itself as an autism charity but should be treated as a hate group uses this name. Although I am separated from this organisation by the width of the Atlantic Ocean I am a thoroughgoing internationalist and therefore stand in solidarity with autistic folk across the pond and refuse to use the tainted title.
  2. Even aside from being tainted the title is not fit for purpose. Awareness by itself means precisely nothing. I have created a simple graphic showing how things needs to progress from the basic starting point of awareness:
    It is from that final goal of acceptance that the alternative title, coined across the Atlantic for reasons I have already stated, and gratefully adopted by me, comes. I have chosen white text against a purple background for my graphic because purple is the colour used by the National Autistic Society (NAS), and I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolk.


I start with this section with a link to a very detailed listing of blogs by people who are #actuallyautistic. To view this valuable resource in full please click on the screenshot below:


Next up is a piece from Eclectic Autistic titled “Wrong Model, Wrong Research”. This piece attacks what the author calls our society pathologizing difference and I recommend that you read it, which you can do by clicking on the title above.

Now we come to one of the pieces that inspired this post. It was created my mamautistic, and has the title “Being Autistic is Everything – Autistic Acceptance” and you can access it by clicking the image below.

Next we come to a good news story from the Irish Times. Shannon Airport has become the first airport in the world to open a sensory room for the benefit of autistic passengers. For the full story click on the graphic below which is taken from it.

Ryan Cunningham (4) from Gaelscoil Donncha Rua, Shannon tries out Shannon Airport’s new sensory room.  Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/True Media

We now come to a special subsection of this sharing section of the post…


The silentwaveblog has played a major role in inspiring this post, with one post in particular, the last of the three I shall be sharing, virtually setting the creation of this post in motion. 

  1. This piece, titled “The Double Edged Sword of Labels in the Autistic World”, is quite simply the best analysis of the rights and wrongs of labelling that I have ever come across. It also ends with a splendid vision of a future that may just be within reach. To read in full please click on the image below.
  2. Next we have “The problem with the OWN channel’s ‘For Peete’s Sake’ reality show“, which is an excellent critique of a newly launched TV show. This show may (being charitable) have been created with the intention of being part of the solution but it is quite clear from silentwave’s analysis that poor/ absent research plus maybe a bit of laziness has turned it into part of the problem. Click on the image below to read in full.
  3. The post that I regard as having pushed the starter button for this one was put up the day before yesterday and is titled “Update, March 29: what I’ve been doing lately & Autism Awareness Month“. I posted a comment in response to it when I first saw it, and the enthusiastic response from silentwave to that comment prompted to me to expand on it here. To read it in full please click on the graphic below.


This video, called Amazing Things Happen, has already been viewed almost 2.5 million times. Having seen it on facebook I offer you this link. Below is Amazing Things Happen’s own description of the video:

Amazing Things Happen

An introduction to autism that aims to raise awareness among young non-autistic audiences, to stimulate understanding and tolerance in future generations.

It is intended to be viewed, discussed and shared widely by anyone but especially teachers and parents.


Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I always like to include some of my own photographs somewhere in my posts. Since this post is by way of being an introduction to Autism Acceptance Month I decided to theme this section created from one of my special interests, photography, around another, railwayana. You will note the use of the phrase “special interest” in preference to “obsession”, with the latter having negative connotations. Similarly it is preferable to refer to Autistic Spectrum Conditions rather than Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Here are those pictures…

This was given to me by a work colleague (four images).


These are the pictures I took of lot 369 and said in my previous post that I would be sharing them on here. I omitted to capture the text for cards 41-50, but otherwise this gallery is complete and has some close ups as a bonus.


You will notice that having started with British cards this set also has some international ones.


The first of eight close up pictures, each of which features two cards. Only one of the four pairs of cards chosen for this treatment is British.


The only British trains to merit a close-up in my gallery.


I end this piece with another showing of the graphic that appeared in the introduction and then a final message:



Cricket, Aeroplanes and Music

A brief account of the state of play in the current test match, an account of the fly by and two concerts tthat were part of the 65th King’s Lynn Festival, some cool links and some impressive and imortant infographics.


As well as my subject matter as indicated above including photographs, I also have some links and infographics to share with you.


Yesterday was the third days play in the second test match between England and Australia at Lords. It was England’s least bad day of the match so far, but they were so far adrift going into it that they needed rather more than a decent day. Australia at 108-0 in their second innings lead by 362 and the obvious plan for them is to lash up as many runs as they can in the morning session and then leave England a mountain of Olympus Mons proportions to climb in the final five sessions of the game.


My outside space was an ideal position from which to view the advertised fly by happening as part of the King’s Lynn festival. It was on the aeroplane’s third pass that I was finally able to get some pictures (six in total)…

All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.
All the publicity about this event referred to a spitfire, but apparently, according to some who have already seen my pictures on twitter it is actually a Dakota.

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Once the day’s action had finished in the cricket it was off to King’s Lynn Minster for the first of two concerts taking place yesterday evening. There was a blanket ban on photography at the event, so I have few pictures…

Some detail about the first concert.
Some detail about the first concert.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.
The one internal pic I got before being told about the no photography rule.

This concert was splendid. The Vivaldi and Manfredini pieces were particularly impressive, while the Vejvanovsky was a splendid introduction to a composer that few of us had previously heard of. The lead violinist, Bojan Cicic by name, proved to be a quite superb performer.

At the end of this concert we just had time to visit my aunt’s house before the start of the second concert, a violin and harpsichord duet playing works by Telemann (the most prolific of all composers), Buxtehude and J S Bach (who as young man walked 200 miles each way for the privelege of witnessing Buxtehude in action – no recordings in them thar days!).

This mini concert was every bit as good as the first one had been – no evening of two halves this time. I got some photographs of the Minster’s light show (one of several dotted around the town)…

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My first two links both come courtesy of Vox Political:

1)The Lords earning their £400 per day.

2)Continuing to heap pressure on the government re death toll after fit for work tests.

My next three links concern a 38 Degrees petition on the subject of fracking:

1)The petition itself

2)The link to share on facebook

3)The link to share on twitter

My next link is by way of a shout out to my most recent follower on aspiblog, and takes to you to their site, luckyottershaven.

My last two links relate to electoral reform and segue nicely into the the infographics:

1)The original petition

2)The Thunderclap, to which you can still add your voice for about another eight hours.


Voting Reform

My next infographic is a reminder of what things were like before trade unions existed:


The third and final infographic I am sharing in this post is about housing today and comes by way of London mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell…



I hope that you have enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed creating it and that some of you will be inspired to share it!

Another Great Test Match in the Making


As well as my title piece, I have my usual selection of links, infographics and photos to share with you.


In spite of the interventions of Jupiter Pluvius (a mischievous deity who specialises in interrupting test match play in England) the truncated day’s play we got yesterday at Headingley was sufficient to indicate that we are in for another classic test match. Luke Ronchi, making his test match debut for New Zealand, scored a spectacular 89, and the scoring rate was lively throughout. The pitch offered plenty to bowlers throughout, but any error in length or direction was liable to be punished. James Anderson became the first England bowler to take 400 test wickets. It is possible that this will not be the only historic milestone to feature in this match – if Cook bats well he could become the first England batsman to amass 9,000 test runs. The second day is just under way, and a mere six minutes in to the day a six has already been hit – and a wicket has been taken by the very next ball. Yesterday was a wonderful day for cricket lovers – after play finished at Headingley there was commentary on the T20 Blast (20 overs each per side) game between Essex and Somerset, which ended in a tie. Chris Gayle making his debut for Somerset scored an explosive 92, giving the houses adjoining the ground a peppering.


I have no fewer than six high quality infographics from various sources to share with you…

A reminder for those who are sceptical about trade unions of where we would be without them.
A reminder for those who are sceptical about trade unions of where we would be without them.

Nationalisation RejectReligion Trickle Down Fraud Welfare Action Welfare Cuts



First up in this section, an article highlighting some indefensible behaviour and attitudes from those running a Jewish school in north London.

Second, a cardinal who has described the Irish as ‘worse than pagans’ following their decision to legalise gay marriage.

Third, courtesy of Patheos, the source piece for the infographic about teenagers rejecting religion.


My first link in this section follows on from the stuff about religion, and comes with a very impressive picture. It comes courtesy of Huffington Post and features a creationist who discovered a 60,000,000 year old fossil fish.

This is the fossil fish in all its glory.
This is the fossil fish in all its glory.

My other science piece for you comes from wildlife articles and is about a volcanic eruption in the Galapagos Islands.


My first link in this section comes from The Poor Side of Life and tells a truly shocking story.

Tax Research UK, often a source of valuable information, provide this piece about a new form of tax dodging.

Finally in this section, we come to a story from Welfare Tales which provides ironclad evidence that jobcentres DO HAVE SANCTIONS TARGETS.


This is my final subsection of the links section, and includes three items. Of course, this entire blog is strongly anti-discrimination, but these three pieces relate more specifically to that concern than anything else in this post. First up, the S*n have been hammered by IPSO over the despicable behaviour of their columnist Rod Liddle in relation to Emily Brothers, who is both blind and transgendered. Enjoy this piece from zelo-street.

My second piece in this subsection comes from across the pond bpecial neey way of Disability Scoop and concerns schools (ab)using truancy laws to get rid of children with special needs.

My final piece, again from the other side of the Atlantic concerns a large donation made to college by the mother of an autistic student by way of thanking them.


I hope you have enjoyed this post and that you will share it. To finish off I have a few pictures for you…

These dragonfly jewels were on display in the window of the Salvation Army shop in Fakenham
These dragonfly jewels were on display in the window of the Salvation Army shop in Fakenham

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This detail is from the side of St James MCP, from outside which i shall be catching the bus next week.
This detail is from the side of St James MCP, from outside which i shall be catching the bus next week.