Wednesday, December 19, 2012

They are all honourable men

As I said in October: Why does everyone assume Andrew Mitchell is guilty of calling the police f***ing plebs? Have we reached the point where Cabinet Ministers are automatically assumed to be liars?
Mr Mitchell should not resign as Chief Whip unless he is not telling the truth. But he has declared to the Prime Minister and the public that he did not say the words attributed to him.
Should we not believe him? He is an honourable man.
Petty bureaucrats dog us at every turn. It can be hard to keep your composure when some pathetic jobsworth is bossing you about – often just because he can.
Still, I have always assumed that if you swear at a policeman, you’ll be arrested no matter if you are a king or a clown, and serve you right.
If the police account of Andrew Mitchell’s rant is true, he should lose his job.
But what if it is untrue? What, then, are the police up to? Are they lying? And, if so, why? To undermine the Government?
One side is not telling the truth. It may be Mr Mitchell but equally it could be the police.
And if it is the police, we should be much more worried than we might be if it’s just a grumpy Minister after a long lunch.
Not sure I have anything to add to that at the moment...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Virgin berth

Having said how appalling Chiltern Trains have become, I tried Virgin instead just days after Richard Branson's outfit won a two-year extension to its franchise.
How anyone could travel on this line is beyond me. Quite apart from the fact that all Virgin trains stink because their loos are basically insanitary, the price is beyond comprehension.
Second class return from Birmingham International to Euston (including car parking, admittedly) is a staggering £166.
It's not worth £20.
The outward journey was OK but when we reached Coventry on the way back the five carriages filled up so much it was standing room only for dozens of people.
So crammed was the train that I feared I might not actually get to the exit door in time before the train moved on.
As for everyone trying to get on the train at Birmingham International having been to the Clothes Show at the NEC, they were treated like refugees or Japanese commuters. I'm surprised there wasn't some Virgin operative employed to shove and push them all on board so the doors would close.
Why does anyone love Richard Branson? His rip-off railway is a bad joke.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Chiltern failways

It's standing room only - yet again - on the Chiltern Trains service to London. What happened to this railway? A few years ago it was the best way from Birmingham to London. Now it's overcrowded, expensive and unreliable. 

Today I tried to park at Warwick Parkway's new car park and almost crashed the car because they had not bothered to treat the top floor, which is open to the elements, despite the icy conditions.
I slipped across the top floor to the stairs lucky and thankful I didn't come a cropper and then had to pay £101.50 for a return ticket to Marylebone. That's because the train left before 9am. About five minutes before. But it stopped at Leamington Spa, we were all kicked off and told to wait for the next (cheaper, overcrowded) train. 

So here we all are, crammed in like sardines and ripped off to boot. Strangely there is no ticket collector. No doubt they will blame staff shortages but the truth is they don't have the courage to face carriages- full of unhappy passengers.