The Curmudgeon


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back on the Rails

In an attempt to distract from the fiascos of the last - oh, how long has it been now? two months? twelve? twenty-six? - anyway, in an attempt to distract from everything he has achieved so far, Daveybloke has decided to start taking some vague interest in the country's infrastructure. Next week, Daveybloke and his little yellow chum will announce a new programme of investment in Britain's railways, involving the electrification of several lines, the re-opening of some which were closed in the sixties and, no doubt, some healthy profiteering by Network Rail. The programme will begin in about two years' time, which will not, of course, guarantee that anything will be done properly, or even done at all; we've had seven years to prepare for the Olympics, and just look at us now. But the time-scale does mean that, during the year before the next general election, both Daveybloke and his little yellow chum will have something to talk about other than the nation's ruin, the incompetence of the last Labour government and the unspeakable depredations of the Euro-wogs. Nevertheless, no initiative by the present administration would be complete without its pasty-tax aspect: that apparently obligatory feature which can be interpreted either as a gratuitous, galumphing cock-up or as a deliberate and calculated gesture of Bullingdon contempt for the proles. In the present case, the pasty-tax aspect is the opening of a line between Oxford and Bletchley, known to tuition-fee fans as the Varsity Line, and to members of the Not Particularly Bright Party as the Brain Line.


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