Time to backtrack

If the government can think the unthinkable on the tube, next it should return Railtrack to public control

What would be the public response if an electricity supplier declared they had let their pylons rot, so electricity would now only be available sporadically? Would we passively accept this because “not everyone depends on electricity”? Would the government give the supplier until Easter to sort itself out? Would the newspapers relegate the story to back pages? Not likely. A private company failing to deliver a public utility, especially over Christmas, would be a national scandal.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/dec/19/world.comment

The feel bad factor

The public’s intimate relationship with their car as a ‘second skin’ is what drives their irrational fuel protests

The fuel protests are a ragbag of different interests. Their cause – “cheaper fuel” – is actively unpopular with people concerned about the environment. This is not the stuff of popular revolution. It has only become so because it has tapped into something potent; the feel bad factor.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2000/nov/07/oil.roscoward

Selling out to Mondeo Man

John Prescott’s great giveaway has set the scene for transport hell

No one can doubt that John Prescott is serious about restoring our crumbling transport infrastructure: £60bn for railways is enough to fund a railway renaissance. The plan is drawn up in the expectation that there will be a huge scale modernisation; 6,000 new trains, new stations, the clearing of railway bottlenecks to increase capacity for freight and passenger journeys. There is also real willingness to use the powers of the Strategic Rail Authority and the franchising process to improve services and control fares. Prescott deserves credit for this.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jul/21/world.comment