I have just got onto a very crowded train heading from Newcastle to London. Standard class, please note. For ten years I did the weekly commute to London and in most instances I travelled by cattle waggon class. Sometimes I would get my hands on a cheap first class ticket. But not very often and not today.
So the comments by Tory MP Nicholas Winterton really caught my attention. He doesn't want to mix with the sort of people who frequent standard class. They will disturb him, they look over his shoulder, generally they are from the lower orders and should know their place in society is certainly not something that merits first class. Nasty Nick, it seems, wants to travel with nice businessmen in the comfort of first class, paid for by the taxpayer.
Well, many businessmen travel standard class. It's precisely what I am doing now. I'm heading to London not because I want a jolly time, but because I run a business and I have 20 customers there who I am seeing over the coming week. All businessmen know that the business will fail if costs aren't kept under control. The smaller the business, the more the lid has to be kept on costs.
Nasty Nick's comments are both offensive and inaccurate. And on the small number of times I have travelled first class, I don't find the people there behave any differently than those travelling in standard class at the other end of the train. The only difference in first class is that people have more room and comfort to behave like people in standard class. But his comments also show he just does not get it when it comes to the expenses saga.
I guess all political parties suffer from loose canons. Certainly the Wintertons have been firing off in all directions over the past year. The good news is that it's the Conservatives who have been damaged the most by his self-destructive actions.
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