Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn - Labour's very own train crash

As a regular user of the East Coast rail service between the North East and London, I was a bit surprised to learn of Jeremy Corbyn's claims that he had to sit on the floor of the 11am train out of Kings Cross on 11th August, due to over-crowding. Admittedly the service is often busy, especially during the summer months. Often it is the case that there are lots of seats reserved but many are not filled when the train leaves the station as people have decided to catch another train, or sit elsewhere etc.

Nevertheless, Corbyn's rant to camera about the lack of seats and how that could be instantly resolved by nationalisation, clearly played to the view that a full train is a bad thing. For those of us who view systems in terms of their efficiency, a full train is not a bad thing. It shows that it is being used at or near its maximum capacity. Ploughing resources into moving empty train seats and coaches up and down the country is a waste of resources, just as 4 cars driving to the same destination, each containing one person, is a waste when one car could have done the job. Indeed, full trains are not only a better use of limited resources, it also shows the popularity of rail which has undergone a revival since privatisation in the early 1990s. The issue now is how to expand services to meet the increased demand, especially on services that regularly carry more passengers than their official capacity allows.

Corbyn however has created a negative news story needlessly by engaging in hamfisted spin of the sort that would have made New Labour proud. His interview this morning was nothing short of a train crash in which he demonstrated more than ever his sneering dislike of the media. Sadly for Labour, the Corbyn cultists will simply regard this as part of the big business conspiracy against Jeremy, conveniently overlooking the point that Virgin's CCTV undermined his claims about there being no available seats. The end result is that his support in the ranks of the Church of St Jeremy of the Deluded will be stronger than ever while in the real world, Labour's credibility will sink even further. From rolling stock to laughing stock......

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