MartinGriffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach group believes that with politicians eyeing next year’s General Election and putting forward their ideas on the future of our rail system, policy debate must be focused on what passengers want, not on political smokescreens about structures.
That the CEO of a bus company, which also runs South West Trains and East Midlands Trains, and is joint operator of Virgin Trains should write such drivel as:
This year is the tenth anniversary of two government decisions which fundamentally changed the way Britain’s rail network is funded. In 2004, the then Labour government decided passengers should shoulder more of the cost and taxpayers should pay less. Today, only a third of the £12bn cost of the rail network is funded by taxpayers. Ministers also scrapped the previous policy of reducing the real-terms cost of travel each year. Instead, for nine years in a row, season tickets and other regulated fares rose above inflation until, in January 2014, these ticket prices went up in line with RPI.
Has this CEO not heard of the ‘User Pays‘ principle? Does he have the faintest idea of an organisation called the European Union, one of whose competences is transport? If a mere blogger could pick this up back in 2011, surely the head of a transport provider could do likewise?
In the Independent we are informed that Patrick Diamond, a former advisor to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is reported as saying that Ed Miliband must ‘come clean’ and admit that he will have to raise the level of taxation if he is to fund his programmes. Diamond believes that the British political class is avoiding the honest debate we need to have about taxing and spending.
In respect of requiring the political class to ‘come clean’, both Griffiths and Diamond are asking for the moon because since when has the political class come clean about anything – in fact when have the political class held an honest debate on anything? Miliband states that he won’t sign a blank cheque, yet is that not what the British electorate is asked to do? The hypocracy is breath taking – needless to say this will have gone totally over the heads of our political class and media.
In asking when will they ever learn, it becomes apparent that the question is not just directed at people like Griffiths and Diamond – it is directed at the British people who unfortunately believe everything that the mendacious political and media class present to them.