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The Railways

On 18 Jul 2012 at 12:20pm Fat Controller wrote:
SQ - You moderated your views during the previous thread. At the outset you responded "yes" to the question as to whether the railways should be publicly owned. By the end you were only suggesting that it was an "option". You still haven't come up with any credible facts to support the nationalisation approach despite deriding others for not supporting their opinions with facts.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 12:31pm Mr Forks wrote:
Here's a moral reason: Surely it's better for the users of a service to also be the owners of the service, then everyone has an interest and with no shareholders all profits are put back into the business. Works with all enterprises really. Simples!
On 18 Jul 2012 at 12:37pm Southover Queen wrote:
Oh, for heaven's sake. The "yes" was tongue in cheek - as is, I imagine, clear to everyone. A little joke? Not that I wouldn't support a well-planned renationalisation of the railways, I should add.

Secondly, is the whole point of a discussion not to moderate or test one's own opinions? If it isn't, I've completely missed the point of debate.

I don't claim to know everything. I don't even claim to know enough to back up my gut feeling that nationalisation would be a good option for the railways. I am however perfectly willing to cite the sources on which I base some of my thought processes.

I do indeed deride Boris in the course of that discussion, not least because he derided me for being so foolish as to assert that public ownership and subsidy were two completely different things and that it is perfectly possible to for lower subsidies and public ownership to co-exist. I did not refer to you - in fact, I thanked you for offering some verifiable facts rather than regurgitated nonsense.

You, for your part, have not made any reference to the central message of the McNulty report, which is that our railways are far too costly both to users and the taxpayer and the system must be reviewed. That has been my main argument throughout, and it's something neither you nor the Borises of the board have addressed at all.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 1:46pm Fat Controller wrote:
SQ - let us be quite clear, I recognise and fully accept the findings of the McNulty Report - there is nothing to dispute. I thought I had made that clear previously. I don't like being labelled a Daily Mail reader, in fact I rarely read the national press. I have already alluded to some of McNulty's findings in my previous posts but I fail to see how nationalisation will address the issues raised (fragmented regulation, misaligned planning, poor communication of government policy, poor HR management and inefficient working practices, fare structures that don‚??t help manage peak demand, poor supply chain management etc). Tensions do exist between different players in the current railway system but the same tensions also existed in BR days and often remained unresolved. Please tell me Southover Queen how nationalisation will solve such issues. McNulty has rejected it because of the cost involved, but you must have other ideas?
On 18 Jul 2012 at 1:50pm Sussex Jim wrote:
Mr.Forks, your reason for "the people" owning the railways, by way of nationalisation, is just socialist ideaology. It may work with a local club or similar, where any profit is absorbed and used to reduce costs; but when you get to national level, or even County level,you get layers of unproductive bureaurocracy.
Some years ago when I worked for BT I learnt that, for every technician out in the street with his yellow van there were about 25 office staff "in support".
Privatisation in the way forward. The smaller the firm, the more efficient.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 2:12pm Southover Queen wrote:
Okay, I give up, Fat Controller.
The vast majority of my posts in the previous thread addressed people like Boris (and Sussex Jim, for that matter) who accused me of ignorance and stupidity when I cited the ongoing mismanagement of the railways and compared the UK to Europe. I here and now accept that you don't read the Daily Mail (although I don't think I ever suggested that you did).

I can't tell you how nationalisation would benefit the railways, beyond observing that privatisation has done them no favours. I would hope that any government approaching the problem of rail travel would take great care to make sure that whatever changes they made were based on a profound understanding of the problems they face and how they might be tackled. That is emphatically not how they approached privatisation 20 years ago - witness the fact, as you yourself acknowledged, that many of the poor working practices, poor planning, poor pricing structures were simply carried over. Successive governments have accepted this and that the status quo represents a really poor deal, which is why McNulty was commissioned in the first place.

1. The cost to the traveller is 30% higher than in Europe.
2. The cost to the taxpayer is 30% higher than in Europe.
3. The system is less efficient than in Europe.

@Sussex Jim: "Privatisation in the way forward. The smaller the firm, the more efficient." Privatisation has already happened, so it's hardly the way forward. Read McNulty on the subject of small train operating companies.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 7:05pm Tony pollybee wrote:
Give it a rest Southover Queen.
This is suppose to be the Lewes forum, threads about this grat town, not a place for you and cronies (cliffod, Bastion, Dellite,ACT and Expat Two) to spread your left wing bile.
Why don't you set up your on site , The Commi Forum, where you can disscuss nationalising everything that moves till the cows come home.
In the mean time let's use this forum for it's purpose.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 7:30pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Who appointed you moderator, TP?
On 18 Jul 2012 at 7:39pm Tony Pollybee wrote:
There is a lot of nastiness on this forum, and it all stems from the political threads.
The vast majority of political threads are started by people of a left wing perspective who seem to be incredibly self righteous and anti anything and everything.
Bring the forum back to local issues.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 7:40pm drone wrote:
TP, you semi - literate moron, if you don`t like what comes up on the forum, then don`t read it. End of. You are obviously too thick to be able to formulate a counter argument. Must be a Sun reader.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 7:59pm Southover Queen wrote:
Go on then: back to local issues*. You start something, but be careful that it's not self-righteous or anti anything. (You'll find that very difficult)

The odd thing about many of those on the "right wing" on this forum (since we're indulging in stereotypes) is that they're bereft of critical thinking skills and tend to resort to (a) insults or (b) trotting out cliches often with appalling spelling and grammar. I'm not nasty, although I do occasionally get a bit short when I get attacked with both insults and cliches. Sorry about that.

*Local issues: unless you don't pay taxes, use the trains, watch tv etc etc then most national and international issues affect you too. Or we could talk about how everyone at bills is richer than anyone else, I suppose. Not sure it gets us far and it's certainly not very interesting.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 8:38pm Tony Pollybee wrote:
The people who come on here correcting another person's spelling and grammar are the same people I mentioned earlier.
I'm sure that most right wing posters on this forum are just out to wind you lot up.
I don't have a problem with local politics and issues being written about on the forum.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 10:10pm Mr Forks wrote:
Think local, act global!
On 18 Jul 2012 at 10:32pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
I agree that small businesses are more efficient, but only in a competitive environment. We can't even choose between Lewes to London via Uckfield or Haywards Heath, so we effectively have one company running the whole region, with a remit to make money for its investors.
If anyone can think of a way in which lots of small businesses could run the Southern rail netowrk efficiently, I'd love to know. Sadly, I think that the only answer is to renationalise.
On 18 Jul 2012 at 11:14pm expat two wrote:
Lewes doesn't have the political demographics that the rest of the country has, probably because of its high proportion of academics. It must come as a shock to the right wing that their rhetoric isn't being slavishly regurgitated as it is in every other media outlet they open.
So it perhaps comes as no surprise that those commentators don't want to contribute to threads that depend on a reasoned political argument - they just want to shut them down.
What does come as a surprise though is that right wingers, traditionally supporters of the 'educated' over the 'uneducated', don't like to have their spelling or grammar corrected. Why would that be?
I agree the tone is sometimes a bit mean here, but we all remember what right wing nut job poisoned this forum with that attack style - don't you? Not a legacy to be proud of.
btw Tony, your spelling/grammar mistakes are remarkably similar to those of Boris'. Surely, a coincidence?
On 18 Jul 2012 at 11:29pm cyclist wrote:
Some posters on here are always rubbishing the public sector and saying how much better the private sector is. Could I just say G4S
On 19 Jul 2012 at 9:33am Southover Queen wrote:
I generally couldn't give a stuff about dodgy spelling and grammar, except where it gets in the way of interpreting the writer's meaning. There are several regular posters whose grasp of both is such that I am often completely stumped. It's amazing what a bit of punctuation achieves...

I love the idea that the "right wing" posters are doing it to wind me/us up. If that's the case, hats off to them, but honestly I doubt it.

I enjoy political debate. While I certainly start from a left wing perspective, my views are not fixed and I'm interested in engaging with people with coherent and considered but opposing viewpoints. I do get frustrated when others assume that I have a fixed ideological position, and I do get irritated when I see that in others. That's what I mean by using critical thinking skills - try to put your prejudices to one side and consider the arguments objectively. It's others' failure to do that that will occasionally provoke a rather unladylike swipe.
On 19 Jul 2012 at 4:18pm Deelite wrote:
Until recently most political threads were started by the ultra right wing knobhead Paul Newman.

@ Tony Pollybee
'There is a lot of nastiness on this forum, and it all stems from the political threads'
The nastiness runs throughout the forum, it is not confined to political threads. It stems from the posters, posters like you (for the evidence read your posts back to yourself).

I am not left wing, and it's Deelite, not Dellite.
On 19 Jul 2012 at 4:45pm Southover Queen wrote:
You're not nasty, Deelite. Neither am I, for that matter, in the main anyway.
On 20 Jul 2012 at 2:28pm Deelite wrote:
Sussex Jim. Privatisation and/or smaller companies do not necessarily make things more efficient. All too often you can be passed form one 'small, efficient' private company to another...sometimes add infinitum.... witness.....

I have been trying to get a new electricity supply put into a building at the top of Station Street. The building currently has a three phase supply with one meter. Up to three meters can be supplied via a single three phase supply.

So far I have made 17 phone calls to Scottish and Southern Electricity, EDF and MPAS. I have been bounced between the buck-passing companies with and their barely trained staff. I have spent hours on hold reiterating the same story to countless people. The numerous lengthy calls have cost me a fair bit of money.

All I need is an MPAN number. I still don't have one. How can it be so difficult?

What was that about privatisation and efficiency?
On 20 Jul 2012 at 6:36pm Southover Queen wrote:
I've heard exactly the same story from some poor soul who was trying to renovate a flat. She was reduced to tears of frustration on several occasions.

My run-ins with Southern Water were only resolved when I phoned the Consumer Council for Water who (a) got me a named person to talk to and (b) resulted eventually in my claiming back nearly £4000 in overpaid or inappropriate "fees". I know that a neighbour had a similar problem which was also miraculously solved by phoning the CCW.

I think I'd seek out the equivalent for the electricity supply industry - I've just googled it, and it appears to have been subsumed into Consumer Focus. Good luck!

Check it out here »
On 21 Jul 2012 at 7:38am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I've had to help sort out some monstrous problems for clients. Transco flatly refused to believe that one guy's flat had gas, or a meter, as the meter number wasn't on their database, SE Water simply refused to believe that a house was now 2 flats and give the second tenant a water account, despite the fact that they had installed 2 water meters at the building, and EDF had 2 meters allocated to the wrong flats, leading to one guy overpaying by £750 over 3 years.
The last one took 18 months to sort out, went to the Ombudsman and cost EDF nearly £2k in compensation.
We also often have no end of trouble finding out who the supplier is when supporting people to move. It all wastes a huge amount of time and money.
On 21 Jul 2012 at 1:48pm Deelite wrote:
And on the upside, despite having installed a brand new water supply to my property two years ago Southern Water seem incapable of billing me for it and keep sending me letters apologising!

I'm not putting any pressure on them to sort it out.

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