TRANSPORT: No logic to privatisation

An East Coast train. Picture Bruce Rollinson
An East Coast train. Picture Bruce Rollinson

I was surprised to read Alan Beith’s claim in Parliament last week on the re-privatisation of the East Coast Mainline that ‘what matters to my constituents is not who owns the operator’.

I was surprised to read Alan Beith’s claim in Parliament last week on the re-privatisation of the East Coast Mainline that ‘what matters to my constituents is not who owns the operator’.

At first I wondered whether his campaign team have invented a scanner which sweeps through the brains of all his constituents in order to produce a readily digestible soundbite – one which just so happens to reflect Lib Dem party policy handed down from on high by their fallen idol Nick Clegg.

But then I realised this was not so. I don’t agree with Beith – there is no logic in handing natural monopolies like train services to a private company.

Nor, I suspect do many people in his constituency agree with Sir Alan – a YouGov poll showed 66 per cent of the population want rail services nationalised, including a majority of Conservative supporters.

Nor, I think, do the many people who board East Coast Mainline at Alnmouth each morning agree with Lord Beith of Never-never-land. Because we’ve also seen the new owners Stagecoach/Virgin’s hopeless overcrowded services, with rude incompetent staff on payscales which seem to be directly linked to the number of penalty fares they screw out of unsuspecting travellers. Because those services stopped at Alnmouth too, before they lost the franchise to the equally abysmal Arriva.

So I’m afraid that the Lib Dems’ brain scanner is experiencing an opinion malfunction. I expect it’s probably telling them they’ll hold onto this seat in 2015 too.

AL Lane

Arkle Court, Alnwick