Tuesday 15 September 2015



Just like the Games.
We help pay for theirs and we pay for our own ourselves.
Well, you can't really argue with it.
All's well that ends well then, Yer Maj.
Seriously, what a way to run a country!
The answer to the second question us "YES"
Yes, embarrassing though it is, what's underneath you is your problem.
I did warn you that you might need a pail.
Another pile of evil, of a different sort
None then, I expect is the answer.
Another DWP parasite.


  1. I am kind of delighted that we are starting to wind Beeching back.

    The folk advocating the Waverley route should perhaps not use an ancient and decrepit locomotive as their image when they are advocating the future. I think the route is diesel powered, yet most main routes between Glasgow and Edinburgh, there are four of them that I know of, are either electrified or planned to be electrified. Given our commitment to Green energy it just sends the wrong message. That route should have been electrified from day one.


    And, of course, it should be extended.

    Rant mode off.

    1. I'm delighted too, Douglas. I've long thought we should replace the railways, nationalise them and use them as a means of transport for more than Intercity.

      I admit that the steam train could be seen to give a nostalgic air to the new line, and that is absolutely not the image we want.

      Electric would have been the best plan. I wonder why it wasn't. Possibly cost?

    2. Electric was indeed considered for the Borders railway. The bridge heights all leave room for it.

      It "might" be implemented in the future.

      As for the steam trains , they were a last minute addition, a tourist crowd puller - and they seem to be doing the job too :)

      One trick they missed was making it single line with passing places instead of dual line (costs blah blah)

      Another was not making it a freight route, if they could take trucks off the (woeful) main roads in the Borders it would benefit everyone hugely.

      Transport is the lifeblood of the economy.

    3. Absolutely. I wish they would have made it freight as well as passenger.

      In most of Scotland the roads are woefully inadequate. The few motorways are narrow affairs, some have no hard shoulder, most are simply dual carriageways.

      In places like the Borders, and in Fife, the main roads aren't even dual carriageways.

      Even the A9 is only dual part of the way.. and thanks to the "victory" of all the other parties just after the 2007 election, instead of it being well on now, it is only just beginning. Mind we have a few miles of tram in the capital.

  2. That 'sleeping' MP is partially deaf and leaning closer to a speaker grille so he can hear more clearly. I don't think the picture should be used in this fashion.

    1. Well, the Independent quotes him as saying that he is slightly deaf. I'm not sure why that means he has to have his eyes closed though.

    2. Not disputing he's impaired or not, but there are induction loops for the hard of hearing in the House of Commons, as almost everywhere.
      If he's partially deaf I'm sure the taxpayer can fund a hearing aid.
      Closing eyes, slouching and crossing arms doesn't convey a non-verbal message of attentive behaviour, au contraire.

    3. If one has a hearing deficit then closing ones eyes concentrates the mind on what is being said without the hampering visual distractions in that zoo.

    4. I'll apologise to him if he was genuinely listening.

      However, as Malcolm Bruce indicated, they are a bunch of liars, so I'll not rush to do it.

      The excuse in the House of Lords was always that they were listening to the speakers in the benches because they were old and couldnt hear properly. I never believed them either.

      So, if it's true then I'm sorry... I'm more likely to conclude that it was a good lunch.

    5. OK. Given the evidence and the fact that the BBC has apologised, I have removed the picture and apologise too.

      I'd suggest however, that if he has hearing problems (and by his own admission they are slight) he should see about getting a hearing aid. I'm sure that even the antiquated Commons has some sort of induction loop.

      Unfortunately far too many of the people who sit in the houses of parliament in London, do so after a good subsidised lunch and nod off, so I make no excuses for having assumed he was one of them.

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  4. I have been seriously mapping the railway lines that were axed by the Beeching cuts. It was and is still astounding for me to find out that Scotland had an extensive railway network barring the Highlands. Most of the trackbeds are still there (as in the Waverly Route) and the reestablishment of former railway lines is a real possibility.

    I have no doubt that the railways should be nationalised and modernised as soon as possible. All tracks should be double-tracked and electrified, though I understand that the Scottish Government’s hands are tied on this matter until devo-max/independence is achieved.

    One cannot underestimate the real economic value of renationalising and modernising the railways. However it must be approached carefully to ensure economic sustainability (viable/viability is codeword for “I CAN’T make a shitload of money out of it, FAST”) . Principally, I think the future Scottish Rail should 1) control, consolidate & expand its rail infrastructure 2) create its own energy supply & delivery 3) train its own workforce 4) reopen disused/closed railway stations 5) build houses ala council-style or community-owned ones near every railway station it has to ensure ridership and 6) establish an employees’ Co-op to create and encourage localised economic around each railway station. There is no point in re-establishing railway lines if there is no people to use it.

    The previous nationalisation programme was viciously criticised because it was up to fail. There was never a real intention to modernise and bring railways up to standards. What British Rail did was an ad-hoc plastering of the gaping wound of railway conditions, when it demanded serious measures and investments. I believe I am right to say Britain as a whole not only reduced the rail infrastructure but maintained it at a sub-standard. I bet even the Victorians will be aghast at the current rail infrastructure.

    In reply and addition to douglas clark’s comment, I theorise that in Britain a lot of people pine for the steam locomotive because it evokes so many things at a subconscious level; better public transport connection, unrivalled industrial prowess, simpler times and so on. Here I would to highlight a point; even during the steam era, travel by rail had vast potential. The Union of South Africa Class A4 locomotive is a living testament to it. The locomotive Class had potential of travelling at 90 mph. If a far-sighted programme to put in place, steam locomotive-powered rail travel could have been much better and even profitable. In 2015 we are still dreaming of decent public transport by rail at that speed.

    However, there is a caveat. Rail transport must be publicly driven by a Scottish Government led by a political party driven by proper socio-economic ideology. Governments are not private bodies. They are there to make sure the citizens are properly cared for. They don’t have to make profit (all the time). That is why they have taxpayers, because some of the economic programmes they embark on can only be appreciated by non-monetary returns and sustained by tax money. If the tax money is spent prudently, taxpayers wouldn’t mind footing a loss or two. The only thing governments must do is to justify its expenditure, even if it sometimes can be unpopular/especially needing huge investments. I don’t think Scots are against taking rail back into public hand and pumping in massive investments in it though.

    I think the 5-step methodology I proposed it the above paragraph can be applied to water, energy, forestry and oil & gas sectors. I hope with the election of Jeremy Corbyn, UK broken out of the prevailing neo-liberal economic policy and start turning to the Left. One can have a tiny wee dream of him becoming PM. Who’s to say that is not possible? Regardless, Scotland WILL be independent :)

  5. OTW - "And the genius loci of Westminster – the Westmonster – will stop at nothing to preserve its lair, its hoard, its very existence. The monster must be slain – cut to pieces by the knives of truth.

    We tried to escape it. New Labour dragged us back in, afraid to fight the monster alone. Now we’ll just have to kill it."

    One of the best extract from his latest post ~ Taranaich/wildernessofpeace.wordpress.com

    1. And "Selamat Hari Malaysia" to all Malaysian readers

    2. Brilliant post AH...

      I really can't add to it.

      I think you should be the Minister for Transport in an independent Scotland.

      Your vision is pretty much exactly what I think too.

      I wish you'd had more time on your visit to Scotland. I'd have liked to show you some of the old railway line beds, just waiting for the financial investment you suggest.

      I'll have a look at the blog :)

    3. Added blog to Blogroll.

    4. How I wish I am in Scotland. The visit seemed like a fairy tale. But not to worry, I intend to return. Hopefully in 2017. This time it will be longer and by my own.

      Becoming Minister of Transport is a bonus hahahah (though am willing to settle for Minister of Rail). I forgot to add a 7th step; enact a capital gains tax on all properties profiting a price increase beyond the normal property price increase percentage. That will limit and control speculation.

      Glad you like Taranaich's blog. I like his style.

    5. OK... In 2017, it's a deal. I'll show you some of the hidden railways, turned now into walkways... including one dark tunnel I was going to walk through, but lost my nerve after I lost sight of light at both ends!!!!

  6. Tris

    Some days, a lot of days actually, I just can't be bothered. I wtached the news last night and switched it off as it was all about the evil Corbyn not singing GSTQ. I have nevwer sung it in my life and never will, and the news getting so called Labour supporters to roll up and slate him for not supporting the queen as they q up at the job centre makes me sick.

    The education system must be really bad if people can't see what is right in front of them every day, the inequality that many face on a daily basis, the refugee crisis that a Labour voter also said was going to flood the UK with 'Them'. You really have to wonder what it is that this country is becoming and some parts of europe also. Are we repeating the mistakes of the 30's with the rise of the right both here and in the EU. We are living in a time of privilege and the promotion of hate from the top for the bottom to hate the others at the bottom.

    Some days you just want to cry.


    1. I think the saddest thing about this nonsense is that people accused Corbyn of "disrespecting the brave British soldiers".

      And, of course, people just accepted that.

      He didn't.

      In what way do you disrespect soldiers by not singing a National Anthem?

      How you DO disrespect soldiers, however, is sending them to illegal and dubious wars with second rate equipment and kit, whilst spending most of your defence budget on a weapon that you can never use, becasue it buys you a seat at the top table and allows you to perpetuate the myth that you are a world leader.

      THAT disrespects the troops, brave and otherwise.

      The soldier who had served in Iraq and Northern Ireland in the civil war and who was cut off incapacity benefit and died because he starved to death and could no longer keep his insulin cold in the fridge is another splendid example of disrespect.

      The leaders are all very good at standing in posh suits and coats at the Cenotaph once a year, looking solemn, then going off for drinks in the MoD. But they are not too bright about looking after people who come back from conflict with nightmares that the government can;t begin to understand.

      How, you ask yourself, would Mr Fallon manage if he find himself scraping the brains of his best mate off his uniform, and then having to go on and fight.

      The UK national anthem is outdated and ridiculous. In its entirely it contains a verse about General Wade crushing the Scots. I'll go to hell before I'll sing it.

      Mr Corbyn at least stood for it. I wouldn't.

  7. Abu Haimi Abu Hassan,

    I am as nostaligic as the next man, not so much for the glorious days of Empire and all that jazz, but the energy and sheer scale of the Victorians in transforming the UK, and providing infrastructure more or less everywhere they went, is a, sort of legacy. You mention the 'lost' railways of Scotland. The effort that must have gone into constructing them in the first place was destroyed by a pen stroke in London. It was unforgivably wrong.

    On a lighter note there is a cottage industry building stem locomotives some main-line, mainly for heritage lines. It is hard to credit that this http://www.a1steam.com/ was built this century.

    Really enjoyed the post you linked to at 8:48am, is that your own site?

    1. Douglas. It's quite amazing what they did building railways all over the place in the 1800s.

      It completely changed the lives of people all over the country. Farm workers could get jobs building the tracks or indeed later working on the trains. People could actually get from one town to another without days long horseback journeys, which were dangerous, for many different reasons.

    2. The Beeching axe was very short-sighted socially and economically. Whatever reasons that Dr Beeching had use have been ironically disproved today. Coming from London was like rubbing salt to wound.

      What I am trying to say was that, even with steam-powered locomotive, rail transport could have been economically feasible and sustainable. The problem then and as it is now, the infrastructure remained Victorian. The Victorians were sorely mistaken in thinking that the future generation will improve what they have laid down. Investment is key. I think that is why Britain is nostalgic about steam train; they were denied a proper evolution of locomotive development from steam to electric. As a result they will have to default back to the golden era of rail travel i.e. steam train.

      I wholly agree with electrification and double tracking. We are belatedly doing this in Malaysia. Nostalgia is good but electric is the way. Renewable is for forever. The Victorians would agree, I believe.

      The blog is not mine. I wish I have the dedication. That's why I keep posting here. I used to follow about 100+ Scottish blogs but my RSS feed thing crashed.

    3. Yes incredibly short sighted (although as I understand it Dr Beeching was only an advisor who made the report). It was the government in London and the transport Minister who closed the lines.

      Foresight would have predicted the need for railways. But as an immediate expedient, closing them meant saving money.

      I'm reminded of the contrast between this policy and That of M Mitterrand of France, who spent an enormous amount on building the TVG network in France, although he knew that he would likely be dead before it paid dividends.

      And it most surely has.

  8. Just a wee bit of info for you Tris.

    This is from the Press and Journal.

    Fresh calls for a rail link between two north-east towns and Aberdeen have been made. MSP Stewart Stevenson wants the next Scottish rail project to be based in his constituency, and said he wanted to “build a case for Buchan rail”.

    I can't link to the full article cause of their nauseous pay scheme thingy.

    1. Excellent Arbroath.

      Maybe bit by bit we will get back some of the railways.

      Of course under the present management, even in Scotland, fares are outrageously expensive.

      But hopefully we will be able to remedy that in an independent Scotland.

    2. Aye let's hope so Tris.

      I'm sure that given a fair bit of the apple then the Buchan line WILL become a reality.

    3. That would be the Formartine and Buchan Railway, firstly established by Great North of Scotland Railway. Three railway lines that are universally agreed should not have been closed are the Waverly line, the above mentioned line and the Portpatrick and Wigtownshire Joint Railway. All these line now will be in contention to be fully established.

      The Formartine and Buchan line is perfect for testing electrification and double-tracking.

    4. I'm seriously impressed by your knowledge of this :)

  9. Little by little and it would be faster had we not had so many duped, the Scottish Government improves Scotland. That they get no thanks is down to our Unionist Media. I would love to see more of Scotland with rail, a better way in the end for goods and services to move than the lorries choking our road network ( we have that do we?) True though that WE pay for all of that though it would be nice if our English "Friends" did not think THEY were paying. Discussing the new Queensferry crossing some English person made the remark that they were paying, sod it seems we do not pay tax, must have words with Her Maj and her tax collectors, I and my Hubby seem to be handing money over on false pretences.

    1. I think it's been said over and over that under both Labour and the SNP, Scotland has improved since it had its own government.

      Despite the constraints put on it by Westminster.

      Bless the UK for being so generous with THEIR money.

      Like you, I wonder where my taxes go to...