3:06 pm - September 30th 2008
It costs me about £25–30 in petrol to drive the 55 miles from my home in Hackney to Brighton, and the same 55 back again. First Capital Connect is asking north of £90 for a return ticket for our family this weekend, starting from London Bridge. So if there’s a traffic jam on the northbound M23 this Sunday evening (inevitable), you can blame me.
If I lived in Florence, a family return trip of similar length to Livorno (birthplace of the PCI, home of the cacciucco) comes to about €33. From Brussels, a weekend rail trip to Bruges, 90km away, would cost us just over €49. A slightly longer journey in France, from Lyon to Chambery and back, comes to €59.
Such comparisons might seem mundane, trivial even. But it’s in the aggregation of everyday decisions, not position papers or pie-in-the-sky conference speeches, that policy succeeds or fails. In 11 years, New Labour has shown zero interest in affordable rail travel; they think more spying, and more “compliance” is the answer to congestion and pollution. The Tories, bless ‘em, think that more private capital (and less regulation) is the way to go. So far, then, that’s an F all round.
Also published here.
Donald is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is a travel journalist, editor, author and copywriter. In the wake of the 2005 General Election, he co-founded and edited The Sharpener for a couple of years. He writes the occasional book or newspaper article for money, as well as sharing his thoughts here for free. Also at: hackneye donaldstrachan.com
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