In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins


by Tim Fenton    
10:19 am - June 1st 2012

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It’s not entirely coincidental that blogger Harry Cole has gone after Lisa Nandy, who represents Wigan for Labour.

This follows his masterminding the #Kerryout campaign against Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy, which was spectacularly unsuccessful.

The background is that Ms Nandy has travelled First Class on occasion. So Cole thinks he’s on a winner by calling her out over it. And some have believed him.

Sadly, the flannelled fool failed to indulge in the mystical practice known as “five minutes’ Googling”. That, coupled to his well-known lack of knowledge about rail travel.

Cole concedes “if a pre-booked First Class ticket is cheaper then that is fine”, but then goes off the rails with “but Nandy seems to have been buying the tickets at different rates. A pre-booked First Class can be got for £36, yet many of her claims are for £77”. Nowt gets past Master Cole. That’s because VT don’t have just one kind of First Class advance fare, but three.

How so? Well, it’s all driven by demand management.

Many trains have three quotes of First and Standard Class advance tickets available – some have less – and the cheapest sell out first.

So Ms Nandy, or anyone else, booking close to departure time will not be able to get the cheapest deals. And all those First Class advance prices are cheaper than Standard Open (a single is £141).

So not only is Lisa Nandy in the clear, but Henry Cole has wasted his time, and into the bargain paraded his ignorance of the subject, and inability to do the most basic of research, before leaping into print.

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About the author
Tim is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He blogs more frequently at Zelo Street
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Reader comments


Speaking of Kerry McCarthy.

Her recent second class train journey twitter on spotting a lager drinking oaf on a train wearing a politically incorrect T shirt.

“Should have killed him when we had the chance. Before he could breed.”

Given the recent prosecutions of Liam Stacey and Paul Chambers for flippant tweets, why none here for a much more obvious incitement to violence.

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/MP-Kerry-McCarthy-s-Twitter-rant-lager-drinking/story-16193334-detail/story.html

My thanks to Sunny for bringing this one to a wider audience. Here’s the original:

http://zelo.tv/MXo15I

I know that rail ticketing can be a difficult subject for the uninitiated, but that is no excuse when you’re accusing an MP of fiddling her expenses.

3. Chaise Guevara

It was kinda a giveaway that Cole said a first-class ticket “can be got for £36″ as if that was the end of it, rather than “could have been got for £36 at the time of booking for the date and time of travel required”.

Deliberate research fail.

4. Chaise Guevara

@ 1 pagar

“Given the recent prosecutions of Liam Stacey and Paul Chambers for flippant tweets, why none here for a much more obvious incitement to violence.”

1) That’s not incitement to violence. Note the lack of incitement.

2) I really doubt that you’re in the Let’s Lock People Up For Dark Humour Club anyway.

5. the a&e charge nurse

[2] I am sure you are alluding to the ludicrous nature of such prosecutions rather than the utterances of KM, Pagar?

That said it seems inevitable that the logical end point for political correctness is an increase in heavy handed forms of enforcement?

Taken at face value KM’s comments are indeed politically incorrect.
In the current climate Holloway’s women prison may be beckoning – but in order to appease excitable whingers like Harry (not Henry, Sunny) Cole perhaps she will need to travel there second class?

“So Ms Nandy, or anyone else, booking close to departure time will not be able to get the cheapest deals. And all those First Class advance prices are cheaper than Standard Open (a single is £141).”

This is even worse than your usual stuff.

Come along now, the correct comparison is between a pre-booked first class and a pre-booked second class. Or a standard and standard.

7. Chaise Guevara

Come to think of it, surely the only obvious incentive for cheating the system to get a first-class ticket is if you would otherwise get a normal ticket. But Cole is implying that she could have got a first-class ticket anyway. Which suggests that she thought “I could get a first-class ticket for £36… but I’ll get the same ticket for £77 because for some reason it’s simultaneously available at different prices! Bwa ha ha!”

What’s wrong with this picture?

8. Robin Levett

@Tim Worstall #6:

Come along now, the correct comparison is between a pre-booked first class and a pre-booked second class. Or a standard and standard.

No it’s not; the IPSA website has this:

<blockquote.Reimbursement for rail journeys is limited to the rate of an “anytime standard open” ticket for the same journey prevalent at the time of the claim. If you can supply evidence that a first class ticket was in fact cheaper than an economy class ticket, IPSA will accept the claim.

So the correct comparison is between “pre-booked first class” and “anytime standard open”.

9. Robin Levett

Then my apologies to Mr. Fenton and it’s IPSA that are the drivelling idiots then.

11. Robin Levett

@Tim Worstall #6:

…and, to forestall the objection that a pre-booked standard class fare would still be cheaper than a pre-booked first class fare, and that it is irrelevant what the rules say: Harry Cole’s claim is that she is “flouting the ban on First Class travel”, not that she is “not taking the cheapest fare available at the time of booking”.

12. James from Durham

This just demonstrates the Byzantine complexity involved in the business of travelling by train!

13. Bobby Ox

I just accidentally killed a goat. Please advise the best course of action.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 13

Try cooking on a low heat with stock, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes for five hours. Works for me.

@10

Hey, Worstall apologised to me! But then he said “A big boy from IPSA did it and ran away”.

Why are IPSA wrong, or to quote the munificent Worstall prose, “dribbling idiots”?

Given that there are two different fare levels – “anytime” and “off-peak” – before you even get started on book-ahead options (if there are any at the time of booking) – I would have thought that the IPSA rule is as sensible as you can get, when you’re looking at a system that is increasingly driven by demand management.

Mr W should think himself fortunate that the CP only has (usually) one 1st class and one 2nd class fare for Intercidades. Might not stay that way – demand management has been spreading in Spain.

“Why are IPSA wrong, or to quote the munificent Worstall prose, “dribbling idiots”?”

Because if the aim is to save the taxpayers’ money…..seomthing which I would rather hope is the aim……then we would want MPs to purchase whichever is the cheapest of the available tickets at the time that they purchase them.

Thus if they purchase in advance, then usually the standard advance would be cheaper than the first class advance. If they’re rushing off at the last moment then the standard open would be cheaper than the first class open.

What IPSA is saying is that if the advance first class is cheaqper than the standard open then go for it. But that’s not what we want, is it? We would like them to go for the standard advance if that is cheaper than the advance first class?

Yes, I do know that there are times, amazingly, when the advance first is in fact cheaper than the advance second and at that time we’d like them to go first.

@16

But, as I said, advance quotas “if there are any”. Sometimes there aren’t. And so IPSA, or any other organisation dealing with expense claims, has to allow the fall-back of Anytime Standard. Unless you’d rather they fartarse around with checking every last claim against what VT (or A N Other TOC) might or might not have been offering at a particular time of booking.

The last mentioned would mean more job opportunities, but may be a good case for demonstrating the law of diminishing returns.

And that “advance first cheaper than cheapest available second” I had not long ago with Renfe. It’s coming your way Mr W.

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 Tim W

You’re right in principle, but I think the other Tim is right in practice. I’m not sure it would even be possible for someone to look back when the expenses claim was made and confirm that the person in question had selected the cheapest ticket available at the time, given that tickets sell out and ticket prices change.

Setting a standard boundary seems pragmatically sensible. Although a good MP should always pick the cheapest ticket they can.

This just demonstrates the Byzantine complexity involved in the business of travelling by train!

Yes, it’s very strange how it is practically impossible to get a straight answer from anyone on the price of a train journey, a flight or a unit of energy.

Price obfuscation is an indicator of the operation of a cartel or monopoly.

Surely not…………

20. john P Ried

If I was A tory i’d contact order-order and say thanks for the help, but your’e doing more harm than good, these, days,

“Price obfuscation is an indicator of the operation of a cartel or monopoly.”

Not really: it’s market segmentation or possibly product differentiation. Neither are signs of cartel or monopoly specifically. We see the same behaviour in washing powder. Which ain’t either.

22. Robin Levett

@Tim Worstall #16:

<blockquote.Because if the aim is to save the taxpayers’ money…..seomthing which I would rather hope is the aim……then we would want MPs to purchase whichever is the cheapest of the available tickets at the time that they purchase them.

If the aim is to save taxpayer money, then building costs into the expense checking process is not the way to go. To actually save money, you set a single standard, and compare the claimed cost against it. That’s cheaper both when buying the ticket, and when checking the expense claim. The moment you start the expense clerks second-guessing the MPs, you will increase the overall cost to the taxpayer – and surely what we want to do is to reduce the overall cost to the taxpayer…

23. Robin Levett

More generally, I do not understand the obsession of otherwise intelligent people with making life as difficult as possible for our elected representatives. They are woefully underpaid as it is, because of the cowardice of successive governments in the face of the populist press.

I would lay odds that it would be cheaper than the present “system” to give each MP on arrival in Parliament a warrant for free first-class rail travel while they remained an MP.

I would also lay odds that if that were to happen the populist press would go checking on exactly how those warrants were used, point to an MP who used his/her warrant otherwise than on travel to and from their constituency, and insist on a checking mechanism being put in place – at substantial extra cost to the taxpayer.

24. margin4error

Can I just point out that Mr Cole did not fail to do research on the matter?

Mr Cole chose not to do research on the matter.

It is a very different thing. Mr Cole would be perfectly capable of clearing this up before publishing – but Mr Cole has no interest in doing so. Mr Cole is scum. He is the lowest of the low in new reporting terms. We are talking about a chap who, amid the furor about phone hacking, refused to answer an MP about why it was he torched his own computers.

It isn’t incompetence. It is calculating and cynical and in every way outrageous.

margin4error:

As far as I can see, it is 100% standard practice in tabloid journalism to deliberately misrepresent real events to fit a predetermined story, maybe because it sells more papers or maybe because it fits the political agenda of the editor/proprietor, but glad to see someone can still muster up the appropriate outrage at it.

It IS outrageous.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins http://t.co/IJDhz7vl

  2. Lambeth NUT

    In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins http://t.co/IJDhz7vl

  3. Doug

    In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins http://t.co/IJDhz7vl

  4. Carl Packman

    Henry was my favourite train, perhaps this informs the Freudian slip here http://t.co/DEQZiA8I http://t.co/HdA6tD9D

  5. Jason Brickley

    In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins http://t.co/P0SRdMs8

  6. courtneywm2

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  7. leftlinks

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  8. AC

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  9. Aidan Williams

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  10. FrankE

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  11. Kost

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  12. Dominic James Brown

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  13. Lambeth NUT

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  14. Brian Tomkinson

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  15. Darren Burgoyne

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  16. Peter Cranie

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  17. Damian

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  18. etonmess

    In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/k7CUeZ0q via @libcon

  19. JM

    haha, what a fat cunt he is “@etonmessuk: In Lisa Nandy vs Harry Cole, Nandy wins | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/4u5Ii9nu via @libcon”





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