Sydney Trains and Southern Railway: a striking resemblance

The trains in Sydney are a bit stuffed at the moment. I've written a piece in CityMetric that gives some of the details on why. Although I touch on the comparisons with the UK a bit in the piece, I thought I'd go on a bit more about them here because the original had to … Continue reading Sydney Trains and Southern Railway: a striking resemblance

A bad way to find out that bureaucrats aren’t fans of cunning plans

To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the UK Home Office is bad. Really bad. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly bad it is. And yet, the story that's gained media attention today is one where the Home Office doesn't seem to be the main party at fault, and where it isn't doing anything particularly unreasonable. Shane … Continue reading A bad way to find out that bureaucrats aren’t fans of cunning plans

A gigantic flaming symbol of decades of dismal failure

Thoughts with the family and friends of those killed or injured in Kensington today by a readily preventable design failure and a fundamentally corrupt construction industry - aided and abetted by decades of generic national decline and classism, followed by seven Pharoah-style years of active class war, combined with a local authority that's always hated … Continue reading A gigantic flaming symbol of decades of dismal failure

The famous Ipsos MORI went to Rome to see the Pope…

Election opinion polling in the UK doesn't have a great record, with famously drastic poll upsets in 1992 (the 'shy Tories' year, although perhaps not actually) and 2015 (Milifandom, and the overprediction of the youth vote). The Brexit referendum result polling also has a bad rep, which is a bit undeserved, although the dire and … Continue reading The famous Ipsos MORI went to Rome to see the Pope…

I confess, my destiny’s manifestos

As we all put on our party hats for the UK election, I've written a couple of pieces at CityMetric on the parties' manifestos and why their transport plans are stupid: Why Labour's rail nationalisation plan is interesting but basically stupid Why the Tory plan to drop Crossrail 2 is interesting but basically stupid I … Continue reading I confess, my destiny’s manifestos

Australia’s new restricted migration visa rules: serf’s up!

Despite being largely immune from the economic woes that afflict flyover America and northern England, Australia is by no means immune from the present worldwide levels of hysteria about migrants taking our jerbs. We also have a struggling centre-right Prime Minister, who is beseiged by the far-right headbangers who dominate his party (and, to a … Continue reading Australia’s new restricted migration visa rules: serf’s up!

Don’t believe the 500 million quid passport story until you see it on the side of a bus

The UK's worst tabloids are running today on the Glorious Brexity News that the government is planning to spend £500 million on returning British passports to their former glory - changing them from the wicked EU's suspiciously French-sounding burgundy to good traditional English blue/black. The interesting thing about the £500m passport change story is not that it's … Continue reading Don’t believe the 500 million quid passport story until you see it on the side of a bus

Depends on how foreign your Aberdeens are

I did a thing at Citymetric on the interesting way folks are completely happy for Scottish companies to run the railways in southern England, but lose their minds when Hong Kong companies do the same thing. My favourite self-quote: The RMT, famous for being the least sensible or survival-oriented union in the UK since the National … Continue reading Depends on how foreign your Aberdeens are

The Corbyn Effect, or ‘you’re nobody til everybody hates you’

There were a couple of by-elections in the UK this week, both in traditionally-safe-ish Labour seats. Normally in the sixth year of Conservative government, this would be a boring event that nobody cared about: a medium-strength opposition wins government seats at by-elections (even if, as with Labour under Neil Kinnock pre-1992 and under Ed Miliband … Continue reading The Corbyn Effect, or ‘you’re nobody til everybody hates you’

Still, that railway, from the south

Southern's parent company know that they're in the G4S bracket of mean thugs. The government know it, and that's what they're for.  The RMT know it, and fighting them is their job.  The non-union marketing people at Southern, who are probably your nice mates, don't. This is unfortunate. Me at the New Statesman