I did a piece at Citymetric on why the disastrous shenanigans at Southern Railway are actually a resumption of a very old battle. They paid me a lot less than a Southern Railway guard gets for the same hours. I probably enjoyed it more, though. Image: an EMD E6A leading the US Southern Railway's The Tennessean … Continue reading Southern Railway, now arriving in 1973
I wrote a piece at the New Statesman's CityMetric on the current state of the UK's railways (spoiler: not that bad, you just don't like your commute), and a really stupid proposal by the government's Competition & Markets Authority to ruin them. Go and read it, if you like.
I've got a piece up at the New Statesman's Citymetric on why, although it sounds nice, a freeze on London public transport fares would actually be a rather bad idea.
Extremely sad to hear about the sudden unexpected death of long-time friend, crony and partner in crime Tom Barry, of BorisWatch and @boriswatch fame. Tom provided exactly the kind of hard-nosed, subject-expert and ruthless research and writing into London's terrible mayor and supine general assembly that nobody in traditional local journalism has (bothered to do / had time for) … Continue reading He was watching the defectives
Regular readers will be aware that France is to air safety what Scotland is to gastronomy and New South Wales is to probity in government. Today's news, though, had me genuinely shaking with incredulity and rage. Not the fact that Germanwings flight 4U9525, flown by 23-year-old A320-200 D-AIPX crashed mid-morning on 25 March (Europe time), … Continue reading Don’t get your Germanwings over France
Boston Review editor Simon Waxman wrote a piece this June in the Washington Post, saying that the US Army's decision to name its weaponry after Native American tribes - like the Apache helicopter above - is worse than the Washington Redskins' decision to keep its gross racial slur name. Waxman is white and not of Native … Continue reading No, white people, we don’t get to decide what’s racist
Qantas announced its financial results today. Predictably, they were a car crash (Qantas still hasn't had a plane crash [*], but they're definitely a crash). $646 million operating loss, and $2.6 billion in one-off write-offs from revaluing the company's aircraft fleet. No rock and roll fun. Fiddling and burning As Qantas CEO for the last … Continue reading A Qantas of solace
Safety and security are brilliant. Safety and security theatre is bullshit. If you support safety and security theatre measures, which includes nearly all routine airport security, you are helping to make everyone worse off and nobody safer. Whilst world-travelling over the last month, I discovered that most European carriers  now allow the use of … Continue reading Why security and safety theatre is the worst
Something which gets neglected by most travel writers - I think because long-haul economy-class flying is inherently a bit shit - is the immense extent to which the actually-flying bits of the long-haul rigmarole have improved over the last 15 years. The pre- and post-flying bits have worsened, of course, which makes short-haul flight far, … Continue reading Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate
There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the news that Toyota will follow its fellow foreign-owned carmakers GM Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi in ending car assembly in Australia. But at least from an economic point of view, there shouldn't be. The basic problem for the Australian car industry has nothing to do with … Continue reading Only sentimentalism could have saved the Australian car industry