What to do with the trains?

Commuters and train users learned the not so great news that rail fares are going to shoot up. So that means a season ticket will got up 5.8%. Not good news. That means that our household could well face two lost of +£465. I wonder if I can put my prices up 5.8% or ask for a 5.8% pay rise. If it goes up by the maximum 10.8% possible that’s two lots of £866 to find. I wonder if I can put my prices up 10.8% or ask for a 10.8% pay rise. Doubtful- but then I don’t operate a monopoly whereby someone has no choice but to use my service.

Conversely the rail companies will point out passenger numbers keep on rising, and that the choice is bigger public subsidies from the taxpayer (from people who may not use the service) or increasing prices for them that use it.

So what’s the solution?


Will Irish eyes be smiling?

I am not sure what to say about the Irish bail out. Part of me, as I said on The Seven Days Show last night would like to see the Euro crash and burn. I have never been a believer in giving away your economic independence which frankly is what you do with the Euro. I am glad the UK is not part of it. It gives you that little bit more extra economic freedom – the power to set your own interest rates – which is vitally important.

But could we really have stuck two fingers up to Ireland and said you guys are on your own? We clearly do alot of trade with Ireland so its in our interest to keep their economy going, but if I were a constituent living next to Sheffield Forgemasters I would ask why can we find billions to lend to Ireland, but we can’t find a few million for Forgemasters? Of course that question could equally apply to why we would cut money for the police, or other areas yet can lay our hands on billions seemingly easy.

A further reason as to why we were in a complete Catch 22 situation was apparently (and I would love someone to confirm this) when the lovely Gordon Brown sold a chunk of our gold reserves at rock bottom prices, the money was put in Euros, so we have another financial interest to prop up the Irish economy and also the Euro.

I guess then, the questions shouldn’t be will Irish eyes be smiling – their electorate seem pretty miffed with the whole situation. The question is whether the UK taxpayers eyes be smiling having coughed up a considerable chunk of change.

Seven Days Show half century edition


The latest edition of the Seven Days Show is now online. In this weeks show (episode 50) we discuss the Royal Wedding; bailing out Ireland; the perils of blogging and why Tom Harris will be missed; Lord Young; some very very forthright views on the list of new peers announced; the new leader of UNITE; Lord Mandelson; and the Pope and condoms. Iain also tries to convince me the Chelsea manager has resigned, and has a request for the best apps available for his new I-phone.

To listen to the podcast click the play button above.

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PMQs 17th November 2010


To listen to Prime Minister’s Questions from 17th November 2010 click the play button above.

Do electricity companies really want you to save money?

I watched with interest the EDF energy ad on TV where they are seemingly suggesting they want you to save electricity, and by doing so they will provide a gadget that if I understand monitors you electricity – and allows you to switch appliances off.

We are customers of EDF and called up to say can we sign up to the discounted rate (which had just run out) and also have the free gadget advertised. Oh no. You can only have the gadget if you are on the standard tariff. To be honest you are better going on the discounted rate as it may save you £200 a year and the gadget will only save you around £60 a year. Well as any rational person that’s what we’ve done. Essentially we have been told – you will be better off having cheaper electricity and not thinking about saving electricity and EDF will allow you to do one, but won’t also help encourage the other.

That is fine. They are a company wanting to make money, but it goes to show they aren’t that interested in energy conservation as they say, otherwise you would expect people signing up to any new contract would be offered an energy saving gadget. Wouldn’t you?

Too populist policies?

Poor old Harriet Harman. Fresh from being “monstored” by her own MPs following the Phil Woolas Affair she wasn’t on top form at PMQs raising the issue of Elected Police Commissioners. A strange topic to raise at PMQs. No mention of Ireland and a potential bail out. Mind you, no backbencher raised that one either.

What I found bizarre was the comment from Lord Falconer on the Daily Politics, who argued against Elected Police Commissioners on the grounds they may introduce policies that are too “populist”. God forbid we get the police concentrating on what the law abiding majority want them to. Sorry Lord Falconer – giving the people what they want has a name. It’s called democracy. And when you have lived with the worst performing police force in the country, maybe I will take your comments against doing what people want a little more seriously.

Exclusive interview with Nick de Bois MP


To listen to our exclusive interview with Nick de Bois MP click the play button above.