The Anonymous Widower

Shooting The Messenger

This article on the BBC is entitled White House bans certain news media from briefing. This is said.

The White House has barred several major broadcasters and newspapers from attending an informal press briefing.

The BBC, CNN, the New York Times and others were excluded from an audience with Press Secretary Sean Spicer, with no reason given.

If you don’t like the messenger, perhaps they’ve not the problem, but what the message might be.

Recent stories on the BBC web site include.

  • Mexico Warns US Over Border Wall Funding
  • India Shocked Over US Bar Shooting
  • Trump Aid Pressed FBI On Russia Reports
  • Caithlyn Jenner To Donald Trump “Call Me!”

But those who voted for Trump think he’s right.

Supporters thought that about Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Saddam Hussein, Qaddafi and Hitler.

Politicians should be wary of being selective with the messages they will accept.

Especially, when you consider that many English speakers throughout the world, get their American world news as it effects them from the BBC  or CNN and not from Trump TV!

February 25, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fake News – The Zinoviev Letter

My father told me all about  the Zinoviev Letter, which was written around the time of the 1924 General Election and published in the Daily Mail.

He certainly knew all about the letter, but I doubt he was anything to do with its production, as he’d only have been twenty at the time.

But in the 1920s and 1930s he moved in left-wing Tory political circles, so he probably knew the truth, even if all he told me was the basic story, you can now read on Wikipedia.

The Zinoviev letter would certainly be considered Fake News today.

February 17, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Trump Launches Stinging Attack On Media

This is the headline on a post on an article on the BBC.

Perhaps, I’m wrong, but I always thought that any successful politician needed the media on their side.

Or is it different across the pond?

February 16, 2017 Posted by | World | , , , | 3 Comments

Any Americans Living In Stoke-on-Trent Can Vote For A Real Loony

I hsve just read this page on The Official Monster Raving Looney Web Site, which is entitled The Incredible Flying Brick will save Stoke.

As Screaming Lord Sutch used to say “Vote Loony! You know it makes sense!”

I first came across him in the 1966 General Election, where he stood in the Huyton consituency, which was where I was living at the time.

I remember him appearing on the radio in the 1990s and going through the original manifesto from one of his first elections.

Strangely several of his proposals had been put into law, like lowering the voting age to 18.

February 16, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 6 Comments

UKIP Says HS2 Won’t Benefit Copeland

There is a by-election in the Copeland constituency, if you haven’t noticed and this is the BBC’s guide to the election.

When I was at Liverpool University in the 1960s, one of C’s friends used to live near Barrow-in-Furness. I remember we had a drink with her once and she told us how she used to have to take five trains and umpteen hours to get between Barrow and Liverpool.

Liverpool to Barrow-in-Furness now takes just over two and a half hours with a single change at Preston.

So when I heard someone from UKIP say that HS2 wouldn’t benefit Copeland on the BBC, I thought I’d check the times.

HS2 opens to Crewe in 2027 and I suspect that trains going to the North of Crewe will use HS2 to Crewe and then run on the classic lines to go North.

Euston to Crewe currently takes 90 minutes, but after HS2 opens this time will reduce to 58 minutes. Times are from this page in The Guardian.

The fastest trains to Barrow-in-Furness currently take  three hours fifty-three minutes with a change at either Preston or Lancaster.

So just reducing this time by the thirty two minutes saved South of Crewe, brings the time down to three hours twenty-one minutes.

But I think we’ll see innovation in HS2’s trains.

It seems to be the policy now for a company to have short and long trains, as both the Class 800 trains and Greater Anglia’s Aventras come in both short and long versions, where two short trains can join together for flexibility of operation.

Could Hs2 take this further and say have five-car short trains, three of which could join together for the fast run to and from London?

So will we see five-car trains that can serve places like Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley, joining at Preston  for a fast run on HS2 to London?

I also think that by the mid-2020s, all electric trains will have the capability to fit onboard energy storage to give them access to places like Barrow-in-Furness, which may not be electrified.

So could we see a high speed train serving Barrow-in-Furness in 2027? After all Barrow-in-Furness to the West Coast Main Line is just twenty-nine miles, which by that date, will be totally in range of a train with onboard energy storage.

If you look at the provisional timetable for Phase 1 of HS2 on Wikipedia, you will see that there is one train per hour (tph) to Preston. Could this be a train created by bringing together portions from Barrow-in-Furness, Blackpool and Burnley? I don’t know, but the French do similar things with TGVs.

I wouldn’t be surprised and with selective improvements to the route North of Preston and on the Furness Line, the time from London to Barrow could be under three hours, when HS2 opens to Crewe.

Effectively, by building HS2 to Crewe and using specially-designed trains, towns like Barrow-in-Furness get a high speed connection to Birmingham and London.

Cancel HS2 and Copeland will still be deep in the past, as far as rail travel is concerned.

 

February 15, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | 3 Comments

Amateurs!

That is my one word response to this article on the BBC, which is entitled Michael Flynn resignation: He had to go, says White House.

February 14, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

Will Britain Negotiate With A United Europe?

In this article on the BBC, which is entitled EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker ‘will not seek second term’, this is said.

Mr Juncker also said the UK could divide opinion among EU leaders once Brexit negotiations begin.

I think that will be highly likely, as putting 27 people in a room and asking themany question, will give several different answers.

Last year, I wrote Brexit – Signalling Implications For The UK, which was based on an an article on Rail Engineer.

This is a paragraph from the article, which talks about implementing signalling post-Brexit.

The endless committees to discuss and agree how the standards will be implemented do not get in the way. Whilst not suitable for main line usage (at least in the foreseeable future), there could be suburban routes around cities (for example Merseyrail) that could benefit from CBTC deployment.

I know it is talking about one small part of railway signalling, but if the states of Europe can’t agree a common position on that, how will they agree a common position on how to deal with the UK during and after Brexit?

In some ways, the biggest problem with Brexit, is that we will still be arguing about the details of the settlement well into the 2030s and beyond.

I can see some absolutely silly arguments going on and on!

 

February 12, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

The PM Can Make Trump Begin To Face Reality

This is the title of a comment in The Times by Justin Webb.

It is a good comment and if you get a chance read it.

But it made me think!

Trump is a difficult person to read, as in several times in the last few months, he’s changed his mind. So will Theresa be able to make him change his mind again?

I don’t know!

But I just wonder, if Trump has ever been in negotiation with a determined, intelligent woman!

This will be one meeting, where the flies will learn a lot.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Laura Kuenssberg On The Southern Rail Dispute

This article on the BBC by Laura Kuenssberg is entitled The politics behind the Southern rail dispute.

It is a must-read for everyone who uses trains to get to and from work or for important journeys.

This is said.

One former senior minister tells me that “successive secretaries of state” in charge at Transport have wanted to “get rid of guards on trains”. The ambition is to bring down the cost of rail travel for the tax payer and the train passenger.

With that considered to be a long term ambition, it’s no surprise that the RMT, the only union that represents guards, wants to fight this every step of the way. Union sources deny it, but it’s suggested that they have dug in in this dispute, because if they lose it, they also lose a big chunk of their industrial muscle.

If there have to be guards on trains, a strike works if they walk out. If services can run with drivers on their own, their power to disrupt would be reduced. It’s worth noting that the RMT has more than 80,000 members, nearly ten times as many as the drivers’ union, ASLEF. It’s ASLEF that has agreed to meet Southern for talks tomorrow.

So like it or not the traditional guard is going the way of the dinosaurs.

Can rail passengers and  hard-pressed tax-payers afford to pay for a vanity job, which if abolished would result in no loss of employment, but as Laura points out, a considerable loss of industrial muscle.

It is interesting to look at the future in the shape of Merseyrail’s new trains, that I wrote about in Thoughts On Merseyrail’s New Trains.

  • The trains will be designed to fit the platforms for step-free entry and exit for all passengers.
  • The trains will be designed for as high a level of passenger safety as possible.
  • The trains will have a high degree of automation.
  • Automatic Train Operation may be implemented in the Loop Line under Liverpool.

The trains will be designed for Driver Only Operation. This article on the BBC, which is entitled Merseyrail driver-only trains: RMT sets guards decision deadline.

This is said.

A train operator has two weeks to give “cast-iron” assurances that guards will be retained or risk dispute, rail union RMT has said.

I have a feeling that Merseyrail have been cunning here and that as it is three years before the trains run, natural wastage and other factors, will mean that the second men and women on the trains by 2020, will be running under new contracts.

Liverpudlians like a good fight and I have a feeling that in this dispute the RMT and its guards will be severely outnumbered.

January 20, 2017 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

Gas-Lighting

This article on CNN is called Donald Trump is ‘gaslighting’ all of us.

It introduced me to term gas-lighting, which all goes back to a 1940 British film and an earlier play.

This is said about the term in the Wikipedia entry for the film.

The psychological term gaslighting, which describes a form of psychological abuse in which the victim is gradually manipulated into doubting his or her own reality, originated from the play and its two film adaptations.[7] Gaslighting, today, mostly refers to one of the methods of abuse used by a narcissist to emotionally control a victim, through which the narcissist gains pleasure.

Now CNN is accusing Trump of doing this to us all.

This is an extract.

After mimicking a disabled reporter and seeing the video used as evidence against him, he repeatedly denied it, claiming his opponents should be embarrassed to say he did. “I would NEVER mock disabled. Shame!” The denials continued after Meryl Streep brought up the subject this week at the Golden Globes. With the video easily available, Trump’s argument boiled down to “Who do you trust, me or your lying eyes?”

Here’s the video.

Trmp is going to gove the World’s comedians more material, than any other politician in history.

 

 

 

January 11, 2017 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment