The Anonymous Widower

Labour Abandons Support For New Heathrow Runway

This title of this post is the same as an article on Page 2 of today’s Times.

This is the first paragraph.

Labour will drop its formal support for a third runway at Heathrow today in a significant U-turn that leaves the plan on a knife edge.

Other points in the article.

  • Labour MPs will have a free vote.
  • 75% of all MPs support a third runway, including the SNP and the DUP.
  • A Labour free vote probably means it would pass a vote.
  • Labour has formally backed a third runway for fifteen years.
  • The unions back the third runway.

It would all be so irrelevant, if we’d built Maplin in the last century. But Harold Wilson cancelled it!

June 20, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Minister Claims Hydrogen Train On Trial In UK

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on Rail Magazine.

This is the first paragraph.

Rail Minister Jo Johnson told the Transport Select Committee on April 30 that a hydrogen train was on trial in the Lake District.

After the end of Amber Rudd’s political career yesterday, for not telling the truth to another Select Committee, I would be very surprised if Jo Johnson’s statement is not substantially correct.

Something strange is happening on the Windermere Branch Line.

  • Most of the day, there is an hourly shuttle train between Windermere and Oxenholme Lake District stations.
  • But the 10:56, 18:03 and 22:45 services from Windermerre, continue to Preston.
  • The 06:23 from Oxenholm Lake District to Windermere starts from Lancaster.
  • The 11:20 from Oxen Lake District to Windermere starts from Preston.
  • The 18:30 from Oxen Lake District to Windermere starts from Barrow-in-Furness.

It doesn’t seem to be the sort of diagram for a regular scheduled service.

Could it be that Class 769 trains are being tested?

  • Running on the West Coast Main Line between Preston and Oxenholme stations would be at up to 100 mph using the 25 KVAC overhead wires.
  • Running  to Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness stations would be under diesel power.
  • Note that the service goes to Preston in the middle of the day. Could this mean , that they are thoroughly testing more than one train?
  • From Preston the trains can go to turnback platforms at Barrow-in-Furness, Blackburn, Blackpool North, Blackpool South, Colne, Ormskirk and Windermere stations. So, Preston would be an ideal base from where to test the trains.

Could one of the trains under test be hydrogen  powered?

If what Jo Johnson said is to believed, at least one of the test trains must be!

Who’d have thought, that an old British Rail-designed Class 319 train, that entered service thirty-years ago, could be the UK’s first hydrogen-powered train.

A Hydrogen-Powered Class 769 Train

Of course, the engineering must be possible .

  • The train would need a hydrogen tank, a hydrogen fuel cell and a battery.
  • They would probably be fitted under the train, where there wuld appear to be plenty of space.

But companies like Ballard have a lot of experience with building hydrogen-powered buses.

Don’t Rule Out Bombardier!

I believe that most train manufacturers are looking seriously at hydrogen power, as a greener alternative to diesel.

Two years ago, Bombardier showed their expertise with batteries, by developing the Class 379 BEMU demonstrator in just a few months.

Could Bombardier have taken an Electrostar or Aventra and fitted it with batteries and a hydrogen tank and a hydrogen fuel cell?

Conclusion

I think that Jo Johnson was telling the truth or at least enough of the truth, not to be caught misleading a Select Committee of the House of Commons.

 

 

May 1, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Resignation Of Amber Rudd

In the almost forty-six years from 18th October 1964  to the 11th May 2010, there have been several Governments of both sides and twenty Home Secretaries.

Which means the average tenure is under two and a half years.

Incidentally, how many of the twenty can you name?

So Amber Rudd‘s tenure is just under the average.

The remarkable thing about the list of Home Secretaries is how few last more than four years, so Theresa May‘s tenure of six years, must show a certain something.

In the same period, there have only been twelve Chancellors of the Exchequer.

I have seen it said by respectable commentators, that if a company has a large turnover of CEOs, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the company.

So is there something fundamentally wrong with the Home Office?

It is a large department with a budget of nearly £9billion and around 30,000 employees.

The Home Office web site, these are the department’s responsibilities.

  • working on the problems caused by illegal drug use
  • shaping the alcohol strategy, policy and licensing conditions
  • keeping the United Kingdom safe from the threat of terrorism
  • reducing and preventing crime, and ensuring people feel safe in their homes and communities
  • securing the UK border and controlling immigration
  • considering applications to enter and stay in the UK
  • issuing passports and visas
  • supporting visible, responsible and accountable policing by empowering the public and freeing up the police to fight crime
  • fire prevention and rescue

Would Sainsburys put such diverse responsibilities together?

I’m certain, that some of these responsibilities need to be reorganised.

Perhaps, then Home Secretaries will find it easier to stay in the job.

April 30, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

FOBT Stakes Should Be Limited To £2

This is the title on The Thunderer column in The Times today.

If you don’t know, FOBTs are Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, which have been described as the crack-cocaine of gambling.

I have never seen, let alone used one, as when I have a bet, it’s usually on a horse or an event like I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! using the Internet.

The odd thing about this Thunderer comment is not the comment itself, with which I agree totally.

It’s just that it is joint comment, written by.

  • Carolyn Harris, who is the Labour MP for Swansea East.
  • Iain Douglas smith, who is the Conservative MP for Chingford Green

East and West, Left and Right have met in a good cause.

Surely, we should have more cooperation like this!

April 25, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Does President Putin Speak English?

I’ve wondered this for a few months and this article on Newsweek, which is entitled Does Putin Speak English? After Trump Meeting, The Kremlin Weighs in.

This is the first paragraph.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been praising Donald Trump’s listening skills last week but on Monday, his own abilities as a good speaker were receiving plaudits. Putin’s English, seldom heard by western audiences, is good enough to correct his translators, according to the man hired to speak on Putin’s behalf.

I think we can take the answer as yes!

April 15, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Lipman Says Corbyn Must Leave The Stage

This title of this post, is the same, as that of a small article in The Times.

Ms Lipman used the words, malign, scary and antisemitic.

Enough said!

I sent a text to a friend, who knows Maureen Lipman.

Strangely, she received the text, as she was talking to Ms Lipman on the phone.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | World | , , | 3 Comments

My Father’s Politics

In a A Trip To The Berlin Olympic Stadium, I said this about my father’s politics.

My father hated both extreme-right and extreme-left politics with a vengeance and I can honestly say, that I never heard him tell a racist joke.

With the rows going on this morning about  antisemitic elements in the Labour Party, I looked up Stalin and antisemitism in Wikipedia.

My father had a Jewish male line, but no religion of any kind, although the more I learn, his outlook on life and morals were fairly Jewish.

In the Battle of Cable Street, he was there to stop Oswald Mosley and his supporters marching through the East End.

I know he moved in left-wing Tory Party circles, nearly stood for Parliament against one of Mosley’s supporters, and once said he had been at the League of Nations in Geneva. But, he remained largely silent about what he did in the 1920s and 1930s.

But I do think his Jewish genes drove him to take up his strong centrist views, especially when you read about Stalin and the Jews.

It is one of my regrets in life, that I didn’t find out more about my father’s life, in what must have been exciting times for those, who thought about politics.

 

March 26, 2018 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Price Of Lust

Stormy Daniels once appeared in a video called The Price Of Lust.

I’ve no idea, how good it is from any perspective!

Is Donald Trump going to pay?

March 26, 2018 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Is There Hope Yet For The Metropolitan Line Extension?

This article in the Watford Observer is entitled Hertfordshire County Council Tables Plans For Met Line Extension Project To Still Go ahead.

This is the start of the article.

Plans will be tabled for the Metropolitan Line Extension to go ahead despite last month’s shock rejection from the Mayor of London.

An emergency cross-party motion has been tabled for Hertfordshire County Council’s budget council on February 20 in a bid to show there is still political support for the project is still ongoing.

The motion has been agreed with the Conservative leader of the council, David Williams, and Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst.

The plug was pulled on the scheme last month despite additional government funding of almost £74m.

It looks to be more optimistic about this difficult project.

The article makes the point that TfL are paying for step-free access at Amersham and Rickmansworth, which outside the London area.

I can’t help feeling though that this project is all about politics and very little about seeing, if a more pragmatic solution can be found.

There are several rail projects that serve Watford that need to be taken together.

  • Crossrail up the West Coast Main Line.
  • New trains for the Watford DC Line.
  • The future of the Milton Keynes to East Croydon service.
  • What to do with the Northern end of the Bakerloo Line.
  • Improved Watford services by West Midlands Trains.
  • Possible Chiltern Railways access to Watford Junction along the Metropolitan Line Extension.

I suspect that if all projects are looked at together, a better solution can be found.

February 10, 2018 Posted by | Travel | , , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On The National Lottery

The phone-in on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning is discussing the National Lottery.

I sent in this text.

The lottery, like religion, is just another way to extract money from the poor. If people need the buzz of gambling, there are much better ways of using sums of surplus money like local charities, crowd-funding bob-sleighers and peer-to-peer lending.

The lottery has served it’s purpose, but no politician dare kill it!

I doubt it’ll be read out!

January 24, 2018 Posted by | Finance, World | , , , | 2 Comments