Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Crank it up

Rail Minister Tom Harris has told a Select Committee hearing that he is holding regular meetings with 'amateur railway enthusiasts'.

The Daily Telegraph reported the Minister as saying "These gentlemen feel very strongly about the industry. They do not have any statutory authority for anything but they really appreciate having access to the minister for half an hour every few months".

What does this mean?

Perhaps the Minister refers to his regular meetings with Nigel Harris (no relation), editor of Rail magazine?

But surely the Minister doesn't really view Nigel as an 'amateur railway enthusiast'?

The alternative, of course, doesn't bear thinking about.

The Fact Compiler understands that Des Browne, Secretary of State for Defence, will now be discussing the worsening security situation in Afghanistan with members of The Sealed Knot.

Reid all about it

Telegrammed from our man in 222 Marylebone Road

Robert Wright, the transport correspondent of the Financial Times is at it again, relying for his print bites on the soi disant 'veteran observer' of the railway scene Rupert Brennan-Brown.

Presumably the FT eschews the usual rent-a-quotes because Wolmar follows up with an invoice, Roger Ford is too techy, Barry Doe only does fares and Nigel Harris is too busy taking the great and the good to lunch.

But calling RB-B a 'veteran' almost justifies a sharp note to the Press Complaints johnnies.

The man is a damn parvenu, one of the carpet baggers who came in to the industry on the coat tails of former Shell Chairman Sir Robert Reid.

As any fule kno "veteran status" can only be accorded to those who served in the industry under his predecessor, the late great, Sir Robert Reid.

An explanation for younger readers: In the Tory 1980s it was Government policy that new Chairmen of nationalised industries had to have the same name as their predecessor to save on stationary costs.