Thursday, 16 August 2012

London to Birmingham? That'll be Scarboro Fair

This from a Mr Tony Miles...

In all yesterday's excitement Eye may have missed the press release from "James Bethell, Director of Westbourne Communications" commenting on "the awarding of the WCML franchise to FirstGroup."?

James, the release tells us, "worked in the U.S. Senate, the European Commission and as a Parliamentary candidate." and "as a development professional, James continuously advises organisations on their growth plans, including Ministry of Sound, Capital Radio, Portland Communications (where he was managing partner) and PoliticsHome."

Which may explain why Westbourne is the "communications consultancy brought in to run the Campaign for High Speed Rail 2"

So far so good.

But what's this?

The press release berates the railway for failing to "make the case for franchises"!

"Today is a day we should be very proud of Britain's train industry. It is frustrating that the morning news led on negative stories such as union fears about job losses and passenger fears about the possible impact on fairs. It is a shame that the case for Britain's train industry has not been won amongst the British public."

Quite so.

Although we refer to the 'railway industry' rather than the "train industry" and in the UK passengers pay 'fares' and not "fairs"…

Unless of course this is a feature of HS2's ticketing strategy of which we are unaware?

UPDATE: This from a rather annoyed Andy Roden...

I am delighted that Westbourne Communications are 'behind' the Campaign for High Speed Rail 2.

Sadly there is little evidence of this on Twitter.

At present it is left entirely to the voluntary efforts of supporters, regional business groups, railway journalists and photographers (!) to make the case for this new railway and counter some of the more hysterical claims of HS2 opponents.

I'm all for noise mitigation measures, but I thought this involved putting a railway underground rather than PR heads in the sand!