Friday, 24 July 2009

National Express - the song

Eye has waited and waited and waited.

And still no one has provided a new, improved, video mix of this song.

Here it is in all its glory.

And here something else to mix with it.

Please, someone, do the decent thing...

The Fact Compiler is old!

This from Tom Harris...

SO FAREWELL, then, John Ryan, creator of Captain Pugwash and Mary, Mungo and Midge, that weird 1970s attempt to glamorise living in a high rise flat.

The Fact Compiler mourns for his lost youth.

2009 Railway Garden Competition #12

Welcome to Middlesbrough!

The Fact Compiler cannot decide whether it's the Railway Garden, or the Pacer, that is a greater symbol of neglect?

2009 Railway Garden Competition #11

Telegrammed by our Independent Expert
The grass grows ever greener.

We know that Kent is famed as the "Garden of England", but looks like Network Rail staff are taking it a bit too literally at Canterbury West pictured yesterday.

How about some Canterbury Belles to set off the scene?

Pointless signs #6

UPDATE: Lord Deltic of the Pan in the Counties of Brunel and Stephenson mischievously asks...

Shouldn't these signs be in braille as well?

Contempt of Parliament?

A letter from Shadow Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond to Speaker Bercow:

Dear Mr Speaker,

I write to protest about the discourtesy shown to the House today by the Secretary of State for Transport.

This morning, merely two days after the House rose for the summer recess, Lord Adonis made a major announcement on the UK national rail network – with significant implications for public spending. The announcement to electrify the main rail route between London and Swansea was made on the morning BBC broadcast.

Today’s announcement was trailed by the Government back on 29 June. On that day the Prime Minister launched a document entitled Building Britain’s Future, which included a reference to plans for a major electrification programme. It is clear therefore that the plans were in place long before the House rose and could have easily been made to Parliament. Indeed, it seems that the only reason for making the announcement today is that it coincides with a Cabinet meeting in Cardiff.

Today’s events are in blatant disregard of your, and the previous Speaker’s, instructions to Ministers to make announcements to Parliament first.

This is regrettably the second time this has happened this month. On 1 July Lord Adonis announced the nationalisation of the National Express East Coast rail franchise not to Parliament but, again, on BBC Radio.

Ministers persistently disregard your instructions to respect the protocols of Parliament, and I would be grateful for your advice as to what can be done to ensure that Ministers respect your wishes.

Yours ever,
Stephen Hammond

The Fact Compiler doesn't want to be overly pedantic but actually The Times had the announcement first, on Wednesday night.

UPDATE: This from the Velopodist...

One is moved by the concern of both the Fact Compiler and Stephen Hammond for democracy, but not sure they have their facts straight.

It's true that the government intended to announce the electrification programme this week and that it's unfortunate it ended up being after parliament went into recess.

But the idea the DfT was sitting on the announcement for days ahead of time just doesn't fit with the facts.

There's every sign that there was desperate horse-trading going on between the DfT and Treasury up until certainly Tuesday and possibly Wednesday as they tried to work out what precisely was going to happen.

This is why the most responsible national newspaper reporters held off writing about the speculation for several days - it was clear the exact shape of the scheme wasn't decided.

The Fact Compiler himself made one erroneous posting saying nothing would go into Wales and a Guardian story on Wednesday missed out both the Liverpool to Manchester element and Cardiff-Swansea.

At the point national newspaper reporters were briefed on Wednesday afternoon, Network Rail was still in the dark about some minor details such as whether the Midland main line was included.

As for the Times having the announcement first on Wednesday, the national newspapers were all briefed at the same time on Wednesday, on condition the information was embargoed until 00:01 on Thursday.

Certain newspapers protested the embargo should be dropped on the grounds there had been speculative stories elsewhere but were told it was still in force.

Some of them seem to have decided to break it all the same.

UPDATE: This from Fat Mark...

The Gruaniad actually had the story Wednesday morning!

And Radio 4's You and Yours led with the same at lunchtime.