Robert Hampton

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October 2012

3rd October 2012

Rationalisation for Renationalisation
Posted by at 10.29pm | In the News, Trains | 1 response

British Rail logoJust after midnight the news came down that the new West Coast rail franchise has been cancelled due to “flaws” in the bidding process. The entire process will have to be restarted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of pounds.

Richard Branson is thrilled, as are many customers of Virgin Trains – a company which has inexplicably become very popular since people realised it might be going away for ever.

Myself, I’m not particularly pleased either way. I hold no torch for Virgin (or FirstGroup) – I just want a national rail network that is reliable, comfortable and affordable; a good alternative to polluting cars and planes. The current system delivers this occasionally, but not consistently.

While it’s nice to see the Government admit, finally, that the current franchising system is a mess, I wish more radical solutions would be looked at beyond mere reform. In short, I think we should be looking at renationalisation of the passenger railway network.

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23rd October 2012

Pages from Hampofax

By way of tribute to the BBC’s teletext service, Ceefax, which closes down tonight after 38 years, here is a little something I put together:

30th October 2012

Don’t Bank on It
Posted by at 7.54pm | Gay, In the News | 1 response

A little controversy has been stirred up around the 2012 Stonewall Awards, which are due to be held on Thursday evening. Two of the event’s sponsors – Barclays and Coutts – are threatening to pull out.

The banks are unhappy about the inclusion of a Bigot of the Year award category. This year’s nominees include Cardinal O’Brien, who called same sex marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”, and former councillor Alan Craig, who likened gay rights campaigners to Nazis.

Given the above, it seems a bit odd that Barclays’ diversity chief Mark McLane is upset at Stonewall for labelling people “subjectively and pejoratively”.

One commenter on the above Pink News article puts it very well:-

Corporations want to get in bed with gay rights organisations for the street cred it gives them with a certain demographic, but their PR guys get jittery when they discover that the fight for equal rights isn’t all about shaking hands and cozying up to people.

This is a timely reminder that, far from being settled, gay rights is still a very active issue in the political arena, and sometimes it’s necessary to make a stand and take a side.

If Coutts cave in and drop their support, I’ll have no choice but to cancel my account with them.