So – He’s gone… If I abused a Police Officer I would initially have been warned and had I continued I would have been arrested (I’ve watched enough Police Camera Action to know that’s how it works) so I wonder if the then Chief Whip was warned by the Police Officer or did his position prevent that, making it an example of a one rule for them and another for us situation? 4 weeks after the event, the resignation letter admits to the fact that the Officer was sworn at which contradicts the Chief Whip’s claim in the House of Commons just a couple of days previously that he had not sworn at the Officer. So the story on one side of the arguement changed whilst the Police story stayed as constant as the Northern Star – based on the record of the incident in the Officer’s notebook which reputedly includes the word ‘Pleb’. Those of you who have seen Hot Fuzz will appreciate that an Officer’s Notebook is the most important tool in his armoury 🙂 Whatever the Conservative Chief Whip may have said to a Police Officer who was only trying to do his duty, it has left an impression with me and many others that the Conservative Party remains the party of those who sneer down their noses at the rest of us. The fact that it has been widely reported that he told the officer at the gates to “learn your place” and “you don’t run this government” doesn’t challenge this view of them either. And they should be doubly embarrassed as they have always stood on the plank of being the party of Law and Order!

As the resignation grabbed the headlines, another political story involving the Chancellor briefly raised its head on Radio 5 Live. Having bought a Standard class ticket, the Chancellor and his aide decided to sit in First Class. Now why would you do that? An honest mistake? I doubt it very much – I know the difference and I can remember the good old BR days when at weekends you would sometimes find First Class coaches carrying stickers with the legend ‘For the use of passengers travelling with Second Class tickets’ (in those days the standing joke was that there was also a sticker for the toilet window saying ‘for the use of passengers travelling without a ticket’). But, I digress…

Virgin Pendolino at Willesden Junction
Virgin Pendolino at Willesden Junction
Were it a strange route on a local suburban train then maybe, just maybe, it could be an honest mistake but the Chancellor was travelling back to London from his constituency – a journey that I hope he does lots of times as I assume that he still represents his constituents! No, the story appears to be very different – the Chancellor chose to sit in First Class with a Second Class ticket. The bad news for the Chancellor is that he chose a carriage with a Journalist in close proximity so what went on has become public knowledge. Apparently the Chancellor “couldn’t possibly sit in Standard Class” – Now why would that be? Because it’s full of Plebs? If he couldn’t sit in Standard Class, why did he buy a Standard Class ticket? – surely he should have bought a First Class ticket to start with. It begs the question as to whether he has tried travelling First Class on a Standard Class ticket before and got away with it? – I guess we will never know but there is no smoke without fire (or over heating electric motors and excel spreadsheets on the West Coast mainline). Anyway, it made most of the National papers today – You can read all about it with the reporter’s tweets that were sent as events took place.

So much for the Prime Minister’s ‘We’re all in this together’ speeches 😦


    1. Thanks Kate – they always seem to be quite happy to say ‘Do as I Say (Not as I do)’ and it seems particularly prevalent with the current crop 😦

  1. Interesting post Martin. Surely these high & mighty politicians shouldn’t have to be expected to answer to we common folk??? It’s like we are constantly getting told by our illustrious leaders that due to hard economic times we have to all pull together as a nation & tighten out belts for the good of the country. Then off they all go & waste so much taxpayers money on all their lurks & perks & little pet projects. No wonder the average man & woman in the street has no confidence in them.

  2. I enjoy trying to decipher and understand politics in your country, Martin. I do “ok” but miss detail and nuance, I’m sure. What I do understand is that when it comes to political transparency and honesty, we in the U.S. have our own smoke and mirrors! You may have heard we have a big election coming up in November–ha ha! Stay tuned.

    1. LoL – yes, I’ve been watching with a sort of detached interest. Let me know when Duke Nukem gets elected – Oh, I forgot, Reagan’s passed on hasn’t he 😉 I’m also watching the level of anti-Wall Street protest that’s going on through Patti’s Lens (along with some great street shots in NYC).

      I’m guessing that the Nuance that is causing some consternation is the reference to Excel Spreadsheets and the West Coast Mainline. This BBC news item may give some insight. There is a suspicion amongst quite a few fellow transport enthusiasts (and carefully worded items in a highly regarded railway publication) that the current government didn’t want Virgin to retain the franchise, so the winning bid was never going to come from Virgin – They reckoned without being taken to court! Now it’s all back in the melting pot and three Civil Servants have been suspended. The question in the back of my mind is, are they carrying the can for political will???

      1. It’s incredibly challenging to stay on top of the local political sphere, and then broaden it to national and of course, international. I am so grateful to bloggers, you and a few others, who bring attention to “hot spots” I might otherwise not hear about. I can at least then focus my attention to that part of the world. There are times I fear my head will burst! 🙂 Thank you, Martin. I will check out the BBC link.

    1. LoL – and I live in a cave 😉 I’m not surprised Bob – I suspect the run-up to the Presidential election is taking most of your airtime 🙂

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