Aug 192014

Originally Printed in SKWAWKBOX by skwalker1964 15/07/2014(go to site here)


It happened again, in Prime Minister’s Questions, today. It was bound to, really. Rebuked by the excellent Speaker of the House, John Bercow, for using insulting, unparliamentary language toward Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, David Cameron fell back, like an involuntary reflex, on a mantra I can guarantee you will hear in at least 99% of Tory (and most LibDem) interviews on TV or radio, in the press or online.

Withdrawing his comment as instructed, Cameron said:

“I will replace it with ‘the man who left us this enormous deficit and this financial crisis’.”

And, of course, cue much Tory guffawing and catcalling of the type that only a £25k a year private education can teach.

This (mostly) Tory tactic has been in place since before they were elected, and has continued, unbroken and to the point of nausea, to the present. Listen to any interview, any ‘debate’ on Newsnight or Question Time (though the Tories like to avoid debate if they can!), and you’ll hear some variation of:

‘the mess we inherited’

‘we’re having to clean up Labour’s mess’

and so on. Clearly, in order to try to get off the hook of the never-ending run of screw-ups, the Tory PR gurus have drummed this into their politicians until they eat, sleep and breathe ‘inherited mess, inherited mess, inherited mess…’

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Aug 192014

Franchise returned record £235m in final year as a state company but Department for Transport says decision is final

A train on the east coast mainline at Moss in South Yorkshire

A train on the east coast mainline at Moss in South Yorkshire.

Anger is growing over the return of the east coast mainline to private hands after it emerged that it had generated £1bn for UK taxpayers since 2009.

The east coast mainline paid a record £235m back to the government in its final full year as a state-owned company, a 12% increase on the previous year. That means the franchise, run by Directly Operated Railways (DOR), has returned more than £1bn to the public purse over the past five years, sparking renewed calls for it to remain in public ownership. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

The latest report on energy prices from the House of Commons library confirms the extent to which Britain’s energy market is a thieves’ kitchen.

Domestic gas and electricity prices have risen by almost 34 and 24 per cent respectively over the past three years alone. 

Of the world’s developed capitalist countries, only the Irish Republic has witnessed a steeper increase in retail electricity prices. 

When it comes to gas, only four countries have outstripped the rises in Britain.

In real terms, taking changing incomes into account, the average household fuel bill has increased by 21 per cent. 

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Aug 192014
 Rail fares in Britain will rise by as much as five per cent next year – or even higher on some routes, the Government will formally announce today.

The rise is set to take the overall increase in fares to around 24.7 per cent since 2010, leaving commuters dismayed at the rate far outstripping the comparative rise in wages.

It could mean the cost of a season ticket from Reading to London increasing by £147 to £4,235 while a peak-time single ticket from London to Birmingham would cost around £85. Campaigners last night warned that the continued increases could force commuters to choose between moving house or quitting their job.

The announcement, which is determined by today’s inflation figure, will put pressure on the Chancellor George Osborne to address the issue in his Autumn Statement before the rise next January. Continue reading »

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