Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Train Now Standing

Up to London yesterday evening for a debate on the 'Politics of Information Sharing' and then home on the 19:55 train from Victoria.

As usual, I looked at my fellow passengers and tried to spot who was going my way. This time, I sent my observations in a quick Twitter burst: "Short train home, no visible guard and this evening's likely Margate-bound migrants comfortably enjoying their human rights in First Class."

How one of these travellers from distant lands could keep his telephone conversation going for two hours, with short interruptions for the loss of signal in the countryside, I can't fathom but to my surprise, he finally left the train the train at Westgate. I asked the guard who finally appeared to open the doors at the rear of the carriage, if SouthEast trains had given-up checking tickets but apparently they don't have the staff to do so, which comes as no surprise anymore.

Yesterday afternoon, the station at Westgate was a tip with three days of school childrens' rubbish littering the platform and the rails. This morning, when I delivered my wife to catch the 08:20 train to Victoria, it wasn't much better and of course, the ticket-office is now closed or should I say, open intermittently if at all.

Cllr King called me yesterday and asked me what we can do about it and my answer is 'very little.' Unmanned stations and ticket machines represent the brave future of rail travel at Europe's most extortionate prices. Nobody has any sensible answers for dealing with the crumbling railway stations that occupy the heart of many small towns and act as a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

Station Rubbish
Tonight has a full council meeting with very little on the agenda. In fact, quite why we are having it I can't say and it may well be over in record time. That said, local democracy is looking rather tired from where I sit these days. Labour is kept in control by the three TIGs, Worrow, Driver and Cohen and the Council Leader, Clive Hart is prepared to give anything to keep it that way and this involves stifling intelligent political debate on most subjects and allowing council business to descend into the farcical.

What springs to mind is the 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' from Alice in Wonderland, which, looking at the actors involved on the Labour front bench opposite, seems rather closer to the political truth than one might wish.

Quick update: Incident at Westgate station today, At 3:30 I watched four rowdy youths running out of an off-license, which had previously had its license revoked, with cans of beer and Pringles. At 4pm I was called becuase of an incident at the station where reportedly four drunken youths had attacked a 15-year old boy among all the school children waiting for trains. The Police were called and apparently two of the youths have been arrested while two more reportedly fled towards Birchington along the railway tracks. I understand that three youths are now in Police custody.

Many of the local shop-keepers were standing outside appalled at what they had seen take place when I arrived.


Anonymous said...

Someone's glass is half-empty...

Anonymous said...

Simon, any thoughts on TDC paying £350,000 for a hotel that they're going to demolish?

Anonymous said...

Surely 3 days of schools childrens' rubbish isn't the fault of the railway ? Clearing maybe, but the root cause would seem to be kids (and adults) thinking it's OK to litter in the first place. Maybe some more bins and signs would help ?

Anonymous said...

Sadly, apathy in general, and in Thanet in particular, seems to be the order of the day. Who anywhere has the governance they voted for and where is the positive leadership at any levels.

One only has to look around Thanet blogs, once a regular source of debate, to catch the trend. Michael Child is disenchanted, Tony Flaig is applying moderation and not publishing comments seemingly whilst others attract no comment. Even when debates start they seem to die a rapid death with points unanswered.

Are Lib/Dems voters happy with the coalition and the answer from most seems to be in the negative. Most Tories don't even recognise government policies as Conservative ones and Labour, well they are just Labour. What more can one say.

In Thanet the Conservatives got the biggest share of the vote, but everybody else seems to be in power. However, the nature of that power creates a strange sort of governance incorporating the whims and fancies of the minority in order to cling to it.

Then we look around us and our nation as well as our neighbourhood seems to be crumbling before our very eyes. Even at church on Sunday, the priest spoke of the general unkempt look of the town with its litter, cracked pavings and mindless vandalism. Elsewhere police officers are gunned down by someone on bail, our soldiers are murdered by a supposed ally they went to help whilst only one in ten of illegal immigrants appears to finally get deported.

Have we really totally lost the plot or can society recover?

Anonymous said...

Simon, after reading your piece on the state of our railways the call to re-nationalise them should be stronger than ever.

Anonymous said...

Tom you ask can society recover.

Today in the gym there was an ex RN man training. In 1996 he broke his back and neck at rugby. Possibly his first indication that he had Gulf War Syndrome. Over the years the osteoporosis has been associated with 13 further fractures of the spine.

And he was on that horizontal bike pedalling against max resistance.

Inspirational. He can walk using a stick. but he said he wouldn't mind being in a wheelchair so he could have a pop at olympics wheelchair rugby.

Military covenant ???

Weep for our country tonight but at least have it well salted with pride. Retired.

Anonymous said...

They should also be more subsidised instead of keep building roads and car parks everywhere!

Anonymous said...

I do hope a train didn't hit those two little darlings running along the tracks towards Birchington...

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting. Driver said that the Thanet Conservative Party had a strong homophobic undertone. He most certainly did not name any individual councillors apart from Ken Gregory who he correctely said was criminal homophobe (gregory having received a police caution for hoping Cllr Worrow got Aids). Personally I think Driver was right in his description of the Thanet Conservative Party. Roger Gale has long history of voting against gay equality. Gregory has I have said, been cautioned for a hate crime and the Conservatives have allowed him back into the party. What is this if its not homopobia. Having said that Labour are not much better. Lets face it Thanet is years behind in its attitudes

Simon Moores said...

Let's be very clear for the benefit of the misguided person commenting at 1:27

Ken Gregory was cautioned by the police but wishing Aids on Cllr Worrow is not a criminal homophobic offense and while Ken's comments were totally inappropriate and distasteful to many, he is 'guilty' of absolutely nothing under the law.

steveP said...

Today i read through a copy of the latest newsletter from the Architectual society, detailing the history and elegance of this isle of ours and the better times that it has seen.
It is soul destroying to see the reality of what we have today. Ferrall youth with no respect for anything,let alone anyone else.A society so wrapped up in the "me first" attitude that it leaves everyone to fend for themselves.
A population that has been so over diluted by so many different race,culture,creed, that we no longer seem to have an identity as British, in fact were actively discouraged to fly our own flag in case we upset the immigrants.

We were an empire once, world leaders in everything and a beacon of democracy and fair play, now but a glimmer of its former self and seemingly spiraling.
Yes there are those that say stop looking on the gloomy side, but i prefer to be a realist and not in perpetual denial, this country, our towns, Thanet, needs to wake up before it is totally too late and turn this ship around, we can do it but it will take the strength of all of us pulling together, like previous has said, we have a very long way to go.