Friday, 15 March 2013

Shaping Britain.

Richard Morrison always writes an interesting column in Times 2 on Fridays and today is no exception.  He was asked the question "Who has done the most to shape modern Britain?"   His answer was - after reflection - one I think I would agree with.

He cited Lord Reeth, creator of the BBC, Attlee, architect of the Welfare State, Churchill fighting fascism, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet, Mrs Thatcher the scourge of the Unions and then choosing none of these, suggested it was Richard Beeching, who completely destroyed our railway system.   He was responsible for the closure of 4000 miles of railways and 2000 stations.

Now that roads are completely clogged up and our road surfaces totally destroyed through overuse and bad weather; now that almost all our freight has to travel by road, so that motorways and even minor roads are often totally overwhelmed by the amount of huge juggernauts; now that most towns have out-of-town supermarkets and shopping malls, so that our small producers are going out of business; and carbon pollution is responsible for a huge rise in cases of asthma, don't we all long for those far off days when you could catch a train at the local station and tootle along from A - G through all the other letters of the alphabet and still arrive with ones nerves intact most of the time.

Apparently Morrison says journeys by rail have doubled in the past decade and are set to go higher as more and more people are put off cars by the high cost of fuel and car insurance and the roads getting more clogged.

But the most ominous thing of all - he points out - is how many more stupid, ill advised things are being done by governments in the name of progress?   Things that only with hindsight will be proved to be wrong.

On a more cheery note - are you looking out for the comet?   I have just been out into the farmyard to have a look (find the new moon, let your eye come half way down towards the horizon and then look to the right of that).  I certainly thought I could see it faintly - but very faintly - and they did say that eyes over fifty years old would probably only see it through binoculars or a telescope - so I expect it was my imagination.   

11 comments:

Gwil W said...

I can only see the moon and one bright star above it to the left. Cant see the comet. Will check again later.

It's the same everywhere with the traffic and rail networks. It's called something like the European Integrated Transport System and it was dreamed up by a cartel of EU industrial lobbyists many years ago and pushed in through the back door. Usual story. Money talks.

angryparsnip said...

I tried to see the comet but no luck and Tucson skies are usually very clear. Tons of people have sent in photos to the local news programs but they use time exposes and really long lens.
I think I need a telescope. I was thinking of buying one but haven't and now I wonder why I didn't.

cheers, parsnip

Country Gal said...

I think we should all go back to horse and buggy ! I would love that , get rid of cars get trains and buses on the go more for long travel and do it like they did in the old days ! We are amature astronomers and have telescopes in a sky dome / observatory in the back yard and we were just about able to see it then as it was low cloud here ! Have a good day !

Dominic Rivron said...

Just been out looking - but it's too cloudy. I'll look again. When it's clear come round and look at it through my telescope.

Railways used to be seen as the big green solution that would keep freight and everyone else off the roads. I wonder what happened to that idea?

As for stupid ideas in the name of progress... Not so long ago it was announced just how much energy was wasted by leaving electrical appliances on standby. This was about the same time as the rollout of digital tv freeview boxes -ie, one more appliance in every house left on standby.

Angie said...

I would never have thought of Beeching but I have to agree totally. One normally thinks of posative work but negative has even more impact in this case.Nearly every small town here in Fife had a station pre- Beeching but the east was hit hardest and a handful only are left here.

Heather said...

I don't think we will see the comet as we have total cloud cover and rain.
I can't help thinking that the proposed high speed train is going to be a very expensive white elephant. It will destroy vast tracts of countryside, farms and homes and cost unimaginable sums for compensation. As a nation we seem to have become expert at wasting money then making cuts in areas which need it most.

Gerry Snape said...

So Pat out I went...just now...and it's raining here!! I saw the thin slither of a moon this week coming back from visiting the potter in hospital and that was beautiful...so thin and silvery!!

Robin Mac said...

I think it is the same the world over, we have certainly had massive rail closures here in Australia, and now have huge freighters rumbling up and down our highways and tearing them up. Trains were so much more efficient. I don't know anything about the comet, so I suspect it is only visible in the northern hemisphere. Cheers

Hildred said...

Our local postal system has recently undergone a supposed improvement. Letters posted from the interior of B.C. are now sent directly to Vancouver, where there is a vast machine that swallows all the envelopes and after a few days spits them out to the wrong destination, and as a consequence they are sent back to Vancouver so the machine can try again!!! Twice it has taken two weeks for me to receive a letter from Penticton, thirty miles away from Keremeos.

I am so sorry about your railway system too,Pat. We made great use of it on our trips to England it seems we all continue to be the victims of 'progress"..........

Pondside said...

Just two years ago we lost our E&N railroad here on the island - victim to the same ill-advised movement that saw the rails in the rest of the country pretty much abandoned or ripped up and turned into The Trans-Canada Trail for bikers and hikers. There aren't many of us that will be walking across the country to visit our grandchildren! We're left with a sporadic and much-touted 'scenic' train for tourists. It's so sad, as it was the rail that really drew this vast country together.

Golden West said...

I justified the carrot cake for breakfast by considering the walnuts, raisins, carrots, eggs, wheat flour and cream cheese! The millinery stamen are small, about 2.5 inch flexible paper stems with composition balls on each end that are used to make flowers for hat makers. There's been a resurgence in hand made flowers - some brides like to have an everlasting bouquet and there are lots of hat making classes. We have our stamen custom made in Germany and the Czech Republic - they are still hand made as they were in Victorian times! It's a skill passed down from one generation to the next and there are only a few families left in business. We sell them all over the world, from Scandinavia to Australia and many points in between. Now you know more about millinery stamen than you probably care to!