Letters - December 19, 2019

Virgin Trains operated a great West Coast service which over the past 22 years I have regularly used to commute from London .

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:00 pm
Virgin trains

I do hope the West Coast Service does not deteriorate now that Virgin have lost the franchise . Virgin proved to be a great improvement in comparison to the former British Rail Intercity West Coast Service.

Rail privatisation is very complex due to the large number of train operators, sharing the same infrastructure. In my 22 years of being a regular commuter, Virgin train delays or cancellations on the whole were down to unfortunate circumstances, such as infrastructure issues, signal failures, damage to overhead wires, severe weather or sadly due to people jumping on to the tracks committing suicide. In any event Virgin did their very best to get their customers home in any such unforeseen circumstances.

Virgin Trains also kindly donated several complimentary rail vouchers assisting me to fund the cost of visiting musicians travelling from London during the Blackpool jazz festivals I presented between 2015-2018. I was very grateful of their community engagement support. These non-profit free public music events benefited local residents and proudly supported Trinity Hospice.

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Moving forward I hope the new rail franchise operator Avanti West Coast are able to maintain a good service and deliver on their promises of refurbishment and future investment. Virgin Trains as a company in my opinion demonstrated good ethics and treated their staff well.

They will be a hard act to follow.

Stephen Pierre

Campaigner for Public



Angel at Poundland

Yesterday, I temporarily lost my bank card.

At the checkout, in a busy shop, I put £10 worth of goods through the check-out and held up a long queue, whilst I frantically searched through my bag and pockets for my bank card.

Seeing my distress, a lovely lady stepped forward and did a contactless payment with no hesitation.

I was amazed and thankful. She asked me, in return, to donate the debt to a charity. I will, today.

I called her an angel.

“Thank you whoever you are. I collected my card from my bank, where I had left it, and raced back to see if I could find you. Your kindness was so appreciated.

“Have a very happy Christmas.”

Please could you put this out into the public domain.

Thank you.


via email


A case of double standards

I noticed something failing to receive any attention in the excitement of the election.

This was the elevation (if I can so describe it) of former Labour MP John Mann to the House of Lords.

This Conservative appointment appears to have been done within a day of the announcement of the election and his defection from his former political party.

He has been tasked with continuing investigations into the problems of anti-Semitism, which he has accused the Labour Party so vociferously of, these past few years. Missing from his remit is a similar investigation into claims of Conservative Islamophobic tendencies.

This, despite long-standing pleas from a former chairman of the party, Baroness Warsi, for urgent in-depth enquiries to do so.

Is John’s concern for religious or racial tolerance one-dimensional?

Denis Lee



What was national insurance for?

I guess the next five years will prove what it is we voted for.

I see Matt Hancock took less than 48 hours to announce “we’ll probably need some sort of health insurance to support the NHS”.

Isn’t that fantastic news for one of the poorest areas in the country?!

Makes you wonder what all our national insurance contributions were in aid of in the first place.

Be sure to remember how you voted when you eventually need something from this government.

Rob Mason



Stumbling block

to negotiations

The PM has triumphed. Big time. We are leaving. Boris Johnson, like Winston Churchill, has won the first phase of Brexit. He has won the battle, he has not won the war.

This is phase two of Brexit, negotiating the most favourable, comprehensive trading agreement with the EU, while allowing us to have our cake and eat it, arranging trade deals with other countries.

Unfortunately, the two are not mutually compatible. Is Boris going to keep us aligned with the EU, or not?

This will be a major stumbling block in securing a speedy agreement, and the end of 2020 looks a big ask.

He has a large enough majority to see off the ERG, something Theresa May fatally failed to achieve.

Nigel Farage trumpeted about trading under WTO rules, but his chum, Donald Trump, is blocking new appointments to the WTO court, which has hamstrung the organisation.

John Van der Gucht

via email