Letters - September 7, 2016

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TRANSPORT

Railway system is now fragmented

In the fallout from the Jeremy Corbyn ‘Traingate’ affair, the truth of the matter is the railways should never have been privatised in such a fragmented way by the Conservative Government two decades ago.

The sell-off of the British Rail network to numerous private companies was one of the worst deals in history. The British Rail network, infrastructure and rolling stock was priceless. Since privatisation, it has made wealthy millionaires of company shareholders.

The rail network now is a fragmented system which often lacks unison and co-operation between operators. When the rail network was sold off between 1995/96 it was like the Transport Minister holding up 12 dozen eggs, throwing them up into the air allowing them to fall, break and run all over the place.

However, as a regular commuter to Blackpool from London Euston, I have to say Virgin Trains overall run a good West Coast main line service. They offer competitive advance discounted fares and a fair compensation system for excessive journey delays. Many delays caused to Virgin Train services are due to main line infrastructure defects, or problems inherited as a knock-on effect due to other train companies experiencing problems and defects on their trains.

Would today re-nationalising the railways be a good investment to the taxpayer?

The sheer cost and total payouts to the numerous private operating companies and their shareholders would be colossal. This money would better spent elsewhere than making these wealthy shareholders even richer.

The best option would be for the Government to kick the poor performing operating companies up the backside with a clear aim improve standards where necessary.

Statistics and reports have found the largest profits gained from numerous rail companies are from some of the worse performing train companies in the UK. Finally I’m wholly in favour of keeping guards on trains.

Stephen Pierre

via email

COMEDY

They don’t make ’em like that any more

Jayne Dawson doesn’t agree with sitcom one-off revivals seen on TV recently, but then she didn’t like them the first time round anyway (Saturday Slant, Gazette, September 3)!

While I agree they should remain a memory of how we enjoyed comedy at the time, and the fact that political correctness doesn’t allow a number of them to be revived, seeing Are You Being Served? rebooted to the late 1980s was still funny and the characters played almost identical, with Sherrie Hewson as a brilliant Mrs Slocombe.

The British sitcom Jane describes as “a painfully awful invention” can’t have been so bad when they not only attracted millions of viewers at the time, quite a few had successful summer seasons in Blackpool playing to packed houses twice nightly.

Some weren’t funny, but that depends on one’s personal sense of humour, because I never liked It Ain’t Half Hot Mum, and the Alf Garnett character in Till Death Us Do Part got on my nerves. However, the rest were hilarious, and many have gone down as classic comedies not to be beaten because we simply enjoyed down to earth humour.

Despite the generations born after those ‘sitcom days’ preferring alternative comedy, we nevertheless loved them and have the privilege, with the aid of technology, to watch them over and over again on DVD thinking: “They just don’t make ’em like that anymore!”

Clifford Chambers

Ashton Road
Blackpool

COMEDY

But where are the original ideas?

I couldn’t agree more with your columnist, Roy Edmonds (Gazette, September 1).

The BBC have surely taken leave of their senses. I mean how can you improve on perfection?

The originals of famous sit coms like (for starters) Are You Being Served? and Porridge are still revived regularly on TV, so why set up copies? Let’s face it, and with all due respect to the artists thrown into such well established parts, there’s no way Mollie Sugden’s Mrs Slocombe or John Inman’s Mr Humphreys could be bettered.

And whoever (to be seen later) gets lumbered with the Hyacinth Bouquet/Bucket role in Keeping Up Appearances has my deepest sympathy. Patricia Routledge’s performance was a masterpiece, or should that be madampiece?

It all goes to show Auntie is running short of good comedy writers and sitcom ideas and the sooner this failure is remedied and we get originality back the better.

Neil Kendall

Stamford Avenue

South Shore

LANGUAGE

The Beeb has let 
its standards slip

It was an excellent article by Aasma Day recently about the misuse of language (That’ll Be The Day, Gazette, August 31). Little wonder really considering the influence mainly of the BBC, where standards have plummeted over the years.

Some BBCisms which are uttered frequently are: Guys [for male and female]; Draw rup a plan, Draw ra line under, law renforcement and many others with a mysterious r inserted; different to and different than instead of different from; a bacteria , a criteria [singular instead of plural]; silly phrases such as “eat your heart out”; and weather forecast ones –wintry old weather, dreary old day, spits and spots [currently replaced by : dribs and drabs.]

You would think there would someone among the faceless ones in the BBC sensitive enough to standards to cut out the sloppiness.

Cleveleys Clever Clogs

via email