The Plastic Hippo

June 27, 2015

Bus replacement service


The entire point of being a token Northerner in a metro centric privileged government is that any hope of a long career is shrouded by inevitable redundancy.

Eric Pickles brought very little to the cabinet table apart from a regional accent and a huge tray of free biscuits and after the election was unceremoniously told to go away and settle for a knighthood. The odious Esther McVey also provided a regional accent to compliment the braying nastiness of former public schoolboys but it was her electorate who finally disgusted at her hateful attitude to people with disabilities, dumped her out of Wirral West. With these two “working-class made good” caricatures gone and William Hague mercifully off the radar, it is left to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to speak with voice of the working man and the working woman.

His credentials as a blue collar Tory are impeccable. Born in Stafford and educated in Cannock, this son of a coal miner and grandson of a coal miner was destined to descend into the black hell of a colliery. He became the darling of the 1984 Conservative Party Conference when during the miner`s strike he announced to them that he was a coal miner and, more importantly, a working coal miner. A few months after the NUM were defeated and mines were closed, communities destroyed and lives ruined, McLoughlin was rewarded with an impressive white collar job as a marketing executive at the NCB. You cannot blame him for wishing to better himself and “opportunist” is an unfair description of his character. He was, and is, more accurately described in the former coalfields as a “Scab”.

As a dispensable regional token, it was left to poor old Patrick to announce that the promised £38billion investment in rail infrastructure is now “paused” and under review. You may recall that a couple of months before the election, Cameron and Osborne were sent off to Crewe to stand in front of a train to unveil their vision of a “Northern Powerhouse” to rival the glories of Rome. Served by a transport system superior to the Star Ship Enterprise, this improvement to the lines across the Pennines and the Midland Main Line would ensure that we all lived long and prospered. It turns out that this promise, considered illogical at the time, is a pack of complete and utter lies.

It will require someone with more time and less of a life than me to analyse the election results in marginal constituencies that may have been influenced by the promise of a “Northern Powerhouse”. It is now blindingly obvious that voters were duped into thinking that Cameron and Osborne are actually honest and, like the current transport system, fit for purpose. Mercifully, the good people of the West Country will benefit from electrification as they were sensible enough to dump the Liberal Democrats and vote Tory. Those naughty councils in the northern cities that by entire coincidence seem to be controlled by Labour swallowed the “Northern Powerhouse” scam in the same way that passengers charged 2 million Rupees to cling to the roof of a train for eight hours trying desperately to avoid the overhead electrical cables.

Greater Manchester has been told that it will have an elected mayor and Osborne has decreed that the West Midlands should have a unitary administration governed by a single individual. It is completely wrong to suggest that the Chancellor is unqualified to decide the fate of the regions or to outrageously infer that he is a bit dim or has an intimate understanding of mirrors and razor blades. He has a beautifully shave chin and a degree in history and so has complete knowledge of feudalism, serfdom and the Divine Right of Kings.

But pity Patrick McLoughlin; he only got the job because his working-class credentials made him the only person available after every transport minister was sacked after the InterCity West Coast franchise fiasco of 2012 He will presumably be given a knighthood after he has been blamed and dismissed for this latest shambles. He, like other ministers blame everyone else for their own failings. Consider Jeremy Hunt, Gove, IDS, May, Hammond, that bloke at Defence and that woman at education who looks like Danny Alexander in a frock; it`s always somebody else`s fault. With Cameron floundering in Europe and again making this nation a laughing stock, you don`t need to be a doctor, lawyer, sick, migrant, tourist, soldier or teacher to work out where the blame lies. Spin and a sound bite are not statesmanship.

Labour is clinging to the roof of the train, the Kippers are shouting at people in second class and the Liberal Democrats have just enough people to use one of those hand cranked rail carts that always seem to feature in silent movies. The Tories are in the back of the limo being taken to the airport to board the private jet owned by an oligarch, mogul or sheik. Poor Patrick McLoughlin has been forced to dance on the cabinet table as Old Etonians throw pennies at him.

He has missed the train; and now he has missed the bus.


  1. Still grieving eh?

    Nice portion of leftie smug n sour sauce you served up there, really enjoyed it thanks.

    Comment by Rob — June 27, 2015 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  2. Is there anyone out there that can explain the Governments transport policy? After May and Hammond, perhaps there is a new role for Clarkson after all.

    In passing, I am also looking for anyone who can explain the difference between multi-academy education Trusts and Local Education Authorities. Apart, that is, from shrunken economies of scale, public asset-stripping on a colossal scale, a total absence of local accountability and an excuse to stigmatise schools, pupils and teachers on an almost termly basis.

    A prize is offered to the most convincing arguments. Trust me, it is Top Gear

    Comment by The Realist — June 27, 2015 @ 11:40 am | Reply

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