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Marooned Between Milton Keynes & The New Economy

My thoughts aren’t particularly charitable or digital today, stuck, as I am on a train somewhere between Birmingham and London. A signal failure I’m told, today’s excuse for the failure of our third-world rail service.

I had joked this morning, when the snow was piling-up outside the hotel in Birmingham, that I’d probably be marooned. Wrong kind of snow you see and never once, have I caught a Virgin Express train and not experienced a serious problem or delay.

It could be worse I suppose. After once experiencing a seven hours delay on the London to Paris shuttle, I swore I would avoid trains at all cost but then the people who joined me in Birmingham this morning told me that the last ten miles into the city from the motorway took them an hour. Ironically, it’s taken an hour to go less than five miles on the train I'm sitting on now.

At £100 return, second-class of course, the train, pound for pound is more expensive than a First Class return to Dubai on Emirates but without the frills although the February sunshine through the carriage windows is bright enough for 35,000 feet and I can’t see the cursor on my laptop.

As a nation, we can’t even manage to make the trains run on time and yet we have ambitions of becoming the second-largest knowledge economy after the United States. It’s hardly credible and from simply looking at the achivements of government technology projects, I'm forced to suspect our political leaders of collectively indulging in delusional masturbation, a passion that has blinded them to the sad decline of a once great Britain at the start of the 21st century. Wet dreams of an egalitarian, multi-cultural knowledge economy protected by an army that has no boots and an air force which can’t afford to keep its pilots in the air.

An advanced society differs from a third-world slum in that its citizens share a sense of identity, responsibility and purpose. This national pride is clearly visible in the way that Americans pull together to create chocolate fudge cake, Disney World and an atmosphere of reliability and efficiency, which contrasts with Euro Disney and some of the middle-eastern states I know so well as well as many of the failing inner cities councils in this country.

When we lose this sense of pride, it becomes so much easier for the BNP to win seats at local council elections and far easier to accept why a society would reject leaders with names like Tony and Ian and instead vote for a bloke called Adolph, who offers not only to throw out the European Convention on Human Rights but to make the trains run on time and the carrying of gilded tissue boxes in beaten-up Mercedes a criminal offence that carries a deportation order

I’m tempted to take a trip to France to claim political asylum or simply leave the lunatics to run the asylum but unfortunately that involves catching a train and the one I’m on has no intention of moving much further beyond Milton Keynes today.


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