Category Archives: Transport

Labour is becoming a pit of lies. No wonder everybody is walking away

Sadiq Khan: the train is probably empty because no RMT driver would want to get on one with him in it.

Wasn’t this a desperately disappointing development from Sadiq Khan, just when Tube drivers need support from the London Mayor who belongs to the Party of the Workers?

Tube drivers are striking because Transport for London has ripped up existing agreements and working arrangements for the Night Tube, demanding extra night and weekend working.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch explains: “This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success. Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management.

“We have made every effort in ACAS and direct talks since the off to resolve this dispute but it is clear that LU bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the well being of their staff or the service to passengers.

“This strike action, and its serious consequences in the run up to Christmas, was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs.

“We warned months ago that slashing two hundred Night Tube Train Driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality and soon. The union remains available for further talks even at this late stage.“

Contrast that with what Sadiq Khan, Labour’s London Mayor, has said about it, and you’ll understand why Unite’s Sharon Graham has tweeted what she did:

Here’s where Khan crossed the line:

It seems the claim was not true:

The letter to Khan states: “Our Lead Organiser for TfL wrote an email to London Underground senior managers… which ended with the words “We are happy to attend ACAS to resolve the dispute. And are available to do so.” We never received a reply to this email.

“Our reps and members have seen the email in which RMT offers to meet at ACAS and are justifiably furious at the complete misrepresentation of our position in the public domain. It is having an incendiary effect. It’s hard for us to understand why you’ve done this and all I can think is that you have been fed an inaccurate line by hawks within TfL.”

The explanation kindly suggested by Mr Lynch in the letter, even if true, wouldn’t let Khan off the hook because he should have checked the facts with the RMT Union.

It’s a terrible position for a Labour politician, in an elected position of authority, to choose. Here’s the better choice:

And here’s what all Labour politicians should be saying about it:

Sadly, the damage has already been done:

And we have identified the heart of the problem:

That’s exactly it. The rot is at the heart of the Labour Party because it is spreading from the leader himself.

Yesterday morning, This Writer’s Twitter feed was full of comments like these:

There are lots of good points in those comments. Probably the most pertinent are those stating that people who want a better country – for everyone rather than just the very rich – don’t owe Labour anything now that it clearly does not have the principles on which it was founded.

Nobody is obliged to vote for Labour. It is Starmer’s – and Khan’s – responsibility to show, by example, that they are worthy of our support.

Starmer’s record since April 2020 – and Khan’s shocking performance over the Night Tube – tell us they aren’t even interested in it.

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Latest feared Brexit-related shortage is of GRITTER DRIVERS. Good luck on the roads this winter!

We’ve had shortages of fruit and veg harvesters in farms, and are now seeing shortages of butchers and abattoir workers.

We’ve had shortages of nurses for years.

Our transport infrastructure is already suffering because of the shortage of hauliers, and now it is about to take a second hit because…

Local councils are saying they cannot pay drivers as much as haulage firms, meaning there won’t be any gritter lorries de-icing our highways during the winter:

This could bring the UK to a total standstill – and in the depths of winter, when we’ll need food and supplies that allow us to heat our homes more than ever.

Of course, the reason councils can’t afford to pay gritter drivers is simply that the government doesn’t pay them enough grant money to be able to afford the new going rates. Any resulting tragedies must then be laid at Boris Johnson’s door.

According to Sky News:

Transport spokesman David Renard added: “While most councils have been able to keep services running, some may find that their gritting services are affected in the same way that some have seen waste collection services impacted.”

Although he stressed that councils will be trying to plan ahead to ensure their winter services are resilient, he warned additional training for this on-demand sector will “not alleviate the short-term pressure on frontline services”.

Given these courses take up to 16 weeks to complete, trained drivers won’t be hitting the roads before Christmas – fuelling fears that shortages could overshadow this year’s festivities.

Mr Renard said: “Fast-inflating HGV driver salaries in the private sector risks exacerbating issues in the public sector, with the rises potentially creating a retention as well as a recruitment problem for councils and their contractors.”

It should be remembered that the government has tried to lure drivers back from the EU with a temporary HGV visa scheme.

However – and possibly because they remember being stuck in a Kent car park over last Christmas, with no toilet or washing facilities – very few drivers have taken up the offer. Very few:

This Writer saw a suggestion on the social media that even those 27 applications were not, in fact applicable.

The suggestion was that they were test applications relevant to each EU member state, made to ensure that the system was working properly!

And, of course, the Tories are also running into “sauce for the goose” arguments:

Yes indeed – and we know that the government can’t blame poor pay and conditions for nurses on anybody else. It is therefore hypocritical of Johnson and his cronies to berate haulage firms over low pay when their derisory pay rise for NHS staff has now been translated into a pay cut by new conditions that their political choices have created.

All we can do now is hope for a mild winter.

If we get ice, there will be death on the roads – because of Boris Johnson and his godawful Brexit.

Worse still, the knock-on effect could bring death to our homes – and, depending on how often we all check on our neighbours, it could be weeks or months before we even know the total death toll.

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Image of Johnson on way to Manchester is a metaphor for his leadership

Wrong direction: the London North Eastern Railway would have taken Boris Johnson to Newcastle, not Manchester. And don’t think for a moment that he would have carried his own bags.

He was on the wrong track. Get it?

People have been having lots of fun with this tragic tweet from the party of miscommunication:

It’s just so false – which is appropriate when one considers the person who is its subject.

The train wasn’t going to Manchester…

… and you can bet that, wherever Johnson was going, he wouldn’t have been carrying his own bags to get there.

This Writer can only conclude from the image that it is good for the Conservative Party that he won’t be making his speech until Wednesday (October 6).

On the basis of this evidence, he would need that time just to find Manchester.

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‘Unpopular’ Johnson to fight shortages with temp EU driver scheme – with too few places

Empty shelves: Boris Johnson created the shortages with his stupid Brexit – as this satirical image makes clear. Now he’s scrambling to find short-term solutions because he’s upset that the backlash is harming his popularity.

Boris Johnson’s idiocy has painted him into a corner so tight that his only choices make him look even more blindingly daft.

His Brexit stopped EU haulage drivers from working in the United Kingdom and this led to a worsening of the shortage the country was already facing.

Johnson refused to put HGV drivers on the list of those who would be allowed to work in the UK, saying that the country (in fact, only a quarter of current UK citizens) had voted to end freedom of movement.

How true those words became!

Now we have no freedom to move groceries…

No freedom to move other goods…

And because fuel tankers aren’t reaching filling stations, no freedom to move at all. On this, Johnson’s Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, tried to assure motorists that there was no crisis – and they ignored him, sparking mass-hysteria panic-buying.

This response from the public indicates that the population at large has no confidence in government claims.

That’s what happens when a prime minister lies constantly – and leads a government of liars.

Now, Johnson is planning a U-turn, saying he will put EU drivers on the visa scheme allowing them to work in the UK.

So he is making a liar of himself – again.

And he is saying the scheme will be restricted to 5,000 drivers – nothing near the 100,000 who are needed.

If he’s saying this will be enough, he’s making a double liar of himself.

That’s according to haulage bosses:

Toby Ovens, managing director of Broughton Transport Solutions, said he is not convinced a temporary visa scheme will solve the current shortage of HGV drivers.

This is just another Tory bid to hoodwink us.

Johnson is saying what he thinks will calm us down: “All is well. We are solving the problem. Go home. Go back to sleep.” That sort of thing.

He’s just looking for short-term relief from the pressure this situation has created – not on the UK’s transport infrastructure, but on him.

He doesn’t like the fact that people are – rightly – blaming him for a crisis that would not have happened if he had not insisted on forcing on us all a Brexit deal that he had not even read.

And This Writer doesn’t think for a moment that it will do him any good.

Because we know we can’t trust him and his promises are worthless.

Source: Temporary visas for 5,000 foreign lorry drivers will NOT solve supply crisis, haulage boss warns  | Daily Mail Online

Rush for fuel shows what we think of Tory ministers’ promises


“‘Buy petrol as normal,’ says minister” – according to a BBC News headline.

So of course we all did the exact opposite. Motorists have been queueing at filling stations all day long, topping up their tanks and bringing Jerry cans along to be filled as well.

“Once bitten, twice shy”, as the old adage runs – and we have all been bitten far too many times by our worse-than-useless Tory government.

Remember: the Tories deliberately caused the crisis in fuel by making damned sure that Brexit would create a shortage of lorry drivers.

They have also caused huge problems with the import and export of goods, thereby ensuring that prices would skyrocket and you would not be able to afford them.

What kind of government – of Prime Minister – deliberately engineers the impoverishment of their entire nation?

Boris Johnson’s Tory government – that’s what kind!

I’m only sorry I’m unlikely to be around to see how the history books describe this perfect storm of stupidity in around 100 years’ time.

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Government will relieve HGV driver shortage by removing ‘reversing’ element. Idiotic

Tempting fate: this is what happened when an HGV driver tried reversing in a Welsh country road. Expect many more such incidents after the Tory changes to HGV driver tests take effect.

The UK’s stupid Tory government has promised to increase the number of HGV driving tests available in order to relieve the current driver shortage – by eliminating a vital element in which drivers must show they can reverse the vehicle.

This Writer knows how valuable the ability to reverse properly is, because I have reported on what happens when it goes wrong.

Very early in my career I reported on an inquest into the death of a man after an HGV reversed into him. I won’t go into the details because they are distressing.

So I am looking forward to the Conservative government guidance that shows how HGV drivers will be able to avoid reversing in the future.

Also eliminated are the “uncoupling and recoupling” element for vehicles with trailers.

The government says these parts of the test take a long time so it’s better not to bother. They’ll do it later… maybe.

Why not do it straight away, at the test that shows drivers are qualified to do it? I don’t believe what these ministers and civil servants are saying.

In addition, car drivers who want to tow a trailer or caravan won’t need to take a test, freeing up a further 30,000 more HGV tests.

The new legislation to make these changes legal is being pushed through by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT says the move won’t affect the standard of driving required in order to drive an HGV, while car owners are being encouraged to undertake extra training in order to tow trailers and caravans.

Huh?

If car drivers will need extra training to tow trailers and caravans, then they won’t be qualified to do it… and that implies that the parts removed from HGV tests are also vital. Doesn’t it?

That’s what I’m seeing on the social media:

I suggest a new general election slogan for, well, any party, really:

Keep death off the roads! DON’T VOTE CONSERVATIVE!

Source: Government promises 50,000 HGV tests a year and relaxes car towing rules – Car Dealer Magazine

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Food chain collapse means Brexit is hitting schools – and the media are whitewashing Johnson

School meals: Boris Johnson’s Brexit means these are soon to become a rarity.

The Brexit-prompted HGV driver shortage means school canteens are going to run out of food, it was revealed – just as English schools reopened for the autumn term.

Now, why wasn’t this ever mentioned before?

HGV drivers are chronically low-paid, which is probably why there was a shortage of 60,000 even before all the EU-national drivers – 25,000 of them – were told to go home by Boris Johnson’s gang of xenophobes (you call them the government).

There were plans to train up 19,000 new drivers but they were foiled by Covid-19.

So that’s 104,000 HGVs that aren’t servicing our supermarkets and schools. It must be terrific for reducing pollution but it’s not so good for your child’s nutritional needs.

But that isn’t even the worst of it!

Farmers are struggling to get workers to bring in the harvest, meaning much of the food they have grown over the last year may spoil.

Formerly people came from the European Union but “post-Brexit, that is a problem”.

Apparently 70,000 seasonal workers are needed but only 30,000 seasonal work permits are available to people now living in the EU. And there aren’t enough UK workers to fill the gap.

Either the Tories didn’t think about this when they were setting the number of seasonal permits available… or they deliberately planned to sabotage the harvest. Neither alternative is particularly palatable, is it?

This Writer will be charitable and suggest that the Tories didn’t think. There’s a precedent for this: they didn’t think the withdrawal from Afghanistan would be the mess they made it and they didn’t think giving Covid-related contracts worth billions of pounds to their inexperienced friends would do any harm, after all.

So this is probably just another symptom of Boris Johnson’s spectacular – nay, stellar – incompetence.

I’m sure you’ll take comfort from that when you look at your empty plate later this year.

And by the way, that’ll be partly due to a knock-on effect of all this: food prices are going to rocket:

According to the FT report,

the shortage of lorry drivers and more regulatory checks on imported food [will] combine with rising prices for fuel, freight and raw materials, experts have warned.

So that’s even before the effect on the harvest is taken into account!

People are, understandably, angry:

But some are strangely silent.

For example – the BBC. The omission that Peter Stefanovic mentions below is just symptomatic of the Corporation’s efforts to safeguard Boris Johnson and his Tory gang from any responsibility for their stupid decisions:

And – inevitably – they are helped in this by the utter failure of Labour MPs to highlight the harm and the reason for it. Anyone would think they had faults of their own to hide:

Perhaps it’s time people were reminded that they voted for this fiasco. Given a choice between a leader who would have ensured that there was food on our plates and Boris Johnson, the UK’s people voted for starvation:

For some, this will be the hardest part to swallow.

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News media accept supermarket food shortages are due to Brexit – contrary to Johnson’s propaganda

Lorries without drivers: news outlets are finally admitting the shortage is due to Brexit. Boris Johnson won’t like that!

This is an important admission from The Independent, although it lags a considerable time behind some of us in the social media.

The newspaper’s article Brexit food shortages could ‘cancel Christmas’ and last into 2022 acknowledges – in its headline – that Brexit is responsible for the emptying of your local supermarket’s shelves – not Covid-19.

It states:

Britain’s post-Brexit supply chain crisis could “cancel Christmas” and continue to cause food shortages well into 2022, industry leaders have warned.

Boris Johnson’s government has been urged to ease immigration rules so some EU citizens who left the UK during Brexit can return and help fill major gaps in the workforce.

McDonald’s had run out of milkshakes, [and] chicken shortages caused Nando’s to temporarily shut 50 stores last week because of supply problems linked to Brexit.

The RHA [Road Haulage Association] estimates that up to 20,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers from the EU left during Brexit.

Tom Southall, policy officer at the Cold Chain Federation, said Brexit was partly to blame for recruitment problems across the food sector – predicting that it would be 2022 before the nation begins to get to grips with the backlog of vacancies for drivers, pickers and processors.

Norfolk food firm Alfred G Pearce, which grows and processes vegetables, is also struggling with labour shortages, having seen its workforce reduced 20 per cent to 30 per cent down after EU employees returned home during the Brexit process.

Bryan Roberts, retail analyst at Shopfloor Insights, said it would take time to train new workers, even with a major recruitment drive. “Sadly I think things are only going to get worse in the run-up to Christmas and we’ve got a whole load more regulations coming in from Brexit in October,” he said.

Other news media have caught on and are starting to say the same:

It seems people in the UK are finally turning the corner and realising that the way to conquer our differences with the EU was to remain a member state and argue for change (in a rational way, not a David Cameron do-as-I-say-or-I’ll-have-a-strop ultimatum) and not to walk out and end all the trade agreements and border deals we had in our favour.

Of course, the shortage of lorry drivers would be over if Boris Johnson and his Tories would only make two decisions: first, they could swallow their misplaced pride and bring in drivers from the EU to cover the current shortfall; second, they should raise pay rates above subsistence level – otherwise there would be no reason for anybody to help out at all.

Some employers have seen the light and raised wages unilaterally…

… but Johnson and his gang won’t impose these changes nationally because they themselves are not suffering. They don’t care about you and they never did.

So you see now that Brexit was created to engineer the very shortages you are experiencing today, deliberately, by Johnson and his Brexiteer Tories.

Source: Brexit food shortages could ‘cancel Christmas’ and last into 2022, says industry | The Independent

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Racist Tories indicate they’d rather have criminals driving our lorries than foreigners

I’m not happy with this.

It seems Boris Johnson’s government is thinking of letting convicted criminals – who are serving prison sentences – deliver lorry loads of goods to ease the driver shortage caused by Brexit (not Covid-19).

The option was tabled by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which is apparently meeting with HM Prison Service this week (although I don’t know why. Most of the prisons are run by private companies these days, aren’t they?) to ask for lorry drivers to be prioritised on the Release on Temporary Licence (ROFL* ROTL) scheme.

The meeting comes after Nando’s had to close 45 fast food joints due to a shortage of chickens. In related news, McDonalds recently ran out of milkshakes.

And of course the nation is running out of patience.

But that didn’t stop ministers rejecting calls for temporary work visas to be handed to drivers from the European Union after overtures were made to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The response was clear – and clearly racist: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

In other words: “We don’t want Johnny Foreigner coming over here and helping us out of a problem we created because of our racism against him! We’d rather cut off our noses to spite our faces!

The statement continued: “We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

In other words, new drivers will be trained to a lower standard, and tests will be of a lower quality, in order to put more drivers on our streets. And bring more death to our roads?

The alternative is the use of prisoners. You can read about it here and here.

Owain Gardner (below) makes some good points about it:

And so does Richard Murphy:

We’re coming to a point where we don’t mind who we trust to deliver our food – or what condition it may be in when it arrives. That’s why I don’t think such a scheme will work.

Which prisoners would the government allow to be used? What crimes would the government deem to be harmless enough to allow them to deliver food to us? How would they be supervised?

My guess is that the answers to these three questions are: any, all, and not at all.

And that creates a danger to us. It only takes one con with a chip on his shoulder to cause all kinds of problems. I’m sure I can leave the consequences to your imagination.

Oh, I’m exaggerating; overdramatising. Sure.

But we have prisons to stop dangerous people from doing dangerous things. This scheme will give them free rein to do it.

And I’m only wrong about this until something happens to prove me right.

*ROFL is of course an Internet acronym meaning “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”. I mention it because of its similarity to ROTL, and also to connect with Keir Starmer’s howler at his latest relaunch of his party leadership, in which he used the slogan “Winning The Future” (WTF). You’re probably aware that WTF is Internet-speak for “What The F***”.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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News-hacks take note: Army ‘on standby’ to deliver food after BREXIT drained UK of lorry drivers

At least Metro couched its reporting of the government-sponsored lie by saying the crisis caused by the lack of lorry drivers “is thought to have been exacerbated by the so-called ‘pingdemic'”.

We know the shortage of lorry drivers has little to do with the government’s Covid-19 warning app on mobile phones, though, don’t we?

It happened because of Brexit; the drivers have all been sent back to the EU nations where they were born.

And now the army has been put on standby to deliver supplies to supermarkets.

That’s 2,000 qualified HGV drivers to make up an expected shortfall of 100,000. Does that seem realistic to you?

We all know the truth, and we’re all saying more or less the same thing:

There is one conclusion to be drawn from this story.

It is that Metro is written by stenographers for government propagandists, rather than by proper reporters.

That’s not my opinion; it’s that of Ian Leslie in The Critic, who wrote the words quoted here:

“Journalists check our stories about what’s going on against the facts and give us different, more truthful angles.”

That certainly doesn’t seem to have happened here! A caveat that the problem “is thought to have been” due to the ‘pingdemic’ doesn’t cut any ice.

Aren’t we lucky to have journalism like that of Vox Political, here on the social media! And what a shame most people are too busy reading Metro to even give it a glance.

Here’s a thought:

Why not share this article with your friends, to show them what they’re missing?

Source: Army ‘on standby’ to deliver food amid shortage of lorry drivers | Metro News

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook