The intransigence we don’t need

17 December, 2008

“That’s the spirit, George. If nothing else works, then a total pig-headed unwillingness to look facts in the face will see us through.”– General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett

One of the great things I love about Blackadder is adaptability of the scripts to any situation.  What works in a mock WWI comedy is seemingly etched onto every recruit into the Department of Transport.  I’ve mentioned before my less than stratospheric appreciation of the DoT for instance here and here. Now Michael Meacher has a story of incompetance at the DoT that not even one of Baldrick’s cunning plans could envision.  

So what to do? For the Prime Minister transport is never going to be at the top of the agenda. The world is simply to complex and busy for him to do everything and with 2 wars and an economy that is taking a dunking transport is someting that is going to get the chop from PM facetime. The answer is to find a member of the PLP who gets the green transport agenda, whose a canny political operator, delights in saying no to vested interests and knows how to drive change not just in the UK but also in the EU and just leave them in charge for a few years. Shuffling people in and out of the department really doesn’t help at all. Not even the far to short presence of  political titan Tom Harris and excellent Labour blogger has been enough to deliver the change we need.

This is not to deny that Labour has had some successes on transport but lets face it we are the Oliver Twist party always wanting more. Free off peak bus travel for pensioners and the disabled and more rail passengers than at any time since WWII with more seats are great but the reality is that we have missed a transformative opportunity over the last 11 years on transport and the need for a green, efficient, evidence based transport system is greater than ever.


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