A Happy and Spooky Halloween to our members, supporters and readers!
The government chose today to announce that it will abandon its controversial plans to close hundreds of train station ticket offices, including Hexham, in a cost saving measure. It was an immensely unpopular policy that saw passengers, unions and disability rights groups united in opposition. 750,000 people responded to the public consultation with a staggering 99% of respondents against the closures. In Hexham constituency we campaigned against the government’s proposal and our Parliamentary Candidate Joe Morris launched a public petition to save Hexham ticket office.
But is this a Government treat, listening and responding to the voice of passengers? Or a Tory trick? We can’t help but feel that Conservative MPs like Guy Opperman probably didn’t want to fight the next election and be faced with questions at hustings about why they had supported the closure of local ticket offices. And where will the cuts the Tories seek be found next?
In other news, the Covid inquiry heard today from none other than Dominic Cummings, of Barnard Castle fame. As the inquiry sheds light on the Government’s handling of the darkest hours of the pandemic it has become clear that Boris Johnson and his chancellor Rishi Sunak’s handling of the situation was shambolic and incompetent. In reporting by the BBC, Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s chief scientific adviser noted in his diary in August 2020 that BoJo was “obsessed with older people accepting their fate and letting the young get on with life and the economy going”. We haven’t forgotten that the pandemic claimed 231,332 lives in the UK.
Let’s not forget that Guy Opperman supported BoJo until the almost the bitter end and resigned from Johnson’s Government only after 50 of his colleagues had done so first. While Downing Street partied Guy Opperman did nothing.