IN the past few months, not a day goes by without there being a headline, or comment, or editorial, or letters on the subject of the abysmal state of our railway system and its timetables, ticketing, cancellations and the lack of investment or improvements for the network here in the North, as opposed to the London area.
I searched for the details and found the following figures of spending per capita for the Northern region – North-West £680, North-East £220, Yorkshire and the Humber £190. London however, gets a whopping £1,940 per head.
I have always had in interest in statistics, mainly for the underlying, or latent, biases that prop up the figures that are thrown out into the public arena regularly by politicians especially, as well as other public figures.
While London does have a large rail network that warrants more money, these figures show that it gets 10 times more than Yorkshire and Humber. But there is an invisible “elephant in the room” with this subject.
The population of London is shown as 9.79 million and Yorkshire/Humber as 5.34 million. Therefore, by extending the per capita spend, London will get £18.98bn and Yorkshire and the Humber gets only £1.01bn.(just 5.3 per cent of London).
Why we only get 28 per cent of what the North West receives is a puzzle. London’s £15bn Crossrail 1 is well over budget and already 12 months delayed, and a Crossrail 2 is on the cards.
Mr Grayling, how about an extra £5bn for our own electrified “Cross-Pennine 1” and upgrades for Bradford and Harrogate to Leeds? London is the “elephant” in our railway spend while we in the North have to just scavenge for the remnants.
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
AT last the Government is beginning to realise that rail franchising is not the be-all and end-all for our railway system. But do not hold your breath in the hope that it will now get much better.
It all very well re-appraising the current system but it is real action that is required, not just a load more of hot air. The only real solution is to take it back into public ownership. While this Government is in power, it will never happen, as Ministers are committed to the current style of rail management.
School rules on holidays
From: Mr MJ Thompson, Goodison Boulevard, Cantley, Doncaster.
IN response to Brian H Sheridan about my recent letter on school term time holidays, I did not make a “thinly veiled criticism of the teaching profession”. It was open criticism of the powers-that-be who make these rules, and then inflict them on the poor heads of schools who have to use their discretion to enforce the rules.
Different heads will use this discretion differently. My son-in-law, by the terms of his contract of employment, has to have his holidays when his employer dictates, exactly the same as the heads of schools’ holidays are dictated by their contract.
I thank Brian for hoping that my grandchildren do not suffer to much from taking their holidays in term time. My youngest grandchild has received glowing school reports while her older sister is at the top of her class in several subjects, proving that all pupils do not suffer all the time from term-time holidays.
Beware the modern idols
From: Ruthven Urquhart, High Hunsley, Cottingham.
HOW refreshing to read the two letters, (The Yorkshire Post, September 4), namely Bob Stone’s lack of interest in computers and Diane Fielding’s regret regarding the lost art of letter writing.
I am regularly accused of being utterly out of touch with modern life as I stubbornly refuse to allow technology to become an idol.
The definition of idol in my dictionary is “a material object that is worshipped as a God”, so does this not include laptops, smartphones, etc, which can so readily lead to addiction?
Vet on the scenic route
From: Hilary Andrews, Leeds.
WHAT a wonderful advert for Yorkshire the programme The Yorkshire Vet is on Channel 5 every Tuesday. As well as a fascinating insight into the work of a Dales vet, we are treated to views of the magnificent Yorkshire scenery.
It must make many viewers want to visit God’s own county. It certainly makes me proud to be a Yorkshirewoman as I watch it each week.
Failure to deter crime
From: Bob Watson, Baildon.
REFERRING to the epidemic of knife crime in London, Labour MP Sarah Jones told the Commons that harsher sentences were “simply not working” (The Yorkshire Post, September 7).
On the contrary, part of the problem is that in reality sentences are nothing like harsh enough.
From: Elisabeth Baker, Leeds.
BOB Swallow castigates the BBC’s weather forecasters for referring to autumn as starting on September 1 (The Yorkshire Post, September 7).
However, he must have missed what the forecasters were saying about the use of this date, as every one appearing on radio and television on September 1 emphasised the fact that it was only meteorological autumn which started then, and that the autumn which we all recognise as the next season was still to come.
It is for convenience of the meteorological services that the year is split into regular three-month seasons.