Monday 18 December 2017

Radical Routes

Of course Chris Grayling's proposal to replace local bus services with "something like Uber" is ridiculous and offensive. But even that would be an improvement on Durham County Council's slashing of bus services as if possessed.

Those responsible for that slashing would have lost control of the Council if those with the power to deliver that result had listened to me, instead of listening to the political advice of a man who is now the Political Advisor to a Member of Parliament. Moreover, as a result of the fact that certain people took that advice instead of mine, 472 Teaching Assistants are still on course to lose 23 per cent of their pay.

We need the renationalisation of the rail services as each franchise came up for renewal, and thus at no cost, as the backbone of a rebuilt network of public transport, eventually free at the point of use, and prior to that requiring the approval of the House of Commons for any increase in fares, with the cost of HS2 diverted to reconnecting many towns to the rail network.

In any case, Uber's days are numbered. Over to the unions and the councils to set up their own. It's an app. It's not hard to do. This could all be built into the existing black cab trade. With Uber out of the way, then the black cabs would not be undercut if they adopted the technology. All overseen by the councils and the unions. It could be integrated with Oyster and everything. Everyone would love it. They would rapidly wonder how they ever got by without it.

The Knowledge is no more a "restrictive practice" than a medical or a legal qualification is. The same was true of many working-class protections that have been lost. Let this be the beginning of their restoration. No satnav in the world could ever match The Knowledge, or that latter would no longer exist, still less would it command such healthy remuneration. This is a moment to be seized. The technology now effectively belongs only to the people. Seize this moment.

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