Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Who are rail bosses trying to kid?

SO rail fare rises have been held at their lowest level for five years have they?

That won’t cut much ice with Weymouth commuters to Dorchester, Bournemouth or even London because local wage rises simply haven’t kept pace with fare rises.

Much has been made about commuters breathing a sigh of relief that increases haven’t been higher, but it is a cold hard fact that all rail fare increases in recent years have been above the level of inflation and well above the level of wage rises.

So how on earth are travellers supposed to cope? They only have one wage cake and, no matter how many slices you try to make from it, the cake is still the same size.

That means if a larger slice goes to pay for commuting then another slice of the wage cake destined for a different bill must be short-changed to cover that extra spending.

On top of that there is the delightful news that massive engineering works are being planned for months ahead which will affect those using both the Weymouth to Waterloo line and the Weymouth to Bristol line, adding delay insult to financial injury.

I’ve been very lucky. Of the five addresses I have lived at over the past 40 years, all of them have allowed me to walk to work. It may have been a long walk in some cases which I didn’t care much for when it was raining but I wasn’t reliant on rail or any other form of public transport.

Many people are not so lucky and need trains to get to work, so they are no doubt wondering what lies in wait for them if this year’s 2.5 percent rise is being hailed as good. I’m pretty sure it won’t be less for 2016, so all rail commuters had better hope their wages perk up a bit to cope with it. 

Yeah... I saw the pig fly by as well.

Where’s winter?

LATEST figures show that Weymouth has just had its second sunniest year since records began way back in 1894.

Certainly there was precious little inkling of that when we were all getting drowned or blown away at the start of 2014, but the summer was a good one and this winter has been anything but chilly.

Perhaps that’s still to come, but not according to weathermen who are forecasting January in Weymouth to be a bewildering mix of rain, strong winds, a bit of sunshine and more very mild conditions for this time of year.

We all know that Weymouth has its own micro-climate but it does seem that winter no longer has the teeth in it that this season is supposed to display.

Perhaps we’ll get a cold snap in February because it is genuinely needed to kill off some of the bugs and beasties which otherwise will live to thrive when spring and summer come calling.

But only 2010 in recent years has produced anything approaching winter-like conditions, so we’ll have to wait and see if 2015 brings any of the white stuff.

Only 15 more weeks of this...

IT’S enough to make you spit but political parties didn’t even have the decency to allow Christmas to fade before launching their general election ‘vote-for-us’ campaigns.

Some of you may be new to the foggy world of politics, so here is a brief guide to the political parties.

Conservative (Colour – blue)
The party boasting that “We’re all in this austerity together,” and can anyone lend them a fiver. Famous for old boys and networks.

Labour (Colour – red)
The party boasting that it represents the working man. Will need more than his single vote to win. Famous for flying red flags and leader Ed what’s his name.

Liberal Democrat (Colour – gold)
The party boasting that only it has the gauge of public temperature. Looking a bit feverish. Famous for not being a government since 1915.

UKIP (Colour – immigrant blues)
The party boasting a strong affinity to the lemming. If it succeeds in its aim to get us out of Europe it will cease to exist. Famous for defector MPs and the winsome smile of combative leader Nigel Farage.

Green (Colour – well... green)
The party which champions the countryside rather than the country. Famous for ‘tree hugging’, wellington boots and annual meetings in a field near Tiverton.

Now if you’ve read all this and been paying attention you should be ready for the tricky task of deciding which of these deserves to get your X.

That didn’t take much time did it. You’ll be voting for the one party which has taken the ‘P’ out of politics: the Monster Raving Looney Party! Just a white coat away from power.

God help us all on May 7th because it will be the blind trying to lead the blind.

Tax trials & tribulations

I WONDER how many drivers are enjoying the trials of renewing their car tax?

The latest revenue advance claims that such renewals have never been easier now they can be done online. No fuss and no trouble we’re told. Naturally reality is a bit harsher.

When I tried my renewal was rejected because it fell on February 1st and my MoT runs out on January 27th. It will have been renewed by then but the new system doesn’t know that hence the rejection. 

I now can’t renew until the system is happy my new MoT exists, so this new tax thing really is a bit taxing.

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