Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ghostly image on the A28

For those of us who live in Margate, and like to commute out to the rest of the world, for some days, like me, you will have been mystified by the closure of the A28 from Brooksend to St Nicks roundabout.

Interesting as the diversion is, at 5:00 in the morning, the route offered across fields and I think through farm yards does not compensate for vital seconds lost, before piling into London Traffic.

Who knows what Kent highways have been up to, needless to say throughout this inconvenience there appeared to be no work taking place.

Any how on the way home, I notice traffic moving, and was able to take this blurry picture of an apparition, it could be a contractor I'm not sure. Maybe one of those rascals at KCC highways could tell us.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kent Messenger to get facts right

Just glancing through the Thanet extra, and I notice the on page four (also online), that Kent Messengers editorial Director Simon Irwin has launched a campaign(GET IT RIGHT) to be 100% accurate. This seems a bit of a tall order since, even factual stories are open to bias or whats now called spin. Of course readers of Bignews Margate will already have found the pinnacle of factual enlightenment on this very website.

I heard briefly, on the radio earlier this week, one possible indication of journalistic incompetence and laziness, the story of twins separated at birth, later married then annulled blah blah blah, which has been challenged by John Henley in the Guardian click here for the facts? etc.

I think whatever your reading, you should question, a few times I've read pious crap from otherwise brilliant local journalists, writing about their trade in terms, that would lead you to think they were a cross between a solicitor and priest such is the old codswallop about checking facts etc.

Probably you'll be reading this Sunday Morning, having read the News of the World, Mail Sunday Times whatever, one things for sure most of the your papers will be conjecture, invention and maybe.

Perhaps the worst aspect of the print media, is the interference from owners, but even more insidious is the amount of advertising revenue from local government, which is why you should always keep an open mind.

Anyway next week Bignews launches its "right for once" campaign, in which readers will be invited to email Bignews Margate, anytime correct facts, grammar , spelling and punctuation are used.
Just as a postscript if journalists are so marvellous, why do they so frequently just cut paste stories given to them from KCC communications or even our humble thanet council press releases.

Heaven and Hell

All this controversy over Margate being ugly, and comments coming from Bob Geldof (who is quite happy to take money via Ten Alps from Margate taxpayers and then insult our beloved town), seemed irrelevant on Tuesday this week.

Driving past the harbour with the moonlight reflected on the sea around about 5am, the thought occurred that this scene was as good as any I would be seeing that day, which proved to be true, when a hour or so later, I joined the queue for the Blackwall tunnel.

From just after six in the morning to sometime after nine, I imagine the A102 is about as close to Hell as motoring gets, the only distraction coming from jolly motorcyclists, who as their passing through playfully, punch wing mirrors, as they go. Those of you who travel through the Blackwall Tunnel on a regular basis will recognise the vision and also be familiar with Transport for Londons, decision to scrap the tidal flow system, this was apparently taken on safety grounds but given the massive increased travel to work time for thousands, I wonder whether those responcible have factored in the health risks, of losing another half hour a day in traffic. click here

Thanet is an oasis in an ugly world, although given the chance and left to their own devices those little rascals that run our council are more than capable of screwing things up. Just mull over in your own mind these two little snippets, the stirling work done by Trees for Thanet, ruined by TDC, for full story see ECR (CLICK HERE), and just getting back to "Ugly" Bob, our great leader Sandy "beautiful" Ezekiel was quoted as follows "I am sure Sir Bob would appreciate our ambitions. I'd be very happy to show him around and tell him what we are doing." see in full context. click here.

Me if I ever meet Bob Geldof I will be more than happy to tell him to EFF OFF! Back to Faversham and give us our effing money back (thats the money given by Kent Tories to waste on a piss poor TV service rather than old and needy).

Thats all for now folks, I do find Kent Tory excuses for increase council tax a bit rich, when they have so much money to flush down the toilet on advertising like 6.5 million last year and that was before their vanity broadcasting channel another half mill.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hungry Police Officers March on London

Who ever thought it would come to this police officers forced to march on Downing Street and what for.Well not much really, it seems our boys and girls in blue have been short changed by the government. What a shame.

I doubt anyones seen the like since the Jarrow march.

Just as a side issue I was talking to someone in my industry, who has a professional interest in pay scales and they pointed out that pay had remained pretty much static in the last four years.

Now the police are entitled to a fair days pay for a days work which is what they currently get.

There has been much made of the fact that the police are unable to go on strike however there will be many like me who work for agencys and also don't have any effective means of striking since they will find themselves replaced on the next shift.

The police work hard and so do I, the difference is that in addition to good benefits, pensions and the like, they also get pay which rises, for no other reason every year, than it happens to be the practice of government, to increase pay whether the rest of us can afford it or not.

My advice to the police is think yourself lucky, my day started at 5am and finished at 6:30 pm for which I will only get paid 9 hours!

Recently the chief constable of Kent saw fit to openly criticize the police pay award, what I would ask is why don't the Kent Police Authority ask Mr Fuller to concentrate on crime rather than politics.

Police start on 21K with pay going up into the 30's and 40' s with promotion, and god knows at senior level, and don't forget many retire in their early fifties, I suggest you don't get to upset about hard up police just yet.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

No time to blog

Had no time to blog this weekend, due to work commitments, which is a bit of a pity, would love to comment on Gordon Browns trip China where Labours movement to the right, seems to have reached its peak, all Gordon Brown seems concerned with, is getting his hands on china's money, my question if I had the time, would be, what happened to Labour ethics, China trample on human rights daily, and all brown can do is ask for money.

One of the reasons I have limited time to blog is the fact that I work for an agency in the rail industry, this Friday Network Rail has mentioned its intention do cut down reliance on agencies working with contractors, this appears to be a knee jerk reaction to three engineering projects going tits up at Christmas. My experience on jobs I work, is that agency workers make up the bulk of the work force (you can spot them as there the ones actually working). According to Railstaff newspaper at any time over the Christmas break 5000 rail workers would have been out in the wind and rain.

I'd like to spend some time exploring both of these topics, but I have to be up early for a twelve hour shift.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Who you calling ugly Geldof

Bob Geldof KBE has not surprisingly offended Andy Somers, principal of Hartsdown Technology College, according to Kent News (KOS) in this quarters Kent council Newspaper (Tax-payer funded) when he came out with this line "It’s a mad mystery, the battle of the ugliness of Margate against the charm of the beaches"

Now admittedly this was in what, i see as a backslapping, reverential possibly groveling article in "Around Kent" (Kent council newspaper and worse still a shameless plug not only for the blatant waste of money being spent on Kent TV but also Ten Alps a media company that has seemingly carved a niche in vanity broadcasting. Ten Alps is credited with having worked Microsoft, BP, Min of Defense, British Foreign Office and Tony Blair new bosses JP Morgan.

Some of you will be familiar with Kent TV which mediocre as it is, will cost in excess of 1.2 million pounds over two year plus set up costs, no wonder your council charge will increase again this year.

Now I suggest that you take a gander at the offending article, highlights include "Bob is no stranger to putting his money where his mouth is and his passion about Kent was evident at the launch of Kent TV" (excuse me I thought I was paying along with rest of Kent) this line would indicate that Bob himself has never tried using Kent TV "“I see it as a Kentish You Tube or Kentish My Space.”.

Just for Bob, the difference between Youtube, My Space and Kent TV is that given that the content is legal, the public can publish what the like very easily, not the case on Kent TV I tried and failed more importantly it doesn't cost the public money or in Kent's case services.

Its seems a bit of cheek, to casually insult Margate particularly if you happen to be earning money from those who live here. As ever if you have some thing to add please comment, even if your Bob Geldof and remember if you've ever been insulted by me at least your not paying tax for the privilege. Just imagine how offensive Bob might have been if he didn't love Kent.

Click here to link to a PDF copy of "Around Kent" you will find the article in question on page 5 and Geldof whose no picture himself.

For previous posting including a couple of videos concerning Kent TV Click Here or the Kent TV label

Blogging Hell!

Some days I reckon this blogging thing is getting out of hand. If I need any proof I reckon it comes in the form of "blogs" written by those who already have pretty good access to the media.

Politicians journalists etc have taken to the medium the likes of David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Nick Robinson and they might well add something that wouldn't otherwise be addressed in the media already.

So what prompting this particular post, well its the discovery that Paul Carter, leader of Kent Conservatives has launched himself into the less formal world of blogging, in fairness its informative and a fresh attempt to communicate.

It would be unfair judge at this early stage since the blog is a day or two old, were you to go back 600 odd postings to my first entries, you would almost certainly get the impression of a middle aged semi-literate* moron being the author, well two years later ...... fair enough.

All I would say, is that if I were Mr Carter, I would get myself a blogger account or something to give that honest down to earth look, with maybe a photo or two perhaps of colleagues being careful with our money(tall order).

*(Educated in Kent)

Click here for Paul Carters Blog

Lord save us from god knows what

How uplifting is the news, that the Lord Lieutenant of Kent Allan Willett, has appointed three new deputy Lieutenants, just what any of this lot will do in practicle terms remains a mystrey to me but hopefully those appointed, know what they've got themsleves into. A report is carried on the excellent Kent online site of the KM group, according to which the three chosen will support the monarchy and celebrate Kent.

I always thought the monarchy could support themselves from their vast wealth, isn't the queen also the head of the armed forces? As to celebrating Kent I'm sure that Brig John Meardon (Receiver General of Canterbury Cathedral), Lady Clarke (wife of Anthony Clarke Master of the Rolls) and Sir John Mummery(a Lord Justice of Appeal) are more than capable but they don't seem to be representative of Kent residents, in general.

Well I know my place in society, so I doubt I shall be getting any job offers from Lord Lieutenant Allan Willett, it seems Kent is not quite as egalitarian as some of us would like although I'm sure that those lucky appointees represent the backbone of society whilst myself, I'm probably more lower intestines.

Still it would be nice if society adjusted a little and maybe appointed a clerk, plumber or shop keeper to these presumably ceremonial posts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Manston Open Day

In between my busy schedule this weekend, I had pleasure of visiting Manston Airport which was holding a fun day.

It was pleasing to visit the airport and see large numbers, turn out for the event promoting this summers holidays using the airport. Hopefully the owners of Manston are increasing their business in a sustainable way apparently freight business was up by 15% year on year in the 12 months up to November.

It looks like Infratil know what their doing, in the past, we've seen the likes of EU jet with a hand full of Fokkers and no customers and last year we had those ....bright sparks in Maidstone (Kent Tories), spending hundreds of thousands of your local tax's on flights to some American backwater that never got off the ground.

Judging by the numbers visiting Manston, and the queues to speak with company reps, it looks like many prefer to travel from Manston airport, myself having experienced the 4 am departure only to wander aimlessly around Gatwick until 6 in the evening and no bloody apology and minimal information before boarding a plane.

I've only flown twice from Manston the both times times the flight left on time, even when the flight was delayed on the return journey for an hour who cares, when your in doors with a nice cup of tea, twenty minutes after landing. Given the choice between Manston and any other airport I know which I prefer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Margate's Gateway to the second rate

The much heralded new look library has opened in margate's Cecil Square, renamed as the gateway this new establishment is an experimental hybrid half-council offices, half-library and half-arsed. Sorry one half to many, but don't blame me, blame the council.

The first impression you get of the library, as you walk in, is that you must be in the wrong place, as there are large numbers of people milling about, waiting to discuss business with the council. Unlike the previous library, it seems that it has even fewer books than it used to, there appears to be no demarcation between Thanet council's territory and that of the library.

On the upper floor of the library, the reference section, things are a bit better, although the gallery area no longer exists, being a home for a bank of computers presumably dedicated to the Internet.

As you will know the old entrance, has been sealed up and a small little area has been set aside as a displayed area, currently its showing the finalists in the Thanet's is beautiful photography competition, incidentally the signage is very poor and its not clear whether your welcome or not since you have pass by a long line of Thanet residents discussing their private business with junior council dib dobs (sorry "officers").
Still does this work? well if the intention is to keep joe public away from those higher ups, you know those with reserved parking (Mill Lane Carpark), on 35K plus, then yes, since the entrance to the council offices now has signs to the effect of "sling your hook" "get orf o my land" or "trademans entrance next door", I assume they have some security wallah just inside the council offices should some tax payer chance their arm and gain entry to the more exclusive areas.
Not surprisingly the country's most highly paid local authority chief, Kent County Council Chief Executive Peter Gilroy, came out with this to my mind, rather tedious codswallop “Thanet’s Gateway Plus is an effective and simple way for local residents to access a broad range of services and its eagerly anticipated opening marks an exciting development in the regeneration of the town and the beginning of the next phase in rolling Gateways out across the county. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to use the services on offer and to make the most of the expertise of the team that will be on hand to provide information and advice.”

KCC Leader Paul Carter also was in equally inspiring form when he chiped in with “The Gateway programme is a positive initiative that will provide local residents with easy access to a range of public services.”

What we actually have with the Gateway is the death of the public libray system, all the money spent appears to have gone in increasing ground space for the council. To use a word best saved for Bullshit Bingo I don't get the "synergy" between sorting out council tax rebates etc and improving the mind through education or simply finding a good read. What we're pioneering in Margate is a new way to cut spending.

Click here for TDC's version

Click here for KCC'S version

Time to say it's over!

I thought Kent Council would let the special relationship they have had with the state of Virginia, quietly die, if you remember over the last few years Kent Council has spent the better part of a million pounds on their adventure in America. You'll probably also be aware, that Kent has derived absolutely no benefit whatsoever so far, unless there has been some inward investment, that nobody has mentioned may be a new "McDonald's" or "Subway" outlet has opened in the county.

Anyway it looks as if American bureaucrats are now picking up on this game of pointless relationships, apparently The Chief of Staff to The Governor of The Commonwealth of Virginia accepted an invitation to visit Kent just before Christmas and is promising to come back with his team sometime in April.

Apparently KCC's Director of Improvement Robert Hardy (doesn't he write books), is quoted as saying " this is part of our continuous programme of comparing ourselves against the best practice nationally and internationally.... to offer best value for money"

Here's my tip on best value for money, why not send each other E mails or if you're feeling extravagant pick up the phone, better still why not discover best practice in your home country.

Lets hope we don't see Kent tax payers shelling out on council bigwigs off on pointless junkets again this year, what a waste of money god knows where they get it from (see this years tax rise).

Kent council's news brief click here

Who matters

Just a casual couple of observations on Thanet councils propaganda magazine Thanet Matters, apologies for the late review but for some reason my copy never gets delivered, despite TDC bunging around six thousand pounds for every copy or more for this delightful journal.

So apart from having to pick this up from our genetically modified library/council offices first thing I query the objectivity of its reporting, in a piece of unashamed backslapping from the authors, praise is heaped on the council, after the awarding of some car park accolade from the Association of Chief Police Officers( don't they have criminals to catch or pay bargaining to do) . The car park is as safe as it is because council employees like any other motoring community are quite territorial about the car parking to the extent the public are excluded from using the car park all week.

Secondly on the back-page in the panel entitled “Thanet District Council – your representatives" some of the faces look vaguely familiar, have I seen them in some institution, then after checking I realize, their all Tories, no doubt there is some logical reason for the lack of biodiversity, perhaps there are so few Labour and others that show them in the same panel would distort the make up of the council. I just hope this isn't a case of looking after your own, as we see from Kent council with its somewhat unrepresentative squandering of tax payers money.

If like me your copy of "Thanet Matters" went straight to landfill or over the fence on some waste ground. Click here for a PDF copy

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Game over for Labour

There are times when you instinctively know things have changed, and yesterday that point came, when Mrs Me indicated her intention to vote Tory at the first opportunity, a reaction to news that David Cameron was launching a new policy, to shoe horn the feckless lazy long term bludgers, we affectionately call the long term unemployed, back to work.

Odd as it seems, this to me, sounds like the kindest thing to do, with this countries parasites, it may seem cruel to suggest those who've grown fat on our taxes actually do something for their money but really its the humane thing to do.

This country is probably on its third generation of benefit dependent scroungers, I just wonder whether the conservatives are going far enough, I think they are suggesting that benefits should stop for those on the dole more than 2 years, that's hell of a long time to be sitting in front of a TV all day.

Its time politicians put the squeeze on all those whose have made a career out of bleeding society dry, instead of financing women who've made a career out of having babies and young men fathering them, lets just stop paying them after 6months without a job.

I can understand those who become unemployed resenting the thought of working for poverty pay, but for anyone without a house full of kids, who is purchasing their home, the most you can get on benefits is about 60 quid pocket money so already large sections of the community have no choice as to what job they take.

The industry in which I work, generally employees people on an agency basis, that means the work can and does dry up, so I sometimes find myself a reluctant visitor to the local jobcentre, usually the indignity of one visit is enough for me. How anyone could spend years attending the jobcentre is beyond me.

The idea of forcing people in to work may seem alien but its no worse than you and I working long hours, just so some moronic F-wits can live in luxury at our expense.

Now if the Tories could also announce a policy of setting the minimum wage around 7 or 8 quid they'll get my vote too.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Britain 2008 no-go areas

No-go areas, exist in Britain according to the Bishop of Rochester,Dr Nazir-Ali as far as I'm concerned these do exist but not necessarily in the way suggest by the Bishop.

There are very real no go areas being put up which are more sinister than a bit of attitude from particular faith groups.

I'm fifty+ so I can remember a time when things were vastly different in this country, so to put things in context for those born during the Thatcher years here's my rose tinted view of Britain growing up in the sixties and seventies, first and foremost people were willing to accept and take pride in being part of Great Britian.

At the heart and soul of Britain was the Protestant church, represented by the Church of England, in the main, unlike the catholic competition, a fairly laid back, liberal organisation.

Multiculturalism was yet to be invented, and the popular expectation was that migrants would integrate and merge, why else would people travel thousands of miles from home if they didn'tembrace the life style of this country.

Whilst I encounter areas which are alien culturally to me, I've yet to feel I'm in a no go area (except Moss side, which has more to do with crime than bigotry). No go areas in our life are more about free speech, only a short while ago the Labour party attempted to make it illegal to discuss religion in a critical way.

The way I see this country developing is that gradually the extreme views held by religious cranks will end in disaster, at one extreme you have a church led by men, suffering from chronic sexual frustration, at the other another male dominated bunch who treat women as possessions and wish to change Britain into a barbaric nation ruled by Taliban type thugs.

Its probably too late for this country to do anything about the growing militant religious nutters. This countries welcoming liberal approach, has had the effect, of allowing the lunatics to restrict free speech in this once free nation.

Freedom to discuss this countries future has become a no-go area, uncontrolled migration and dilution of our cultural identity have become the "elephant in the room" (that is a problem, everyone is aware of but nobody will speak). Its easy enough to have a go at the Bishop of Rochester, but when are politicians going to confront the rapid change to this countries identity.

It would you might think, be the place of our politicians to face these issues but like Tony Blair but they seem to be more concerned with filling their pockets than the vacuum of national identity.

Its time that mainstream politicians opened an honest debate on this countries future rather than leave it to fester, do the British people want religious groups to dictate how to live. There was a time when a persons religion was their own private affair, I hope that time returns.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Stephen Ladyman prepares for next election by getting new job

Stephen Ladyman once again gets himself in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons, and reading between the lines it looks like he is preparing for a bit of a disappointment, come the next general election.

First off this weekend he crops up in the Kent on Sunday Newspaper (rather unfairly) in connection with local business man Ken Wills who has funded the labour party to the tune of £25,000, nothing wrong with that. Mr Wills has apparently a memorandum of understanding with Chinese businesses to lease a large parcel of land and hopes this will attract a 1000 jobs. What might be interesting is whether this business development will require any input from our local authorities in the form infrastructure provision. Remember Broadstairs property company Commercial Group Properties Plc arranged for Sandy Ezekiel and others to go on a junket paid for by the Chinese government, late last year. The only thing that bothers me is that old saying "there is no such thing as a free lunch" or junket?

Second in todays Sunday Times (click here) you can just imagine the ethical dilemma, faced by Stephen Ladyman as he takes on a job with Ltis Holdings as an adviser, not surprisingly in this country's weak regulation and lose ethical environment the advisory committee that vets jobs taken by former ministers has given the thumbs up. Of course Ladyman is not alone in moonlighting whilst representing his constituents, many MP's positively boast about their sidelines, since it gives them experience outside of Westminster, funny how they never take jobs as shelf fillers, warehouse workers or labourers.

Good luck to Mr Ladyman I think he will need it, since as a former transport minister he certainly has the experience for Ltis Holdings as their firm is producing road pricing technology. If you don't know what road pricing is, in simple terms its a way of charging a motorist when their driving, particularly handy for local authority leaches, since obviously you cannot clamp or fine a moving vehicle, very successful in London where most of the revenue goes providing bureaucrats with a job, since they would otherwise be unemployable.

I cannot help thinking that those in Thanet South, will not necessarily warm to Mr Ladymans new sideline, helping advise a company whose business is to make your freedom to travel less er free. I cannot help thinking that Laura Sandys the Tory candidate for Thanet South will be checking her calender just to make sure Christmas hasn't arrive early, already.

With so much social upheaval since labour took office it would be nice if he or one of his Labour colleagues could look at the social and economic damage done by Britain's open or no boarders policy.It seems that Labour have reached the same point as did the Conservatives regarding public standards, still look at the last Labour leader who's trousering millions on after dinner speeches.

Still just to come back to the Kent on Sunday, Headline "No conflict of interests" er yes ex-minister.

I'm honoured not to be considered

As ever a new year starts with the British establishment underlining what makes this country what it is, jammed full of sycophancy and a self serving bureaucracy. The New Years honours list is for the greater part, a corrupted twice annual event, when the British establishment rewards third rate managers, for clinging on to their jobs at our expense regardless of their performance.

Their was a time when before civil servants got bloody good salaries and inflation proof pensions (the like of which aren't available in the commercial world), when honours such as CBE's MBE's etc were awarded to recognise a lifelong dedication for little reward.

Unquestionably many of those working in the voluntary sector deserve their Honours, but it seems there is an almost lunatic preference given to public sector workers for just doing their jobs. I suggest you take time out and study the list of those honoured and what they do for a living, more than half appear to be working for the state.

To my mind most of these awards are not worth a light, for the simple reason that those in receipt have just being doing what they get paid for, these awards will have some validity when ordinary people, like shop workers, self employed, staff in hotels and pubs, cleaners, truck drivers, store-men, sales reps, etc. get knighthoods and the like.

So if you've bagged one of these awards, and happen to work for the government or the state sector the chances are that it was just your turn.

Still if the queen takes a butchers at this blog and likes what she sees I could do with a knighthood but no peerage since that would indicate a bung to one our esteemed political parties.

If like me, you haven't been considered for an honour it probably means that you earn your living without getting you snout in taxpayers trough, something to be proud of.

Friday, January 04, 2008

24 hours from .. Thanet

Finished Christmas job Wednesday, 10 hour shifts from boxing day, experienced a touch of schadenfreude as I started the final drive up to West London, for Wednesdays shift, listening to the news that engineering works up on the west coast line and elsewhere would be creating all kinds of journey mayhem for the traveling public.

I see in this weeks papers things are grim for travellers and much acreage of journalism is given over to the discomfort caused to the traveling public, its a pity but not surprising that no mention is given to those who will have been working their nuts off since in some cases Christmas eve many away from family doing 12 hours a day.

The traveling public deserve better as do those who work in the industry, its a pity that this is the best Network Rail can do. Labour MP Louise Ellman a member of the house of commons transport committee came up with this nonsense according to the guardian "I shall also be demanding an explanation and an apology. This is a completely unacceptable situation, a fiasco, which has caused massive inconvenience to thousands of people.

"When maintenance work takes place it should be properly planned, and there can be no excuse for the absence or non-availability of specialist workers.

Nothing to disagree with there except since labour is the party of government, perhaps they could do something to improve the welfare and pay of track workers. In the short time I've been on the railway I have witnessed contracting pay packets, poorer conditions.

As in other industries more and more vital workers are poring in from Europe, unfortunately they will work for whatever is offered, thus bringing down wage levels, even more disturbing is the large numbers of "safety critical" staff for whom English is a struggle, since the railway is a dangerous environment and poor communication is a factor in many accidents, its a pity that contractors don't insist on English speaking staff.

Its no surprise that an industry that expects men to desert their families, work 12 hour shifts over Christmas, miles from home has trouble in completing engineering works, myself I spent more than 24 hours just driving to and from work last week, apart from the long hours and hard work.

One thing you can be sure of, is that whatever results from enquiries into Network Rails, engineering debacle this Christmas, those at the top, will no doubt blame contractors and will still have there snouts in the trough next Christmas. The traveling public deserve better as do the those who've given up time with their families either willingly or otherwise.