A year ago we went to the polls and re-elected Mr. Blair and the Labour party. I wonder if the result would be similar today? As it happens, today is the day of local elections in London and some boroughs elsewhere in England but these results will tell us little about the true national mood. In my ward in Ruislip Manor, the LibDems have been very active, leafleting on several days and culminating with a visit from one of their candidates (he lives directly opposite so he did not have too far to come) and a flyer dropped in this morning reminding us it was voting day. The other parties have been virtually invisible.
As usual the palpable sense of raw excitement in the streets was, well, definitely palpable. I saw at least one person going in to vote at the church hall in Hammersmith on my way in to work. And two tellers sitting outside in the sunshine. Let us hope that by the time I wend my way homeward this evening one or two more will have bothered to vote
Now for some train news. Yesterday I was in Clerkenwell at lunchtime and intended to take the tube to High St Kensington to go back to my office. So, and get this, I arrive at Barbican station at 13:04 to see that all services are suspended due to signal failure. The notice was timed at 13:00. There was one train, jam-packed, idle at the platform. After some delay it moved off. I waited for the next, also packed, and stood uncomfortably in the heat (yes, it had to happen on the first hot day this year) for the following ten minutes that it took us to wheeze arthritically to Faringdon (the next station and supposed site of the so-called failure). As the train showed no signs of moving any further west, I abandoned my journey, for which London Underground charged me £2, and took the bus instead.
turn on Ben Elton political tirade voice
Isn’t it great? We are still reliant on a transport system that uses a signalling system devised in the late nineteenth century. A 21st century ticketing system mark you. No problem whatsoever with raking in the money from the hapless passengers (or customers as they pathetically try to call us). I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating – how on earth is London going to host the Olympics with this sort of infrastructure?