Saturday, 20 November 2021

Saturday Variety

 Peculiar Political Prognostications

Much political capital has already been creatd by "Boris Johnson' U-Turn". When will the press, and large sathwes of the UK public stop treating the Prime Minister ("first among equals") as some sort of Presidential Dictator. He is not. In the UK we do not elelct a Prime Minster, we elect MPs to represent us in Parlkiament and is the MPs of the winning pasrty wehoelelct or endorse or sack a leader - NOT the voters.

Neither does ther PM have a monopoly on policy. He may have influence, but he, too, is influenced by a whole army of opinions. Here is how Christian Wolmar oputs it in his respinse in the Guardian.
It is illuminating to read the extract below with some care.
Maybe a simplification, but not overly unrealistic!

Whilst media and political focus has centred on "SCRAPPING", it it useful to see what else is contained in this botch of proposals.
Good things all round.
Quetion? Will the new non-quite High Speed service run out of electrc string at Sheffield? Or to Leeds and the East Coast main line via Doncaster?

As Wolmar asks, "Will it all happen?". Sooner or lkatrer some pilitician will come up with a jackpot idea to extend the proper hig speed line to Leeds, Doncaster, York andfd Newcastle. And we will all wrting our hands, shd a few tears and curse the politicians who didn't do it sooner!

Wood's Wonderful Whitener!
Fre Wood, later Sir Freddie, was the man behind the National Bus Company. The decision to paint all ther buses in very boring green or very boring red was a poor one. Buses are a local service and national branding just doesn't fit. But the decision to paint all the express coaxhes white was an inspired move.
Almost over night it created a national; brand for long distancecoach travel. Scot;and was different, of course ...
... but Scotland was differernt, with many Citylink routes providing the only rural bus link in many remore areas.

Both brands remain with National Express coaches a shadow of its former self, owned by Spaniards but retaining the overall white livery.
Some time ago, fbb clicked on a box to add himself to the mai;ong list of a group that was re-creating the Corporate Identity Manual.
Their occasional blogs are fascinating and the latest is about the principles of the white coach.
This all kicked off in 1972, and it thus 50 years old; so there will be many who were noy bortn thern! fbb was 27 and remembers thr shock of the new very well. Also clear in ther old man's oft-befiddled mind, was the vehement opposition of the traditionalists, particularly thoser aficiandos of Royal Blue ...
... and Black and White.
Whjat fbb did not lknow was that an early guide for coach livery allowed the operating copmpany to show its name in grey with a broad coloured underline - either red or green. But Royal Blue and Black and White were allowed to keep their non-standard "National Colours" in minimalist use on the overall white.
Soon, however, this was changed and thr company name was to be shown in plain unafdorned red whatvere the colour of ther buses.
Now that is a bit of livery delivery that fbb did not know. Whatever you age ot experience there is still more to learn, such is the joy of any stimulating hobby!

Puzzle Pictures
Two old terminus railway station pictures, both terminals; but whjere were they. One ...
... no longer exists; and the other ...
... is, just about, recognisable today!
Answers tomorrtow!

Another Railway Poster
No pzzle as to where it is, obviously, but where is it? fbb has searched various on-line mapping services but can spot absolutelty nothing that looks like the above. It could be that Clacton has changed significantly; fbb's best guess is ...
...the area to the east of Pier Gap, a short road ehich leads under a footbridge to the pier - surprisingly.
The area is totally different today ...
...with just the pink-paved footbridge as the location clue.

Unless anyone knows better?

Amongst other things, tomorrow's blog includes a "Missing Model Mystery"

 Next variety blog : Sunday 21st November 


  1. The announcement was huge cuts in promised investment, cloaked in pr and spin achieved by recycling old announcements!

    HS2 East reduced to Birmingham to East Midlands Parkway. Northern Powerhouse Rail reduced to Warrington to Marsden.

    Electrification of Midland Mainline and Transpennine main line announced yet again (how many times have these schemes been announced then cancelled by this government so far?)

    Upgrades to the East Coast main line with benefits promised by the government that have left engineering folk scratching their heads.

    Money for Leeds to develop their metro network with no guarantee further money will be forthcoming to actually build it all.

    Biggest benefits of HS2 is capacity not speed. Long distance expresses move into the brand new purpose built line leaving room on the existing lines for more and bigger local, regional and freight trains. Most of this will be lost as very little new railway will be built.

  2. They even tried to announce work on the Hope Valley line already underway as a replacement for Northern Powerhouse Rail!

  3. Chrstmas persent for ffvb: a nwe coputer kebyoaard!

  4. Presumably the second mystery station is Penzance.

    1. Yes, I agree that looks like Penzance. York for the other?

  5. Where on earth did you get the idea that National Express "is owned by Spaniards"?! It's a 100% British company headquartered in Birmingham which has international operations right around the world.

    1. To be fair to FBB a couple of years ago National Express merged with a Spanish company and members of the Cosmen family, who owned that business, are major shareholders (possibly the largest single share-holders of the combined business) and hold several senior positions in the company. That said, as you indicate, it is headquartered in Britain & quoted on the London Stock Exchange so should still be considered a British business.

    2. That never happened. The Cosmen family offered and then withdrew their offer to buy NX way back in 2009.

      So there has been no merger. What you and FBB may be confusing it with is that in 2005 NX bought ALSA, which is Spain's largest private bus and coach operator.