I’ll be back blogging properly after the weekend, but for now here is the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%.

There is now clearly more support than opposition for the RAF taking part in air strikes against Islamic State/ISIS – 45% support Britsish air strikes, 31% are opposed. There is a pretty even split over supplying arms to Kurdish forces, 37% support the the idea, 39% are opposed.


201 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 36, LD 8, UKIP 14”

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  1. @Candy

    “It seems that all this stuff – extra powers and so on – is just a Trophy to be acquired, polished, put carefully away in a cupboard and never touched again.”

    I think you have a point. It would certainly make the case for additional powers more plausible if the Scottish government chose to make more use of the powers it currently has. Local government finance is another example of many, with the Scottish government choosing to do nothing to change essentially the same hybrid rates/poll tax system (council tax) that Heseltine put in place in 1993.

  2. @CHRISHORNET

    Agree with you about the ‘cockroach’ like tenacity of well dug in LibDems. In Council by elections this year they have averaged 13%, which may not be great but is 5% over the opinion polls. It is also sometimes startling how dispersed their vote can be, they can be beaten by novelty candidates in some areas but in others can win a new seat.

    What I’m looking at is the possibility of a critical mass being reached after the general election where there is a collapse in the infrastructure of the party. Where the senior politician who has just lost their limo thinks that they really have been neglecting their family and the activist thinks; ‘I don’t know what we stand for any more and I’m fed up of getting disinterest, abuse and derision’.

    M.O.G. who posts here is an example of a defector to the Greens, which is surely a path others have and will be contemplating travelling?

    It is hard to see where an invigorating new direction comes from now. A ‘return to core values’ doesn’t seem very likely. Liberalism in either the classical or Millsian sense seems almost the antithesis of the modern party. Andrew Neil described Mill ‘turning in his grave’ at the words of a candidate.

    Sometimes parties end.

  3. @Candy, Phil Haines

    I have it on reasonably competent inside opinion that the tax varying powers given to the Scottish Parliament at its inception are written in such a way that they are unworkable in practice. Whether this is cock-up or conspiracy, as it were, I leave as an exercise for the reader.

  4. Mr Beeswax,

    The best hopes for the Lib Dems in the medium-term are (a) the Tories will go further to the right after 2015, opening up the centre/centre-right voters who were won over by Cameronian Conservativism for the LDs and (b) that Labour will struggle through 2015-2020 facing a nasty combination of austerity plus a small majority, and lose some of their more centrist support to the LDs.

    Of course, the converse is also possible and a nightmare for the LDs: if (a) the Tories do what Labour kept on doing with the Kinnock/Smith/Blair changes to the party and keep on with “modernisation” even in the face of defeats, and if (b) Miliband judges that the Labour left has nowhere else to go now, and so he can afford to disappoint those supporters rather than annoy Labour’s more centrist support (at a time of austerity he’ll have to disappoint some of his supporters somehow) then the LDs are in serious, serious trouble.

  5. @Phil Haines

    The SNP has made a big issue of freezing council tax which suggests Scots are as unwilling to pay tax as anyone else.

  6. Wolf,

    You could add that no-one has had much success with tax-and-spend politics since devolution, despite the fact that we have had sub-Thatcher levels of income tax and the power to raise the basic rate by up to 3% since 1999.

    The Lib Dems proposed “just a penny in the pound more” in the basic rate a few elections back, in order to raise more money for public services. It didn’t get them far.

    In fact, the politics of tax-and-spend is so dead in Scotland that the SNP suspended the ability of the Scottish Government to raise taxes, on the justifiable basis that no-one important had any interest in doing so.

  7. @Candy – “It seems that all this stuff – extra powers and so on – is just a Trophy to be acquired, polished, put carefully away in a cupboard and never touched again.”

    I may be wrong, but I thought the tax varying powers applied to income tax only, which is one of the more difficult taxes to vary with a porous economic border. However, your point has some merit.

    What I would say however, is that many nationalists point out, quite correctly, that devolved powers are not Scotland’s by right, but given to them by Westminster. We can argue about how likely it is that devolution could be reversed, against Scottish wishes (although some Yes campaigners are touting the absurd notion that Cameron wants to arbitrarily reverse this) but the point remains – Westminster controls Scotland, not Scotland.

    The UK parties should recognise this and change the legal basis of devolution, in my view, so it is guaranteed for as long as Scots wish it. I also think the moves of greater tax autonomy are welcome, but this must be done within a UK wide framework for everyone’s protection.

    What we really need is for Westminster to offer a suitable devolution package to the English regions. Part of the offer would be the chance for regional devolution referenda, in all regions, on the understanding that, accept or reject, other nations/regions that vote to accept powers will still be allowed to send MPs to Westminster to potentially vote on the affairs of those regions declining their own governance.

    This would kill the West Lothian question, and help move the UK along to a much more democratic and decentralized model, helping rebalance the economy away from London and the finance sector, while preserving the UK for key centralized services.

  8. “This is a most remarkable man who, when you string together the things he did, the things he helped, the things he salvaged, it’s mind-boggling the list of decent, good things he did for Britain.”

    Lord Puttnam on the life of the late Richard Attenborough. A testimonial that many politicians would cherish but few would merit. I’ve just been wading through some of the tributes to him and the affection for the man is extraordinary.

    A remarkable actor, film-maker and philanthropist. An extraordinary man, in fact.

  9. Alec – yes, they were allowed to vary income tax up or down by 3%. Plus they were given complete control of local govt, so as Phil Haines said, they could have re-organised how they collected local taxes, but CHOSE to stick to the Heseltine settlement instead.

    Several people have pointed out that Scots don’t like paying tax any more than the English do. But they could have CUT before England and they didn’t do that either.

    What they wanted – and got – was to move in lock-step with the English.

    Same thing for regional govt in England. Old Prescott did try and got soundly rebuffed. You could argue that he didn’t offer enough power – but I think even if he had, the outcome would not have been much different. People want to move in lock-step with the rest of their nation.

    The thing that concerns me about devolution is how you handle internal transfers. The regions that need extra cash change over time. In the 19th century Northern England and Scotland were sending money south – in the 20th that reversed. But may well reverse again.

    A present we have a nice flexible system that handles transfers as necessary to make the currency union work. How would that work if you started ring-fencing tax raised in this or that region?

    And what if we went to the great expense and hassle of setting up a regional system but no-one used their powers (because voters want to move in lock-step) but at the same time the ring-fencing restricted internal transfers. What a nightmare.

    Why not accept that we’re a single island and a single nation and go from there? That’s the position of maximum flexibility.

  10. I would add that if you started ring-fencing tax for regions, you end up with what you see in the eurozone. A region like Greece that gets into trouble has to publicly stand up and say “I’m a beggar, here’s my begging bowl, please drop some coins in it”.

    Nobody has to humiliate themselves like that in our current system.

    It’s taken as read that we’re a nation, therefore we share, and the national govt will handle the transfers discreetly without humiliating any specific region. Because over the long term – say the 300 years the Union has been in force! – every region has experienced a point when they are in need of help. Every single one.

  11. CANDY

    @”I would add that if you started ring-fencing tax for regions, you end up with what you see in the eurozone. A region like Greece that gets into trouble has to publicly stand up and say “I’m a beggar, here’s my begging bowl, please drop some coins in it”.”

    Greece isn’t a “region”. Its a Country.
    A Country with Sovereign Fiscal Policy, but no Sovereignty over its Monetary Policy.

    This is the system AS appears to prefer.

  12. Colin – “This is the system AS appears to prefer.”

    Yes, madness.

    But regionalising Britain will have a similar effect too, if we start ring-fencing tax within regions. People defend it as being “more democratic” but we are democratic now, each constituency sends an MP to Parliament!

    The regionalists are not motivated by more democracy, but by selfishness – people think, I don’t want to share with those scousers or those geordies or whoever.

    But which region needs help changes over time, you can’t make these decisions for perceived short-term gain.

    I’m sure at the start of the 19th C no-one dreamt that the Northern English and Scots would invent the industrial revolution that would enrich the other parts of the country that hadn’t come up with the idea. And no-one at the start of the 20th C dreamt that manufacturing would go into reverse and we would need money to flow the other way.

    Who knows how this century will end up? It’s madness to ring-fence and make restrictions because of short-term politics.

  13. Candy

    @”But regionalising Britain will have a similar effect too, ”

    I must say I hadn’t thought of that before-but you make a good point.

    It must be a question of degree I suppose, but at some point Fiscal Devo-Max could equate to Fiscal Sovereignty.

    Given an externally imposed Monetary Policy you might get the EZ problems you mention.

    I suppose the way to avoid that would be to severely control-or ban devolved borrowing to support spending.
    ie-if you want to spend, you have to increase taxes.

  14. “French President Francois Hollande has reportedly gone on record to say that if the “major powers” had reacted against the use of chemical weapons a year ago, the world would have been spared the horrible choice between a terrorist group and a dictator.
    The statement is supposed to be aimed at the United Kingdom and the United States. He further said that if the global powers had acted two years ago to ensure a smooth transition of power, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) would not have existed today,
    Hollande had earlier supported military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and had also supplied weapons to rebels. France was also the first country to supply arms to Iraq.”

    Big News Network.

    Ouch !!

  15. @Candy – fully with you on capital transfers, and something I’ve posted about on here for some time, both in relation to the Euro and UK currency union.

    A couple of years ago I posted a link here to an old research paper by a group of economists commissioned by he then EEC to identify how a single currency would work (in 1977!). They concluded that around 25% of revenues would have to be centrally controlled (by Brussels) to account for sufficient capital transfers to make the system stable.

    It was ignored, and the Euro was the result. The SNP are also ignoring the economically obvious in their currency plans.

  16. “France was also the first country to supply arms to Iraq.”

    @Colin – um, are they the weapons captured and now being used by ISIS?

  17. Bill Patrick

    Quiz question of the day: which MP managed to lose his deposit and win the seat?

    I didn’t know and as no one came up with the answer, I was forced to resort to Mr Google. I had assumed that it was to do with the candidate coming first being disqualified (and in the days when deposits were lost for under 12.5%), but it seems to be actually due to that now defunct anomaly, the University seats.

    These were elected by STV, but the deposit was lost on a similar principle to the FPTP seats – 12.5% of the first preferences were needed. In 1945, the last time the seats were contested, there actually seem to have been two MPs who got under 12.5%:

    http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/ge45/u01.htm

    Kenneth Lindsay was elected as the second member for English Combined Universities. He actually came fourth on the first count, but got a lot of transfers from Elinor Rathbone (who got over half the votes) and this kept him in the race till be got in as last man standing. Up to 1945 he’d been MP for Kilmarnock, initially as a National Labour (he became an Independent in 1943) and was, I think, the only ex- Nat Lab in the 1945 Parliament.

    The second was an even more spectacular display of STV. John Graham Kerr was already one of the three MPs for Scottish Combined Universities, but came last of five in the poll with only 4%. However transfer of surpluses from the two top candidates jumped him over his Labour and Liberal opponents to get the third place.

    Wiki says that John Graham Kerr is “embryology of lungfishes, dazzle camouflage” which must be an uncommon combination. Actually all three of the SCU MPs had a highly eminent background in both science and public service:

    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Graham_Kerr

    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyd_Orr,_1st_Baron_Boyd-Orr

    ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Anderson,_1st_Viscount_Waverley

    and makes you wonder if we might be best going back to a system when one seat returned more research scientists than the whole of the current House.

  18. X-BATTY

    “Change my mind if the facts change….”

    Wotta sissy.

    By the way, my brother was in Gandhi and filmed in India with “Dick”.

    He WAS a remarkable man [Dick, not me brother.]

    Does anyone know whether, if I start an online petition for a referendum on English and Welsh independence, following the Jocks saying:

    “Oooooo, please let us stay part of the UK.”

    next month, will it have to be voted on if it gets enough signatures?

    I bet it would do. There’s me and Colin and the pups for starters.

  19. X-BATTY

    “Change my mind if the facts change….”

    Wotta sissy.

    By the way, my brother was in Gandhi and filmed in India with “Dick”.

    He WAS a remarkable man [Dick, not me brother.]

    Does anyone know whether, if I start an online petition for a referendum on English and Welsh independence, following the Jocks saying:

    “Oooooo, please let us stay part of the UK.”

    next month, will it have to be voted on if it gets enough signatures?

    I bet it would do. There’s me and Colin and the pups for starters.

  20. That should be “known for embryology” etc, of course. I also wonder if they actually lost their deposits or there was some sort of exemption if you actually got elected. Though there doesn’t seem to be for, for example the NI Assembly but the bar there is lower (a quarter of quota ie 3.57%) and can be reached at any stage of the count. You’d have to lots of candidates and no transferring for election to happen to someone only getting that.

  21. Roger Mexico,

    Correct.

    I must confess that I didn’t know about Kenneth Lindsey.

  22. ALEC

    They seem to drive around in Humvees-so I assumed most of their stuff was US.

    They now have a Syrian airbase full of Kit too.

  23. You’re right though to say how the SNP reacts to a No will be crucial. I don’t think it will implode or dissolve in infighting as some may hope, if only because most of them will have been aware that getting a Yes vote was always a long shot.
    ————————-
    Most of ‘them’ are aware of no such thing. They look at Panel-Base & believe that independence is there for the taking.
    _______________

    I think you are both right in a way. Many Yes campaigners, on the basis of the “ground war” and the ubiquity of Yes posters think we are about to experience an almighty sensation. But, as the Survation analysis of the VI of the older demographic indicates, this is not going to happen. The older voters have experienced too many electoral cycles and encountered too many flannelling politicians for Salmond, persuasive as he is, to swing it.

    On the other hand the SNP will not collapse either. Even if Salmond departs the scene, Nicola Sturgeon is a very presentable and credible successor and, moreover, will appeal more to the female vote which, again as the VI stats indicate, Salmond has a problem with. They will certainly not be swept out of the Scottish Parliament next time round.

    For Westminster I don’t think you will see much, if any, change in Scotland. The LibDems will hold most of their seats. 2015 will not be like 2011. And it will take at least another turn of the electoral cycle before there is any chance of an uptick in the Scottish Tory Party’s fortunes. Best thing for them would be for Labour to win in 2015 in order to shorten the cycle and allow Ruth Davidson to make some progress.

  24. Wonder if the currency issue will come up again tonight.
    AD must be sorely tempted with the gift from across the Channel.

    Socialist President dissolves left wing government because his Economy Minister attacks the “obsession with budgetary rigour.” imposed by the senior partner in the monetary union.

  25. @Alec
    What we really need is for Westminster to offer a suitable devolution package to the English regions. Part of the offer would be the chance for regional devolution referenda, in all regions, on the understanding that, accept or reject, other nations/regions that vote to accept powers will still be allowed to send MPs to Westminster to potentially vote on the affairs of those regions declining their own governance.

    This would kill the West Lothian question, and help move the UK along to a much more democratic and decentralized model, helping rebalance the economy away from London and the finance sector, while preserving the UK for key centralized services.
    ___________________________

    There will be considerable, and understandable, pressure to prevent Scottish MPs voting on “English only” legislation.
    But the idea that will be balanced by an English form of devolution/federalism is for the birds. Prescott tried that in North East England and it was thrown out by a massive margin in the referendum. There is no demand in England for devolution at all.

  26. In Barnard Castle there is a large majority for independence.

    We have our own river, lots of shops and – from Barney – you can get to ANYWHERE in the world.

    Not that we’d want to of course…. its quite nice just staying here really.

  27. Ooh, someone’s promoting himself on Twitter then.

  28. Ooh’s that then?

  29. Our Lord and Master (see top of page).

  30. “Sometimes parties end.”

    And sometimes they don’t.

    My personal opinion is that they will try to reinvigorate in the subsequent election and largely fail, in the sense that the number of 2015 non-LDs they convince will be offset by the number of 2015 LDs that leave the party on the basis that in their constituency it is now a wasted vote.

    I’m not for a second assuming that 55-60 seats is the natural level that they will return to, I’m simply dubious as to how they collapse further if they secure 30-ish seats even after five years as the Tories’ human shields in an era of deficit reduction, whilst shouting the EU’s benefits from the rafters. Most likely is that they will be in the 25-35 range for a few elections before heading significantly north or south of there.

  31. “Does anyone know whether, if I start an online petition for a referendum on English and Welsh independence, following the Jocks saying:

    “Oooooo, please let us stay part of the UK.”

    next month, will it have to be voted on if it gets enough signatures?”

    Would that mean that we would have to ask Scotland permission to retain the use of its currency, military and international clout?

  32. “Would that mean that we would have to ask Scotland permission to retain the use of its currency, military and international clout?”

    I suppose in that case England and Wales would be seceding from the UK, so Scotland becomes rUK with the UN seat, EU membership etc.
    As for the currency – I’d suggest a deal: E&W keep the currency and Scotland keep the nukes to back up their position on the Security Council.
    Sounds like a plan.

  33. Alex Salmond with Scotland’s answer to the football? On balance I think I was more comfortable with Bush having it.

  34. @Capercaillie – “But the idea that will be balanced by an English form of devolution/federalism is for the birds. Prescott tried that in North East England and it was thrown out by a massive margin in the referendum. There is no demand in England for devolution at all.”

    The main reason for this defeat was simply that it was adding an additional layer of authority with no compensating simplification of the county/district set up beneath it, and the proposed regional authority had few real powers proposed. It was a very half hearted attempt. Besides – it was years ago. Things change.

    As it is, there is growing pressure here in the north east, but also elsewhere (Cornwall, north west) for greater devolution. The independence debate is highlighting the potential squeeze in northern England between Edinburgh and London, and this is causing worries, although being perfectly fair, this isn’t a major issue amongst the voting public as yet.

    Indeed, the NE now has a regional council authority (as does Greater Manchester I think) and these have come about as local authorities are coming together in recognition of the need for wider strategic management of the regions.

    Funnily enough, your ‘for the birds’ comment is word for word what quite a few posters on Wings Over Scotland said to me when I suggested that the UK would move eventually towards a more regionalised structure.

    It seems that the ardent nationalists there couldn’t bear to countenance a scenario where Westminster begins to decentralise and devolve more powers to the English regions.

    Oddly enough, Milliband has said that he would hand back control of significant budget sums to regions if Labour are elected in 2015. Quite to the contrary of what you say, I think English regionalism is steadily moving up the agenda, and I’m unsure why so many Scottish nationalists seem not to want to hear that.

  35. @Candy – very astute observations of the implications of regionalism. Care is needed, but the problems can’t be insurmountable – most other regions have greater local autonomy, with nations like Germany apparently being all the stronger for prominent regional power.

    A simple and clear set of rules needs to be established which ensures the division between national taxes and local surcharges/taxes is made, with in built allowances for transfers between richer and poorer regions.

    As it happens, the current government is undermining a key principle of distribution of spending under the present system, by the dropping of balancing payments to LA’s and instead going back to per capita central grants. This is why the poorest areas that have the highest demands are facing the greatest percentage cuts, while some well off areas are finding life rather comfortable.

  36. The reason the Scottish Gov’t doesn’t use tax raising powers is because the block grant would be reduced pro-rata.

    Debate tonight 8.30 I’m not sure it makes much difference but should be fun. No polls on referendum for over a week – ever since they showed movement to Yes – now if I was a conspiracy theorist. Seriously does anyone know when new polls are due?

  37. Alec – I used to think that regionalization could be pulled off without any problems, till I read more of what went on in the USA.

    For example, after 9/11 Congress decided that the federal govt needed to allocate money for the states to be able to defend against future terrorism. So far so reasonable. But instead of all the money going to the big target cities – anywhere with skyscrapers that would provide the big visuals that Al Queda go for, or anywhere with ports handling a lot of trade (all the port cities on the west coast), places like Nebraska got huge amounts of money to defend bridges in the middle of nowhere that Al Queda wouldn’t have been able to pick off a map. I think it ended up so that New York ended up subsidizing Nebraska’s terrorist defence efforts via federal dollars, even though New York really really needed all the money and Nebraska didn’t.

    That’s the equivalent of us allocating money to some village in Sussex to have state of the art anti-terror defences while London was struggling to meet it’s own defences.

    That’s what happens when you get regionalization – people no longer think of themselves as a nation and fight for a “share” regardless of true need.

    Sure, the current govt is wrong to go back to per capita central grants. But that can be solved simply by throwing them out at the next election, instead of creating a complicated new system with unknown side-effects and implications.

  38. Capercaillie,

    Oddly enough, existing evidence (such as it is) suggests that the Scottish Tories will increase their vote in 2015 against the national trend, and maybe even finally surpass their great achievement of a 17.5% share of the vote in 1997…

    However, since I think that the 2015 GE (and maybe even the 2020 GE) will be a good election to lose, just as 2010 was a good GE to lose, it is indirectly in the Scotttish Tories’ interest for Labour to win in 2015.

  39. @ Couper2802

    The reason the Scottish Gov’t doesn’t use tax raising powers is because the block grant would be reduced pro-rata.
    —————
    So given the choice between ‘independent’ tax raising & ‘dependent’ grant taking, the Party of Independence has chosen to take the grant, presumably because it’s:
    1. Less risky &/or
    2. Cost effective.

    And yet the Yes camp seems not to understand why No voters are also choosing the option which is:
    1. Less risky &/or
    2. Cost effective.

  40. @amberstar

    Ouch!

  41. @candy

    “But everyone in Scotland has been acting as though actually using the power would be like setting off a nuclear bomb. While at the same time demanding more power.
    There are local govts who are bolder in using their limited powers of tax to the full!”

    You draw a too broad conclusion from a very specific issue.

    As has been explained before, the ability to vary the basic rate of income tax is effectively unworkable within th current devolution settlement.

    In practice, UK governments have mainly used fiscal drag to increase the income tax take over the years. The ability to vary allowances, tax bands and tax rates would be a power worth having alongside scope to act on indirect taxation.

    You also ignore the use of non financial powers under the current devolution settlement.

    The BritNat mantra of “one nation, one state” is not a popular one north of the border according to polling evidence.

  42. Couper 2802,

    “The reason the Scottish Gov’t doesn’t use tax raising powers is because the block grant would be reduced pro-rata.”

    Source?

  43. @phil Haines

    “I think you have a point. It would certainly make the case for additional powers more plausible if the Scottish government chose to make more use of the powers it currently has. Local government finance is another example of many, with the Scottish government choosing to do nothing to change essentially the same hybrid rates/poll tax system (council tax) that Heseltine put in place in 1993”

    You mean in marked contrast to the radical policies on local taxation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

    It would be interesting to know in what other areas you think Scottish Governments have failed to use their powers. Polling suggests that in the main Scottish voters have welcomed devolution and want more.

  44. @Amber Star

    Your comment was partisan or maybe you thought it was funny. Obviously if Scotland had control over all it’s revenues then it would set tax – that is what Yes are voting for.

    Labour is in a whole world if trouble in Scotland and they shouldn’t be counting on many MPs come May. They forgot or maybe never understood that Scotland isn’t pro-Labour it is anti-Tory. Joining with the Tories has lost Labour the working class vote whatever the outcome. Even YouGovs incredibly pro-Labour sample show support for Labour slipping away in the referendum polls.

  45. Excellent scheduling on BBC 4 tonight, with the story of Athelstan the Mighty, who was the architect of the United Kingdom we live in, hope it’s a good omen for his liegeman AD.

  46. @Hireton

    “You mean in marked contrast to the radical policies on local taxation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland?”

    Indeed no, which only emphasises how far the SNP policy in Scotland remains largely in step with Conservative policies towards English local taxation. Scotland can’t even match the Welsh and point to a property revaluation in the last 20 years.

    If you want another example, one that springs to mind is the initial reluctance of the Scottish Government to use its powers to mitigate the effect of the bedroom tax, until the opposition parties forced its hand by pointing out that its hands were far less tied than it claimed.

  47. @Phil Haines

    You need to inform yourself more fully about the Bedroom Tax and the political game playing led by Scottish Labour before citing it as an example ( on by the way a non devolved issue).

  48. @ Couper 2802

    Your comment was partisan or maybe you thought it was funny.
    Neither; it was non-partisan & I was serious.

    Obviously if Scotland had control over all it’s revenues then it would set tax – that is what Yes are voting for.
    Doesn’t it seem more rational for the SNP government to have demonstrated that they are capable of managing some revenue generation from taxes rather than expecting Scotland to go from 0% to 100% in a single leap?

  49. Re: Bridges in Nebraska

    Reminds me of Network Rail (or maybe Railtrack) a year or two after 9/11 removing all the litter bins on stations for security reasons, because a terrorist could drop in a bomb and the bin would become lethal shrapnel.

    Some logic to that at Euston or Waterloo. But they did it everywhere. My brother commented at the time that Osama must’ve been tearing his hair out in a cave in the Hindu Kush at how the Infidels had thwarted his plan to visit Jihad on Bolton-on-Dearne.

  50. Lefty L
    How about stopping the train spotters from photographing the engines?

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