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Fenman last won the day on January 7 2011

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  1. You’re conflating parliaments/ assemblies with government. The Secretary of State for Education is, de facto, the SoS for English Education. Similarly the SoS for Health, and, mostly, SoS for Transport. Etc. The Home Secretary is pretty much only the Home Secretary for England. You’re right that legislation is asymmetric — the “West Lothian Question” (why can Scots MPs legislate on England-only legislation?) was never properly answered. In this respect as with many other elements, the UK’s constitutional arrangements are a complete shambles. Paul
  2. And the A17 is the same — reasonably decent travelling west through Norfolk, but then almost primeval after the ex-M&GN railway crossing at Sutton Bridge. It’s clearly not a priority for Lincolnshire. Paul
  3. A1 is dualled south of Edinburgh to roughly Dunbar; the last 25 miles to the border is then a mix of single carriageway and overtaking lanes. Or, at least, it was the last time I drove on it. There’s single carriageway and single carriageway: the A10 going south through Norfolk towards London isn’t brilliant, but then you hit the Cambridgeshire border and you really get to experience how crappy A roads can be. Things don’t much pick up again until Cambridge. It’s the same story: different places have different priorities. Paul
  4. I lived in Edinburgh more than 20-odd years ago: at that time there was a lovely dual carriageway south from Edinburgh towards Newcastle -- but at the Scottish border it just stopped, and the road became a winding, single-carriageway road. For years, the English government refused to fund improvements. It was a startling symbol of how little Westminster cared about relations with Scotland. The opposite of the Channel Tunnel as originally opened, where the lovely French high speed rail came out of the Tunnel and hit the windy old Southern Electric network. Paul
  5. I'm not sure it looks very hazy from the Scottish side of the border. We English (I'm speaking for myself, no idea about your nationality, of course) pretty consistently ignore just how different the constituent parts of the UK actually are. Paul
  6. But she is already in power, leading the government of Scotland. Or doesn't that count? Her job is to stand up for Scotand's interests, not to try and second-guess what the UK's interests might be. She -- rightly -- has no interest in what is best for England. That's democracy, and all that. Would we expect the governor of Texas to first take into account the best interests of Alaska before lobbying the federal government? Why would he? Paul
  7. The Midland & Great Northern had an actual Elizabethan railway station: they incorporated the Red House in Bourne, Lincs, into the station. It was reputedly the oldest station building in England. The M&GN had a (small) Board Room in a tower in its biggest station, the impressive Italianate building of Norwich City; but its HQ offices were in King’s Lynn. They were in Austin Fields, which was intended to be the M&GN’s new terminus station in Lynn; in the event they changed their minds, and by-passed Lynn instead (very sensible...). So the offices were left marooned, miles from the nearest bit of M&GN. Photos show a rambling collection of smallish brick buildings Some at least were repurposed from earlier times. Most have now been destroyed though one of the oldest remains (and is a rather impressive private house). Not sure if any of that helps! Paul
  8. At King’s Cross, Waitrose seems to charge ordinary prices rather than inflated ones. Their soft drinks are startlingly cheaper than any other outlet on the station. Paul
  9. But RMWeb still features some of his posts so presumably is also “tainted”...? Paul
  10. It’s true that Westminster, for example, is a pretty prosaic piece of architecture (I preferred it when it was just a giant hole, before fitting out — the sheer volume of space was breathtaking), but some of the other stations are not. I think Southwark is a rather nice example of daylight captured and channeled downwards, with lush and colourful finishes. Will Alsop’s deep blue tesserae at North Greenwich soften the station in a way that’s modern but also reflects the long tradition of colourful tiles on the Underground. Foster’s Canary Wharf is very plain, but manages to be light and airy rather than heavily — lumpenly — Brutal. The contrast with the Holden Piccadilly line extension stations is striking: they were also deliberately modernist, but used albeit hard-wearing materials (and gentle yellow electric light) to soften and warm. There’s a lovely detail in BR’s otherwise very uncompromising 1960s Broxbourne station: all the materials are tough and strong, designed to withstand a huge through-flow of commuters. But they lined the ceilings with varnished wood, introducing a natural material that is visually soft and warm, making the space feel human rather than just being a vast machine for processing unfathomable numbers of people. As a sometime client for public architecture I’m well aware of budget constraints and project compromises. But architecture should be a creative discipline as well as a practical one. Aesthetics are important. Paul
  11. I guess unsurprisingly, Hattons is now showing these as having slipped again, this time to October-December 2020. Paul
  12. You see I largely agree with that. But it’s very different from what you wrote before, in which you completely disagreed with me and then summarised T5 as “very good”. It isn’t. I would completely agree with your new statement that “A lot more are far worse”, but that’s a whole new proposition. To bring it back vaguely on topic, I fear some of the Crossrail stations look as if they might have been infected by the same poor planning that has hit airport and some recent railway developments (starting with the terrible walking route and distance from domestic rail arrivals at St Pancras to the Underground stations). Many designers now seem to think it doesn’t matter how far the self-loading cargo has to traipse when connecting. The environments on many recent developments have also been aesthetically extraordinarily aggressive (Stratford International is particularly bleak; King’s Cross Thameslink is also actively unpleasant). We seem to have forgotten the mostly joyful aesthetics of the mostly rather good JLE stations. I am hoping the Crossrail stations are better than the worst recent examples, and there are some hopeful signs. I guess we’ll find out in a few months time. Paul
  13. Except it’s really not. It's poorly planned, with unpleasant choke points as you move through, and deliberately forces you to walk excessive distances past retail opportunities. An example: BA begged BAA to let their passengers access their lounges direct from security. BAA refused, knowing it would reduce shop rents. It took a decade before BAA finally agreed - after getting BA to pay compensation - and the First Wing opened. That’s at the opposite end of T5 from the public transport, but at least you now only walk one length of the terminal rather than two. If you think T5 is a “very good terminal”, you really need to travel more! Paul
  14. That would be wonderful. The concourse building was an homage to the great Rome Termini building, and rather lovely. The redevelopment/ restoration of the Great Eastern 1960s stations has been effective — eg, Harlow Town, and especially Broxbourne, have been nicely done. The strength of the original architecture mostly shines through. Paul
  15. Some get this right: the very simple (but striking) West Hampstead Thameslink station is basically just a box, but has a strong street “presence”, and very nice use of coloured tiles (a good vernacular tradition in London railway stations). No air conditioning. Paul
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