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Reversing Beeching ???


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2 hours ago, Northmoor said:

Yes, it was the Central Wales Line (still open over 50 years later).  Can't remember if it was with Wilson though or before his election win.

George Thomas was Secretary of State for Wales at the time, and pointed out that there were a number of marginal seats on the route. 

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The consultation document on the reopening of the Fleetwood line is apparently complete with options such as heavy rail or extending the tram system. No indication which option is preferred or even if it will happen!

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10 hours ago, whart57 said:

 

It's more accurate to say that the advocates of neo-liberalism used - and stoked up - fear of the Soviet Union to build support for their approach to the economy. A carrot and stick approach. Also the fundamentals of the Soviet system were already under pressure and showing the cracks that would cause its collapse before Thatcher and Reagan came to power. If you are going to link neo-liberalism and the Soviet collapse then the dates suggest the relationship is the other way about, that the Soviet collapse removed the social needs in countries like France and West Germany to resist Anglo-American pressure to roll back the state.

 

Whilst facts don't have feelings people have feelings about facts. However, the foundational principle of the EU was about tying France and Germany together after the wars between the two countries from 1870 to 1945. Alsace-Loraine, changed from France and Germany four times in 31 years (from France to Germany back to France back to Germany back to France). Alsace is probably the most contested part of Western Europe and has been In dispute since the foundation of the Frankish Kingdom and the Holy Roman Empire.

 

People have feelings about what they think are facts. It is true that Alsace - a province with a French name but capital with a German name - has been a contested region since Roman times, it is not true that that contest has been between France and Germany all that time, or that it is unique. The whole of the Rhineland, including the Netherlands, is part of a mishmash of peoples speaking different languages and different dialects within those languages and following different versions of Christianity. Kings, dukes and emperors went to war over who ruled those regions but the peoples who lived there either suffered from the soldiery tramping over their fields and stealing their cattle, or, as in the most contested regions, adapted and turned supplying the armies into a business. Before 1914 borders were for taxes and customs duties, not to control people. Before 1914 even city and local tramways crossed and recrossed the borders several times an hour - or day in the case of rural steam trams - without a single passport check. Freight on the other hand was checked to see if the appropriate duty had been paid.

 

The English, living on an island on which they had eliminated borders by 1707, don't have that recent history, though we should have been more sensitive to the border issues in Ireland. The Irish understand that borders cause problems, as do most Europeans, but the English think borders create solutions. We only need to look at the history of the world over the last couple of centuries to see that the English view is dangerously wrong. Borders do not fit peoples and making people fit borders results in resentment and violence. Look at Northern Ireland.

 

If nothing else I think the vaccine rollout shows that the UK, post-Brexit, is not going to be as bad as some members of the Remain campaign had us believe - Cameron even went as far as to say Brexit would lead to WW3. As Matthew Goodwin often explains there are academic debates about the extent to which culture (identity rather music or sport) and/or economics are driving politics in the UK and US at the moment (over the last 20 years or so). I remember at the start of the referendum a Remainer said "Well, whatever the result, it's neither going to be the apocalypse or paradise." Contrast that with the end credits of the Newsnight referendum result show there’s footage of an old man weeping , in to his pint, saying "I've got my country back."

 

David Cameron and George Osborn were the biggest handicaps the Remain campaign had to carry. I'm pretty certain that at least a couple of million voted leave simply out of spite against those two. However Cameron never said Brexit would lead to World War Three, that was the spin put on it by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, in my opinion two politicians who outdo Cameron and Osborne for deceit and general sliminess by a huge margin. Cameron gave a speech in which he spoke of threats from Russia and others and of Britain being weaker by decoupling from European partners as well as citing Europe's war-torn history, but not actually predicting World War Three. It's sad that people believe he did because of Johnson and Gove.

 

I agree with the Remainer that the result will not be apocalypse or paradise, however look at the cost. Five years and counting of political turmoil, billions wasted on duplicating trade treaties we already had, millions of people facing uncertain futures and, trivial but personal, my packages from Europe stuck in some bloody warehouse for weeks because of red tape we didn't have before. Even the fishermen of Britain feel betrayed. Fortunately for Teflon Boris - but not for the rest of us - Covid is doing a grand job hiding the effects of Brexit. But benefits? When a trade deal with the Faroes is deemed worthy of headlines then you know the pickings are slim.

 

Contrast that with the end credits of the Newsnight referendum result show there’s footage of an old man weeping , in to his pint, saying "I've got my country back."

 

When I read of young Europeans having their relationships broken up by Brexit then my reaction to that old man is "you stupid, selfish old git"

 

“It's more accurate to say that the advocates of neo-liberalism used - and stoked up - fear of the Soviet Union to build support for their approach to the economy. A carrot and stick approach. Also the fundamentals of the Soviet system were already under pressure and showing the cracks that would cause its collapse before Thatcher and Reagan came to power. If you are going to link neo-liberalism and the Soviet collapse then the dates suggest the relationship is the other way about, that the Soviet collapse removed the social needs in countries like France and West Germany to resist Anglo-American pressure to roll back the state.”

 

Well, that’s one interpretation of one example. I chose those dates because of the broad continuity of economic policies from three parties who were in government during that era. The policies have been successful. Despite three recessions, the UK is richer etc today than the UK was in 1979. However, success (the fulfilling of objectives) never comes cost-free. Look at the lockdowns - by exclusively trying to mitigate transmissibility of Covid-19 means we’ve made the economy suffer as well as people. ‘Debate’ would imply that there is reasonable disagreement (reasonable in the sense that the disagreement is not ‘disagreement for the sake of disagreement’), perhaps that means interpretations and values aren’t universally held.

 

“People have feelings about what they think are facts.”

“The further example of not being able to restrict steel tenders on government contracts to UK producers does go to the heart of what the EU is about” is a fact (perhaps ‘does go to the heart of what the EU is about’ is an opinion). Well, some people find objectionable in a moral sense is what I meant by “Whilst facts don't have feelings people have feelings about facts.” “Facts don’t have feelings” means that facts are external o the self (feelings, opinions, being internal to the self).

 

“Borders do not fit peoples and making people fit borders results in resentment and violence. Look at Northern Ireland.”

One of two places in the EU where violence was used for political purposes. The other place being Spain in its dispute with ETA. Normally when non-state organisation use violence for political objectives, especially when violence is directed at civilians, we call that terrorism. Also, in the case of Northern Ireland, there were terrorists (the UDA and UVF) in support of the border between the UK and Ireland, who unlike the IRA and other Nationalist splinter groups, supported ’The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. Most people in the EU seem to accept the borders that do exist. Also, we should remember that borders are not just a restriction on people. They are a restriction on law (a limit on how far a central authority can stretch its power). I think it’s interesting how you use the accurate history of passports - I imagine people were as restricted by custom duties as by passports (if one didn't have the money then, presumably, one couldn't enter).

 

“However Cameron never said Brexit would lead to World War Three, that was the spin put on it by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, in my opinion two politicians who outdo Cameron and Osborne for deceit and general sliminess by a huge margin.”

Now that I’ve refreshed my memory of the precise wording of what Cameron said, you’re right. He did say Brexit could lead to moments like Blenheim, Trafalgar, Waterloo, WWI and WWII. Using the examples which he did, the examples in which Britain/the UK won in the face of French or German aggression (if not to us then our allies) shows his lack in understanding of history. I would have used the battles of the ‘100 Years War’ as bloodshed, in part, caused by trade disputes. England defending Antwerp due to French incursions and how institutional union is better than treaties (for the French went against the Treaty of Troyes by opposing King Henry VI of England being King of France too). However, Brexit was about leaving the EU and not about the UK leaving NATO as well. However, any conflict can happen for any reason at any point in the future. How many people in 1152 would have predicted a conflict between two branches of the same dynasty for control of the English Crown? Blaming Cameron and Osborne is a bit unfair - Diane Abbot, Ed and Yvette Balls, Natalie Bennett, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Vince Cable, Ken Clarke, Nick Clegg, Alistair Darling, Ruth Davidson, Sajid Javid, Caroline Lucas, Alan Johnson, Martin McGuinness, John Major, Theresa May, David and Ed Miliband, Barack Obama, Gloria di Piero, Amber Rudd*, Alex Salmond, Will Straw, Wes Streeting, Nicola Sturgeon, not forgetting the CBI and Institute of Directors, as well as the many others advocated for Remain. Maybe take responsibility for the message rather than blaming the message or the recipients of the message. As to the ‘sliminess’ of the people involved, I’ll leave that to another to judge. One of the people I’ve mentioned above having admitted to being a leader of the IRA. Ken Clarke also went on a trade jaunt for BA Tobacco, to allow them to sell cigarettes to children, in Vietnam - Gove’s cocaine use, or Johnson’s philandering, doesn’t look quite so bad in comparison. You’ll see from what I’ve previously said in this thread that Gove and Johnson didn’t lie about sovereignty nor did they lie about the possibility of the UK’s EU ‘membership fee’ being spent on other things other than as a membership fee for an international legal authority which cedes sovereignty above the UK (the previous institution that did so being the Roman Catholic Church). As the campaign said ‘vote leave, take control’ not ‘vote leave, take back control and have the Beeching cuts reversed’. The amount was de jure true and de facto not true.

 

I think the UK’s role in Europe has been as a sort of neutral arbiter in disputes (due the UK holding the balance of power) - be that between France and Germany or Spain and other countries - since the 1518 Treaty of London.

 

“When I read of young Europeans having their relationships broken up by Brexit then my reaction to that old man is "you stupid, selfish old git””

Christian marriage vows are; “For better for worse, for richer for poorer,  in sickness and in health, till death us do part”. Most people respond with “I do” and not with “I do, but if international trading arrangements change then I’ll change my relationship too.” Well, sure, he might be selfish. I speak of ‘my family’. My sister also speaks of her family (from my perspective its “her family” and from her perspective its “my family”). I can sit here all day and happily play language games. However, might that he was weeping indicate that the UK has some meaning to him? I don’t know, but it’s possible. You know, it’s possible that all the Remain Campaign’s warnings can be true, but people voted to leave because they wanted British political sovereignty regardless of costs. Perhaps people have had enough of their views being dismissed or ignored because inflation might creep up over 2.5% on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Price measurement. The UK means something to Theresa May. They disagree where that love and that meaning and that patriotism takes them, but they can at least agree on ‘the UK’. Patriotism, after all this, is underpinned by a sense of gratitude.

 

Anyway, I don’t know if I should be making these points here. Other than making a broad point about he irrelevance of railway stations in the issue of Brexit, which I’ve already said, twice now, I don’t know what the relevance is. That we’re seeing people argue at a personal level is precisely the reason I’ve tried to be academic because whilst I’m going to be honest in my thoughts I also wanted to be a bit more sensitive on this highly contentious issue. Maybe I’ve learned from very nearly losing a friend after brazenly sharing a New York Times article. That said, from what I’ve listened to and read over the last few years I’m not sure I would vote to Remain. Maybe I would, but perhaps I would be a little more respectful of other people’s opinions. To be honest, I’m in the unsure camp, so being ‘academic’ suits me fine. I just wouldn’t be swayed by a railway station closure. That said, everyone has their ‘breaking’ point and maybe the closure of a railway changed their mind to Brexit from being unsure.

 

*British railway wagon name!

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2 hours ago, JN said:

 

 

“When I read of young Europeans having their relationships broken up by Brexit then my reaction to that old man is "you stupid, selfish old git””

Christian marriage vows are; “For better for worse, for richer for poorer,  in sickness and in health, till death us do part”. Most people respond with “I do” and not with “I do, but if international trading arrangements change then I’ll change my relationship too.”

You do have a rather agreeable way with words.

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Posted (edited)

Sorry, Arun, I thought I'd got the vow quote wrong and so I quote posted the correction. I hadn't got it wrong, but it didn't feel right. I've just realised, I thought it was "...for as long as we both shall live". I remembered the quote from my step-sister's wedding at some hotel, so it might be different for different styles for different types of places. I don't remember the 'forsake all others', but that too seems to have disappeared from wedding vows as well (https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/article/wedding-vows/). Things do change or, as I say, it might be a 'tomayto/tomarto' thing. I also in think the inflation target for the Bank of England might be 2% as well. Anyway...

Edited by JN
I got something wrong and wanted to explain (further as well), rather than remove.
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13 hours ago, JN said:

Christian marriage vows are; “For better for worse, for richer for poorer,  in sickness and in health, till death us do part”. Most people respond with “I do” and not with “I do, but if international trading arrangements change then I’ll change my relationship too.”

 

Not 'I do', but 'I will.' Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that couples make their vows correctly. (Is 'I do' an American thing?)

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2 minutes ago, Welchester said:

 

Not 'I do', but 'I will.' Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that couples make their vows correctly. (Is 'I do' an American thing?)

One of my wife's relatives was a woman well ahead of her time; at her wedding she agreed to "Love, Honour and Okay".

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21 minutes ago, Welchester said:

 

Not 'I do', but 'I will.' Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that couples make their vows correctly. (Is 'I do' an American thing?)

I'm pretty sure that my wife and I just said "yes", but I suppose whether that's appropriate depends on the phrasing of the "question".

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44 minutes ago, Welchester said:

 

Not 'I do', but 'I will.' Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that couples make their vows correctly. (Is 'I do' an American thing?)

possibly a religion thing?  We got married in a united reformed church ( ex presbyterian) and definitely 'did'. Perhaps it depends on the phrasing of the question - our minister asked 'do you' rather than 'will you'. 

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Well, my “ignore this user” button is getting a lot of work.

 

I’d be very surprised if more that two or three of the “reversing Beeching” proposals ever progress beyond initial consultants’ reports. Looking at the list on the NCE website the vast majority seem to be enthusiast fever dreams. Still, the announcements and press froth are all a good distraction from the lack of any actual action or performance indicators on “levelling up”.  “Big Society” mark 2 I suspect.

 

RT

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58 minutes ago, Welchester said:

 

Not 'I do', but 'I will.' Sometimes it can be difficult to ensure that couples make their vows correctly. (Is 'I do' an American thing?)

Fair shout, but I didn't realise that anyone used "I will".

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23 hours ago, JN said:

“Borders do not fit peoples and making people fit borders results in resentment and violence. Look at Northern Ireland.”

One of two places in the EU where violence was used for political purposes. The other place being Spain in its dispute with ETA. Normally when non-state organisation use violence for political objectives, especially when violence is directed at civilians, we call that terrorism. Also, in the case of Northern Ireland, there were terrorists (the UDA and UVF) in support of the border between the UK and Ireland, who unlike the IRA and other Nationalist splinter groups, supported ’The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. Most people in the EU seem to accept the borders that do exist. Also, we should remember that borders are not just a restriction on people. They are a restriction on law (a limit on how far a central authority can stretch its power). I think it’s interesting how you use the accurate history of passports - I imagine people were as restricted by custom duties as by passports (if one didn't have the money then, presumably, one couldn't enter).

 

You are right, borders exist to mark where one jurisdiction ends and another begins. But that can be done without placing any restriction on the movement of people. In the USA for example you can cross state lines without noticing and there is certainly no border control, but if you cross from an "open carry" state to one that doesn't permit that then make sure your gun is packed away. Likewise the borders are open in the Schengen zone, but if you drive from Bruges to Sluis, you start off under Belgian law and a couple of miles out from Sluis you are under Dutch law. Sluis has a number of shops you'd not expect to find in a small conservative country town as a result.

 

The EU has internal borders, people accept those borders exist and they do so because they are loose, Violence in Northern Ireland waned when the border was opened and people in NI could choose for themselves whether they wanted to be Irish or British. The threat of violence returning is because Brexit is tightening borders again. Likewise Spain joining France in the EU meant the Basque country was de facto re-united as the border down the middle was opened. The post-Franco devolution of powers from Madrid also helped of course.

 

Another snippet from the history of passports - and this does have a railway connection. Before 1914 the possession of a first class ticket on the SECR Boat Train from Dover or Folkestone was enough to get you in the country. A second or third class passenger needed a passport.

 

Other railway-related connections. In most of the Netherlands the steam tram lines that weren't standard gauge were mostly Cape gauge, 3'6" or 1067mm. Except in Dutch Flanders where metre gauge was the norm. Why? Because the Belgians had standardised on metre gauge and the lines were operated as cross border lines. The city tram of Enschede ran across the border to Gronau in Germany. Before 1914 without any border controls.

 

As far as West European borders are concerned the period from 1914 to 1957 was an aberration. That needs to be understood.

 

 

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The USA is a country and the EU isn't, hence the no borders in the USA and commonality of language over the state boundaries and the borders, with different languages each side, in Europe, despite the EU calling the individual countries "States"?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, whart57 said:

Violence in Northern Ireland waned when the border was opened and people in NI could choose for themselves whether they wanted to be Irish or British. The threat of violence returning is because Brexit is tightening borders again. Likewise Spain joining France in the EU meant the Basque country was de facto re-united as the border down the middle was opened. The post-Franco devolution of powers from Madrid also helped of course.

Just not true. Post-1922 there was a common travel area created between the UK and Ireland. It's the case that some people in Ireland used that common travel area to come to Britain to get an abortion (when abortion was legalised in Britain). In the late 1960s British Soldiers were 'greeted with open arms' by the Catholic Community when the soldiers were first sent there to protect the Catholic Community from Loyalist violence. I don't know what prompted that Loyalist violence, but it wasn't Brexit. Also, the Nationalists murdered Airey Neave (1979), Lord Mountbatten (1979), Sir Anthony Berry (1984), Eric Taylor (1984), Lady MacLean (1984) and Roberta Wakeham (1984) as well as 21 people in Birmingham (1974), five people in Guilford (1974), 29 people in Omagh (1998) and two people in Warrington (1993). The IRA also attacked a school bus in Northern Ireland and attacked UK soldiers, prison guards in Northern Ireland and members of the RUC. People escaped immediate harm caused by the 1992 bombing in London and the 1996 bombing in Manchester (my Nana, who was in Manchester city centre that day, wouldn't go back there for years). The IRA tried to murder members of the UK cabinet in 1991. This all happened whilst both the UK and Ireland were both members of the EU. The Loyalist violence at the moment is at least in part because of the weird arrangement that now exist between Northern Ireland, Ireland and Britain. However, that reason, that grievance and the other grievances  aren't an excuse to start bombing anyone. I also grew up in a household of violence which wasn't caused by borders. I thought it was the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace in Northern Ireland, not EU membership (I understand that the EU helped, as did Clinton, with the negotiations), but hostilities ramped-up post-1973 (might Bloody Sunday have been a factor? Grievances aren't often based on nothing) and ended, largely, in 1998 and is now coming back. The common travel area between the UK and Ireland hasn't ended, so far as I'm aware.

Edited by JN
Sentence repetition.
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3 hours ago, JN said:

I thought it was the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace in Northern Ireland, not EU membership (I understand that the EU helped, as did Clinton, with the negotiations)

 

EU membership underpinned the Good Friday Agreement, as it meant NI citizens who distrusted the British state could take out Irish citizenship and not have anything to do with the British state.

 

The EU's loose borders and freedom of movement has defused another, more serious, border issue. World War Two was caused by borders. The Treaties of 1919 that ended WW1 created new states in Eastern Europe, but as a result millions of Germans ended up as minorities in these states. That creates resentment - having to learn a new language to fill in your tax form does that sort of thing - which Hitler exploited. First the Sudeten-germans in Czechoslovakia, which was settled by the capitulation at Munich, and then the issue of Danzig and the "Polish corridor". After the war the Poles and Czechs expelled all Germans, the Polish border with Germany was moved West dozens of miles. When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet hold over Eastern Europe was broken the issue of Germans returning to their former homes resurfaced. Now Poland and the Czech Republic are EU members any German who wishes to return to the city or village of their grandparents can. Few do, but that is not the point, the fact they can removes the issue as one to cause division.

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It drifted that way as a result of a two year old newspaper piece by the Guardian's economics editor.

 

Rmweb threads often drift off topic, thank goodness. It's no different to a conversation down the club or in the pub.

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This one has drifted into extremely dangerous waters though. Seems to have avoided the many Krackens and Dragons which live hereabouts, but I think we ought to plot a course back to a safer area. Like which of OO, EM or P4 is "the best".

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13 minutes ago, Zomboid said:

This one has drifted into extremely dangerous waters though. Seems to have avoided the many Krackens and Dragons which live hereabouts, but I think we ought to plot a course back to a safer area. Like which of OO, EM or P4 is "the best".

Or which was the best of the "Big Four". Or, if you want a real storm in a tea cup, who was best, Gresley or Churchward.

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16 minutes ago, whart57 said:

Or which was the best of the "Big Four". Or, if you want a real storm in a tea cup, who was best, Gresley or Churchward.

... Stanier. By a country mile 

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