It is important for the new railway to have a good ticketing system. It must be possible to go to any station and buy a through ticket to anywhere in the country, and to major places in Europe. This should also be possible on the internet, and of course to be able to buy a through ticket from Europe. The prices need to be reasonable, I would think about 10 pence a mile on average, except for peak times.
All government aids and tax breaks for travel will be confined to train travel where this is possible. Pensioners free travel will of course be allowed on the train.
The post office will use the train, and will offer a service of 2 day delivery, by train and not by air. The railways will offer a parcel service for collection at the station. This is a great convenience when no-one is at home all day for a parce to be delivered, much easier to collect it from the station on the way home from work. All professional internet and catalogue sellers will be required to offer this service as an option. They will have to arrange to deliver their parcels to their nearest station. Foreign sellers can just send by post as normal, addressed to the customer c/o the station selected. There will be a requirement for coal to fuel the trains and this will be provided from British mines, private or publically owned if neccessary. The investment neccessary for the building of the railways and purchase of the Engines and rolling stock can be financed by the issue of a railway bond by National savings, paying interest at 3% free of tax, with a limit per person of 50000 pounds. The railways will be owned by a company whos share will be wholly owned by the government, so the bonds will be a loan to the company but guaranteed by the government.
It is of course important that the new branch lines to be built will be finacially viable, and to encourage investment in both the lines and the engines, that a clear plan is presented.
The research that was done before the lines were closed was seriosly flawed, many of the lines were in fact viable, or could easily have been made so.
The stations even in the smaller towns must be brought alive. Space must be provided for free parking, at least for the passengers. The ticket offices could be run in the same way as sub-post offices work, that is the person who sells the tickets runs another business the rest of the time, or a library could be installed at the station and the tickets sold by the librarian. Government departments will be required to have offices for the public in small towns, to allow people to have information or resolve problems with pensions, benefits, tax, etc. These services could all use the same space each one present at a different time of the week. The receptionist could perhaps also sell railway tickets. Where possible there should be a cafe. If this is run as a traditional English cafe, the revolutionary government will provide incentives, such as very low rent ant rates. The steam Engines will be an attraction for touristes, and it is important to present English culture to them, not least because having sampled English sausages, bacon, cheese, scones, pork pies, Cornish pasties and so on, I’m sure it will encourage exports of these items.
It is clearly neccessary to revitalise the English economy. The revolutionary will take direct action by re-creating an industry totally owned by the state, or you could say, owned by the people who have to pay the government debt. Much is said about about global warming, but the key issue is to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and especially oil, as it is already in short supply, and the price will rise until people buy less. There is a fuel in ample supply, both world wide and in England. Britain has 400 years of known reserves. Coal. It would seem obvoius to use coal to replace gas and oil, especially oil. The problem is that it contains a little more carbon than oil. Trains use much less fuel than road transport. So if at least some of the branch lines axed by Beeching were replaced, and run with new, efficient, coal fired (steam)-engines, and carried freight and people, the total carbon output would be reduced.
The engines will be manufactured by private English companies if possible. This should lay down a good future for manufacturing in England. Universities will be orderd to help in the research, they get government grants and it won’t hurt for them to do something directly useful. Coal is competitively priced compared to oil now, and I’m sure it will become more competitive in the future. Steam engines were always cheaper to build than diesel, and so I’m sure there will be an international market in the future for steam locomotives if they can be made competitative. There is plenty of oportunity for private enterprise to open new coal mines as required. The building of the new railway lines is a major project and will be undertaken directly by a government agency in some cases, mainly where the new line can be seen as a community sevice. This will allow for some of the labour to be provided by the, half-time working for people on the dole, scheme, and by immigrants who’s present status doesn’t allow them to work. Also by people on rehabilitation schemes, and disabled workers. Basically anyone who is being funded by the Government, and who are able to work, can work on this project.
Much has been said about Keynsian economics recently. Keynes is the economist who proposed government spending on capital projects with borrowed money to boost economic activity. There is an important point point the Brown government missed, and that is, borrow to spend “on capital projects”. The coalition seems to be cutting back on spending shrinking the economy and still borrowing. Banks cannot be described as a capital project. Railways and coal mines can. I will explain in the next post.
It is clear that too many people have weight problems and that supermarkets are resposible for some of this problem. There are problems with the food they sell, and with the packaging, and with their attempts to encourage their customers to buy more.
One of the causes of weight gain is eating too much. One of the causes of eating too much is buying too much. So it seems highly reasonable to say to supermarkets that they must encourage their customers to buy in the type of quantities they would have bought before supermarkets existed. The revolutionary government will ban all offers on food that offer a lower price for buying more, and all mulipacks. Butter and substitutes, will be sold in 250g packs, all butter substitutes will be subject to VAT. Cheese will be sold at a counter, and cut to the customers request. Bacon similarly by the slice. All vegetables and fruits will be sold loose, so that the customer can buy exactly the amount the wish. Crisps will be sold in 25g packets only, and of course the price per pack is the price, whether you buy one or 10. The same will apply to pringles or doritos. Dried fruit will be sold loose or in small packs. Soft drinks of all kinds will be sold in bottles of no more than 1 litre, and carry a returnable deposit.
Alcohilic drinks will be sold at a separate counter, like cigarettes are, and must be paid for by cash or debit card, seperately from other items.
I have personally been trying the diet I have recommended, or at least as near as practically possible. We have allocated for the 2 of us, per week, 200g of bacon, 100g of butter, 500g of cheese, 200g of lard or oil, 8 litres of milk, 500g of sugar, 10 eggs, 7 euros worth of meat, a tin of fish, fresh mackerel, a meal of fresh fish, liver or 6 sausages, unlimited homemade cereal bread, a bagette, dried fruit, oats, 2 bowls of corflakes, 2 bowls of unsweatened muesli, a bottle of orange juice, a 7 cups of cocoa, and 7 cups of coffee, unlimited vegetables, and flour, but only one large fruit, say a nectarine or banana, per day, plus a punnet of strawberies or rasberries per week, 2 whiskys. We didn’t eat all of the allowance, and only the butter, required careful managing.
Result, lost about half a kilo per week, now 80.5 kilos, so we’ll see.
The revolutionary government will end child tax credits because they are complicated, costly, and give money to the fairly well off who can fill in forms.
Child benefit will be simplified to £20 per week per child. For children of school age payment will be made to the mother (usually) at the post office in cash, she will require a certifacate of attendance from the school from time to time. For children below school age she will need to take the children with her to the post office. The benefit will be taxable for higher rate taxpayers. Schools will provide meals based on traditional English food made as far as possible from local fresh ingredients. This meal will include a pudding.The price will be subsidised and be about £1 a day. This will create a significant number of jobs in school canteens, and local food production. All children will be offered one-third of a pint of milk in a glass bottle per day free. Water will be proveded with meals. There will be no vending machines in school, or any kind of sale of sweetened drinks or snack bars of any kind.