Today's cycling spin

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Today's cycling spin

Postby thirdcrank » 1 Oct 2009, 4:22pm

ChrisPeck wrote: ...I can't understand the opposition to 'unelected' ministers. ...


Briefly, my opposition is this. We have a very weak form of democracy, in which the leader of a party elected with anything like a majority is a virtual dictator, with the only limit being that sooner or later they will make such a mess they will be slung out. Although being a minister is increasingly more about being able to perform well on Today, Newsnight etc., than in delivering any sort of policy, there is still a sort of weak accountability if minsiters are MPs. The unelected House of Lords is indefensible as a second chamber, and one of "New " Labours aspirations was to reform it. Having got rid of the greater part of the hereditary element the House of Lords increasingly consists of people put there entirely by the Prime Minister's patronage. Perhaps the main current example is Mandy, but there are others less prominent.

Your justification of this seems to be a variation of "At least he makes the trains run to time."

(There are of course, political systems where ministers or their equivalents are appointed, but generally in those countries there are much stronger constitutional checks than in the UK)

ChrisPeck
Posts: 59
Joined: 28 Jul 2009, 4:13pm
Location: Guildford, Surrey

Re: Today's cycling spin

Postby ChrisPeck » 2 Oct 2009, 8:49pm

thirdcrank wrote:
ChrisPeck wrote: ...I can't understand the opposition to 'unelected' ministers. ...

Your justification of this seems to be a variation of "At least he makes the trains run to time."

(There are of course, political systems where ministers or their equivalents are appointed, but generally in those countries there are much stronger constitutional checks than in the UK)


That's exactly my point. If it works (and works well) in other countries, why can't it work here? Perhaps the checks on ministerial power need to be stronger - Parliament is pretty feeble presently - but that should be justified whether or not ministers are chosen from the Commons. Giving Select Committees real power would be a start.

It's not 'he makes the trains run on time' - it's more he is interested in trains. By contrast most of his predecessors have been placemen/women who just sat at the desk and tried not to rock the boat too much. Only two years ago the DfT produced a white paper on the railways called 'Delivering a Sustainable Railway', which was supposed to be a 'strategy for the next 30 years'. That strategy said "do nothing whatsoever". Things have moved on - high speed rail, electrification - both ignored two years ago and now firmly on the table. I'm not saying that the new approach is any better - just that at least he's shaken things up in the Department of Motoring.

thirdcrank
Posts: 28648
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Today's cycling spin

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Nov 2009, 4:53pm

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/u ... 919167.ece

For anybody too tired to read the link, here's the bit I have in mind:-

He (Baron Adonis) also promised to double the number of cycle parks at railway stations within five years and to build an additional 10,000 car parking spaces at stations every year.


Now, that sounds to me like an airy-fairy commitment to cycle parking (which is, in any case,useless to anybody wanting to take a bike on a train) and a specific 50,000 extra car parking spaces over the same period, and beyond.

How can any cyclist take this seriously?

skrx
Posts: 188
Joined: 5 Jan 2009, 12:23pm
Location: South West Inner London

Re: Today's cycling spin

Postby skrx » 18 Nov 2009, 5:28pm

If parking at out-of-town stations encourages people away from their cars that's OK by me.

Also, cycle parking at railway stations can be very useful. I lock my bike at my local station at least once a week. I don't need the bike at my destination (Central London) as I'll be with friends (who also don't bring bikes), and we'll walk small distances anyway.