Daily View 2×2: 27 July 2009

2 Big Stories

MPs urge rail franchise reforms
A report by MPs has pronounced the rail franchise system a “muddle” and has called for its reform, including the nationalisation of East Coast trains.
From the BBC:

The Commons transport committee said operators were making profits in good times but forcing the government to step in when revenues fall.

And they charged “unacceptable” fare rises of up to 11% above inflation.

The Association of Train Operating Companies said four-fifths of passengers bought discounted tickets.

The MPs urged the government to run East Coast trains itself.

They said nationalisation could be a way of comparing the performance of the public and private sectors.

The report found operators had exploited a loophole to charge “unacceptable” fare rises.

Passengers had to go to “extraordinary lengths” to get cheap fares and that fares had risen out of all proportion to the rest of the economy, it said.

Talk to Taliban, Miliband urges
From the BBC:

David Miliband has called for a change of emphasis in strategy in Afghanistan, urging the country’s government to talk to moderate members of the Taliban.

In a speech to Nato, the foreign secretary said a political coalition, including current insurgents, must be built to secure Afghanistan’s future.

Those now fighting UK and US troops who were willing to renounce violence should be reintegrated into society.

He also urged other Nato members to contribute more to the military effort.

July has been the deadliest month for the UK and Nato since operations began.

Lod Ashdown, however, has said that talking to the Taliban is nothing new.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

The Norwich North debrief continues with varied and interesting analyses of Rennardism:
The trouble with “Rennardism” (clue: it isn’t the leaflets)
James Graham writes at Quaequam Blog:

If you really believe that the problem with “Rennardism” is rooted in our on the ground tactics, you are profoundly missing the point. Far from it, in my view the problem is that this form of campaigning is too successful and has become an end in itself. The problem is that the party has become far too comfortable in making these little gains here and there and more or less abandoned anything like a strategic vision – for either the party or the country – altogether.

Norwich North was a triumph for Rennardism
From Jonathan Calder at Liberal England:

…Norwich North was a triumph for Rennardism: it’s just that it was not the Liberal Democrats who were using the technique.

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One Comment

  • Noisy Tappet 27th Jul '09 - 1:23pm

    If Miliband advocates talking to the Taliban (who are our enemies, we’re told), why hasn’t he been talking to Hamas (who aren’t and who are democratically elected)?

    Answer: because he’s a confused idiot in the wrong job.

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