LETTER: A time of mounting chaos

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Maria Caulfield’s posturing on the subject of Southern Rail is the finest am dram but I am afraid I must spoil her photo-op with the facts.

Govia (who are Southern) have a management agreement whereby they make no decisions. All the terms, targets and plans have been set out by the DFT. Govia are there to implement the changes as a test bed for the rest of the country with Southern as the front.

The McNulty report on rail travel (2011) set out proposals for cutting costs and the DFT has been putting together a plan to ‘streamline’ the system. Implementing these recommendations has been in Conservative thinking for a long time.

One of the major changes was to rid the network of guards, other changes will be the move to online ticket sales, fewer stations and staff.

Arguably, rail’s position as a unionised monopoly has led to it becoming an anachronism.

Rail is a rich man’s transport subsidised by taxes so there is no moral case for retaining inefficiency. Others may disagree but it is not my point at this time.

I don’t blame people for fighting for their jobs, but facts are facts. Southern are not causing the breakdown of the system it is the RMT. They have instituted work to rule and non-cooperation. The shorter timetable has been signed off by the DFT. The idea is to stop short notice cancellations intended, by the unions, to maximise disruption.

Maria Caulfield’s party instigated this dispute and agreed its latest phase. By mounting a sham protest against her own agents in the matter, she is misrepresenting who is doing what to whom.

Do we really need dishonest opportunism at this point? I think not.

I wonder if anyone else is thinking that we were fools to discard Norman Baker, a man whose decency, experience, and responsible attitude to the European Union would have been welcome at this dreadful time of mounting chaos and fear?

I am and I voted Conservative.

Paul Newman

Firle Crescent

Lewes