LETTER: He’s scraping the barrel

When Transport Secretary Grayling calls the strikes on Southern rail “politically motivated” you just know he’s scraping the barrel of arguments, he’s sunk to the bottom.

And when Rail Minister Maynard says he chooses not to intervene when he’s already deeply involved you just know it’s classic doublespeak.

It’s widely accepted that the Department for Transport is working hand in glove with Govia Thameslink. with GTR/Southern.

They’re not brave enough to come out into the open but prefer to hide behind the rail operator.

Local Conservative MPs ask questions, “press” ministers and are brushed off. They continue to do what they’re told by the party bosses.

Scotrail had a similar dispute earlier this year which was settled in a compromise agreement many months ago. Why not here ministers? MPs? The changes brought forward by DfT/GTR are intended to cheapen the service and will reduce safety and personal security. The disabled and less able will find it more diffficult to travel. Will this reduce the ticket prices? No, they are increasing. Incidentally, can it really be true that a train can move away from the platform without all the doors being fully closed? It would seem so.

Be very careful boarding a train as the doors are closing, especially if there is no conductor there to see you. DfT/GTR have brought about an industrial relations disaster. They have tried to buy, bully, bribe and threaten the conductors. Now the drivers are taking action. Even on non-strike days the service is very random and erratic. Those responsible aren’t interested even when there is a perfectly acceptable formula available to settle the dispute. Perhaps it is the ministers and their obedient MPs whose actions are “politically motivated” and we, the travelling public are mere pawns in a bigger picture; we’re being used.

With other crises in the NHS, social care, housing and prisons, let’s just remind ourselves that this is what an unrestrained, right-wing Conservative government looks like.

Hugh Redgewell

High Street, Lewes