Thursday, August 25, 2016

The sit-down protest that doesn't stand up

Traingate is the kind of political flashpoint that has all the hallmarks of a peculiarly British farce.  

The Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition camps out on the floor of a Virgin carriage making a propaganda film about nationalising the railways. He claims his predicament is due to overcrowding, but the billionaire entrepreneur who owns the train company (and presumably doesn’t much like the idea of nationalisation) releases CCTV footage to show that there were, in fact, empty seats.

And from that starting point, what’s our ultimate destination? Who the hell knows? But we have all kinds of fantastic station stops to visit along the way.

Perhaps the empty seats were reserved? Maybe they had bags on them? Or young kids?

It may have been that Jez was keen to spend time with Mrs Corbyn III, but couldn’t find a double berth in which to chit-chat about his anti-austerity policies.

The train, according to Mr Corbyn, was ‘ram packed’. But when aides tried to contact him about the media hullabaloo surrounding the journey, he was reportedly unobtainable because he was making jam. So maybe the train was, in fact, jam packed?

The most mysterious thing to me is why – if the sainted JC is leading some mass popular movement, as his supporters claim – no one chose to give up their seat to the aged Islington North MP. Come on now, Virgin passengers. This is a poor show. An elderly man has entered the carriage and seems to have reservations about sitting down. You, on the other hand, have reservations allowing you to sit down. What do you do? Let him go and camp out in the vestibule area? Honestly.

Someone needs to explain the rules of the train world to Jezza.

If a reserved passenger hasn’t turned up, then you can sit down. After all, they’re not suddenly going to appear just south of Doncaster and kick up a fuss, are they? And if they do, you just tell them you have a massive mandate and it’s an impertinence for them to challenge you.

In the future, you can always book in advance. Get a seat for yourself, the Mrs and any friends. Although preferably not the ones from Hamas or Hezbollah.

I have a hunch that #traingate will be remembered long after Chilcot’s 2.6 million words on the Iraq War are forgotten.  On second thoughts, Chilcot’s 2.6 million words had probably been forgotten before #traingate.

With this one, Corbyn is ahead of Ed Miliband. He’s bypassed the bacon sandwich in the buffet and gone straight for the kitchen that wasn’t a kitchen. It’s the sit-down protest that just doesn’t stand up. 

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