In January, Parliament took a vote on renationalising the railways. Around 30 Labour MPs voted for public ownership. But less than half the Parliamentary Labour Party managed to turn up and vote against the rebels and for the Government line.
Full marks to the 30 rebels. And the number of 'stay aways' at least shows that Blair is pretty weak on this issue. But although they failed to back Blair, they also lacked the guts to turn up and vote for renationalisation ie. for their own party policy, the labour movement's policy, and the overwhelming view of their constituents.
Perhaps if MPs worked under the punitive attendance (MfA) policies that rail workers do, they would think twice before skiving off!
Meanwhile, rumours have circulated that some rail companies are thinking of abolishing first class so they can cram 'em in tighter and cheaper.
On hearing this, the Tories came over all of a fluster, reminding us of who their core constituency really is. They really could not stand the thought that a better class of people might have to mingle with the great unwashed.
Here at OTR, we prefer the comment of Harry Perkins, fictional socialist Labour Prime Minister in 'A Very British Coup'. Asked whether he was going to abolish first class, he replied "No, we're going to abolish second class".