WHEN I was sacked as a minister, I decided I didn’t want to be pigeonholed as “that MP who talks about trains”, which is why my first PMQ since was on a completely unrelated subject.

Nevertheless, there are occasions when it’s hard to escape the fact that in two years I managed to pick up one or two bits of knowledge about the industry. Which is, presumably, why I was asked to go on Newsnight Scotland (or Newsnicht, as it’s sometimes known by the jaded and cynical, ie, me) last night to discuss the prospects of high-speed railway lines ultimately linking Scotland with London.

So here we are, if you’re interested. Sorry it took so long to post, but this YouTube uploading lark is trickier than I thought.



Filed under Department for Transport, Media, TV

13 responses to “Newsnicht

  1. wrinkled weasel

    First of all, it’s the first time I have seen you live and talking. You do look like William Shatner and you do talk sense. If I wasn’t so angry with Labour over Iraq, and lived in Glasgow, I would be tempted to vote for you. However. After the next General Election, I recommend you join a look-alike agency.

    On the subject of connectivity on the Railway, that works in theory, but in practice it’s a sorry tale of delays, cancellations and filth. There needs to be a change in the ethos of UK rail travel. I am all for it, but why do the continentals do it so much better?

  2. I assume you mean William Shatner now as opposed to when he was young and good-looking? You couldn’t even stretch to John Gordon Sinclair, for goodness sake?

  3. Shelldrake

    London to Birmingham and then Manchester seems the sensible option. It links the purple blobs on DfT’s HS2 map of population centres.
    But straight to Glasgow from Manchester? There’s nothing along the route and railways must serve communities if they are to succeed (think of the old Waverley Route – there wasn’t much south of Hawick).
    DfT’s map shows the centres of population between Manchester and Glasgow to be Leeds, Teesside and Tyneside. Surely worth examining?

  4. Auntie Flo'

    No, you don’t look like Shatner now, he’s obese and sort of evil looking and you’re not. There is a resemblance to Sinclair now though.

    Is there a synchronisation problem between the speech and lip movements on this video? I find it quite hard to lip read because the sound cues and lip movements don’t seem to match up. I don’t think it’s your dialect, I’m used to that as my daughter’s family come from Easter Ross.

  5. It’s working ok on my browser, Flo.

  6. Jim Baxter

    Speaking of Star Trek, we’ve now lost Ricardo Montalban.

  7. Hmmm… there is a resemblence…

    Completely dissagree with you over Heathrow (but that’s another argument). It is though one of the great missed opportunities of the past 30 years the way our rail network has developed. We can guess why the Tories in the 80’s neglected rail, but the planned improvements since privatisation have not been any good. So much for Prescott’s integrated transport system. But where that fall’s down is having so many operators in private hands.

    By the way, uploading from youtube is relatively easy, compared to trying to put your own video onto Youtube or Blogger, as I tried to do with footage of Love Street’s last game a week or so ago.

  8. It’s uploading to YouTube I was having difficulty with. Who do you think posted this interview there in the first place?

  9. Auntie Flo'

    The synchronisation starts off ok, but loses traction towards the end. It’s only slight, so may not be noticeable to those who don’t lip read.

    My lip reading’s not bad, good enough to lip read a certain member of the government, during Ruth’s farewell speech to conference, apparently responding to Ruth’s:

    “all my children were born under a Labour government”


    “Oh, f…… hell” 🙂

  10. wrinkled weasel

    William Shatner circa 1979, the first Star Trek Movie, which may have preceded “The Wrath of Khan”. Ricardo Montalban RIP.

    1. Who is Tom Harris?
    2. Get me Tom Harris
    3. Get me a Tom Harris type
    4. Get me a young Tom Harris
    5. Who is Tom Harris?

    (Non Ricardo Montalban fans will think I have gone barmy.)

  11. Steve

    You need to stop repeating the Heathrow is 99% full line, its BAA propaganda, and your smarter than to fall for that. Its a bit like saying that my sofa is operating at 100% capacity, when theres only me on it , lying down.

    Running it mixed mode and switching the smaller stuff to Northolt (for those that don’t know thats the almost totally empty airport 5 miles north of Heathrow, but not BAA owned so never spoken about) would increase capacity by a large amout without many of the problems an extra runway causes.

    Your right on the HS route though, the Tory plan is just silly. Not that either plan will ever happen.

  12. John

    I enjoy the News Quiz and I like Sandi Toksvig. For some reason she, unlike her panellists, doesn’t strike me as self-congratulatory or smug despite being the wittiest of them all. Ditto Mock the Week. When the day comes (and it will) when the ubiquitous, uber-smug and condescending Marcus Brigstocke is on, I will stop listening. Saw him on Question Time (why does the Beeb believe comedians will have something worthwhile to say about politics?) when he seemed to suggest that, since HE couldn’t understand the Lisbon Treaty, the Great Unwashed wouldn’t and, therefore, there shouldn’t be a referendum. (Tip for Marcus: if there was the will for a referendum, the salient points of the Treaty could be written in plain English for we proles).

  13. John

    Out of interest, did my link to “Tie Warehouse” get caught by the spam filter, or did you take offense at my joking about your tie?

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