Manchester launches first locally controlled bus service in four decades

“I hope it signals the start of a public transport revolution across the whole of England,” says Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham.

Greater Manchester has retaken control of its buses after almost 40 years of deregulation.

As bus services were deregulated across the UK in 1986 – except in London where services remained under local control – the move represents the biggest change to public transport in a generation.

The privatisation of Britain’s bus sector was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government. At the time, the government predicted that the move would lead to “lower fares, new services, and more passengers,” while removing “any potential liability on the taxpayer.”

Instead, bus use has been in decline ever since, and today, much of the sector is in crisis, with taxpayers subsidising corporate profits. In Greater Manchester, the number of passengers using buses has fallen from 355m in 1986/87, to just over 182m at the end of 2019, just before Covid.

From September 24, a fleet of 50 zero-emission Bee Network-branded buses (ZEBs) will be in service. The buses offer a range of improved features for passengers, including two bays for wheelchair users, anti-slip flooring, audio and visual announcement systems, and hearing induction loops. Over the next two years, existing buses in Greater Manchester will be gradually upgraded to Bee Network buses.

More at LeftFootForward

Continue ReadingManchester launches first locally controlled bus service in four decades

Boris Johnson let off the hook over ‘clear breach of rules’ over Daily Mail column

Image of Elmo and former Prime Minister Tory idiot Boris Johnson
Image of Elmo (left) and former Prime Minister Tory idiot Boris Johnson (right)

‘Here we go again. There is no real democracy without real accountability.’

The former prime minister will not face action despite having been found to have committed a ‘clear and unambiguous breach’ of the rules over his column in the Daily Mail.

Johnson had sparked a backlash when, in June, he gave Parliament’s anti-corruption watchdog just 30 minutes’ notice that he had taken a job as a columnist for the Daily Mail.

Under Parliamentary rules, former ministers are forbidden to take up new appointments, prior to receiving advice from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba). They must consult Acoba on any jobs they take within two years of leaving government.

Lord Pickles, Acoba chairman, said Johnson had ‘clearly flouted the rules,’ but said it was up to the government to take action. Pickles had also called for urgent reform of the ‘good chaps’ approach to ministerial jobs.

More at LeftFootForward

Continue ReadingBoris Johnson let off the hook over ‘clear breach of rules’ over Daily Mail column

Rupert Murdoch on Tony Blair’s penis

Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper featured bare-breasted beautiful young women on it’s ‘Page 3’ until 2013. Blogger Tim Ireland campaigned against this sexist objectification of women through his Bloggerheads blog. Here are a few excerpts from that blog. While it was not Rupie himself discussing Blair’s apparently more than ample penis, it was certainly done in his newspaper with his consent. Enjoy ;)

Respect the cock

Sun cock image from Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads
Sun cock image from Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads

The Scum have come out in support of Blair with a front page, interview, and editorial that declares he is worthy of your vote because he is a “decent, caring family man”… with a large cock that he can put to good use up to 5 times a night. I kid you not. The article only appears in the newspaper, but here’s a juicy excerpt from the interview:

CB: Oh come on Tony, strip off. Let’s see that fit body we’ve been talking about.
TB: You can keep your hands to yourself, Cherie!
Scum: So how fit are you Tony?
CB: Very!
Scum: What, at least five times a night?
TB: At least, I can do it more depending on how I feel.
Scum: Are you always up to it?
CB: He always is!
TB: Right that’s enough – interview over. And I’m not doing any kissing pictures! Come on, woman, time to cook my dinner.

This is not a joke, people. This is an actual excerpt from the interview.

Page 3 and the ‘News in Briefs’ lie exposed

I remain confident that these editorials were strategically placed by then-editor Rebekah Wade/Brooks in order to better service her friend and political ally David Blunkett, and not the result of any topless model(s) spontaneously deciding that they would use the empowering platform of Page 3 to express their admiration for the work of the beleaguered Home Secretary.

That said, there is an outside chance that this was a genuine and spontaneous outpouring of emotion following the first of two resignations:

The Sun's Page 3 16 Dec 2004 from Tim Ireland's Bloggerheads.
The Sun’s Page 3 16 Dec 2004 from Tim Ireland’s Bloggerheads. It’s cropped of course – Katie’s Blunkett-supporting funbags have been cropped out by Tim Ireland.

Blunkett was and is such a nasty, evil cnut.

Head over to Bloggerheads to see more: Page 3 – News in Briefs, Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch.

Continue ReadingRupert Murdoch on Tony Blair’s penis

Memo to Chris Packham: I’ll come with you, break the law, get arrested and imprisoned

Chris Packham. Image:  Jo Garbutt, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Chris Packham. Image: Jo Garbutt, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

I’ve just watched Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law?. He questions whether we should break the law to protect the climate and reaches the conclusion that we should. I’m sure that he will have no problem finding people to join him, I would regard it as an honour and a privilege to join him in that endeavour. I’ll do it no problem, should be fun, hope we can have some beers before too.

It’s a good programme raising many questions. A central theme running through the programme is effective activism i.e. what is / how to do effective activism? The problem is that we exist in a plutocracy as opposed to a democracy so that rich people only have power. It’s obvious when you think about it: fossil fuel companies get to destroy the planet without ever being held to account and I’ve said before that politicians are indistinguishable from the fossil fuel companies. 2 issues: 1. We should regard them as the same, and 2. we should obstruct their activities (and also the activities of others also destroying the planet through private jets, super yachts and other conspicuous consumption). People used to aspire to be stinking rich but are coming to realise that these are the cnuts who are destroying the planet.

Also wishing Rupert a short retirement *

Later: Thinking about this, the best course of action would probably be to obstruct, disrupt, ideally prevent climate destruction / fossil fuel industries without getting arrested and imprisoned. Then you can repeat it ;)

Continue ReadingMemo to Chris Packham: I’ll come with you, break the law, get arrested and imprisoned