Monday, January 1, 2007

Tories try to gloss over their implementation of rail privatisation

It appears that some re-writing of history is going on in Conservative circles. A Conservative supporter writes in this week's 'Newbury Weekly News':

Richard Benyon was not an MP when rail privatisation was pushed through, and was therefore as powerless as the rest of us.

That’s strange. On 10th December 1996, a copy of the Conservative party’s "West Berkshire Messenger" was delivered to my door and to the rest of the elctorate locally. John Major was the Conservative Prime Minister and Richard Benyon was local Conservative "Parliamentary Spokesman" at the time. It seems that Mr Benyon was extremely proud of his close relationship with John Major, the pusher-in-chief of rail privatisation. You can tell this by the fact that Mr Benyon is pictured in full colour enjoying a joke, standing right next to John Major at the top of the front page of the newspaper (see above).

So it would seem that Mr Benyon wanted us to believe at the time that he was not quite so "powerless" as the rest of us over rail privatisation.

Indeed, it seems that Mr Benyon, at the time, did not feel that rail privatisation was being "pushed through". On the contrary. If you turn to Page 2 of the same paper (see below) he acts as a positive evangelist for rail privatisation. There is an article entitled: "A Better Train Service for Newbury". It says: "PPC Richard Benyon has hailed rail privatisation as a huge success." The article said rail privatisation would mean "more services from Newbury and Thatcham to London Paddington." Richard Benyon was directly quoted as saying: "We are going to get an improved service at a cheaper cost to the taxpayer and with the certainty of cheaper fares for the customer."