Private Eye editor and Have I Got News For You panellist Ian Hislop summed up the feelings of many British commuters and taxpayers on Friday night as he took the Government to task over its shoddy handling of the Southern Rail industrial action last week.
Following three days of strikes this week, hundreds of thousands of commuters faced delays and cancellations on their way to and back from work in the London area.
Southern Rail have been utterly useless for as long as anyone can remember.
And you know the deal..? The deal is that when these strikes take place, the passengers who don’t get on the trains are compensated by the taxpayer and the taxpayer is compensating and paying for the operating company.
The only people making money are the operating company and they’re saying ‘we don’t care if there are passengers on board, it’s cheaper, we make more money’. That’s a deal that this government struck.
He then turned to a stunned audience and proclaimed:
It’s not funny, it’s just really annoying!
A Government spokesperson was quoted last week by the BBC as saying the dispute is between Southern Rail and the unions and "not something the government is involved in"
On that theme, Hislop continued:
Essentially it’s a put up job to get rid of conductors. And then they’ll get rid of drivers. And they’ve already got rid of trains… so they’re waaaay ahead. There are very few governments who have managed to make their prime economic region totally grind to a standstill. There are 300,000 people who can’t get to work, who can’t get to interviews, who can’t go to school. And the Grayling man is saying ‘well, it’s not my problem, I’d love to help’.
But he’s the transport minister! Who else does he think is going to do it, the Fat Controller?