Heidi Alexander, one of the local Labour councillors has just posted an article on her campaign page called Key issues in Blackheath. She reiterates that the local council and MPs are “talking to SouthEastern”. It’s patently obvious to everyone, including SouthEastern’s boss Charles Horton, that she shouldn’t waste her breath. There are only two sets of people who exert any influence on the train companies: their shareholders, and the small group of MPs who get to draw up the Charter between the train operating companies, National Rail, and the government.
A true Labour party would make sure that a public railway service should be affordable and “better” in every sense than the equivalent car journey. I’m sure the local councillors (of all colours) really do want a better rail service for their constituents, but the game is rigged against them. They’re shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic.
On parking and boozing (or BHA and CIZ as they are known in council circles), they have more impact. And it’s a good thing that they’ve made it harder for pubs to obtain late licenses, but what about the bloody trains?! Really, this post just demonstrates how toothless local councils are against national government.
And as for the Library, I’m really worried. Every time we hear from anyone in the council talking about the future of Blackheath library, they always couch in such careful language:
Decisions about the future of Blackheath Library would ultimately be one for the Mayor of Lewisham to take but should we be elected as local representatives, we would want to see Blackheath Library remain open with adequate funds.
I seriously wonder what will happen to that library when all the major parties stop pretending that the billions of pounds handed to the banks won’t come from public service cuts.