Posted by: Paul | February 18, 2010

First Class Citizen

Today, this man is causing a bit of a stir by saying that MPs should still be allowed to travel first class on train journeys post-expenses meltdown.

Sir Nicholas Winterton is, as you would probably expect, a Tory. Among his rather forthright views on the subject are the claims that Expensegate (c Paul Ford 2010, I haven’t heard anyone coin that so I’m claiming it) has been “grossly misrepresented” by the media (says he who had to repay £850 in improper claims), and that standard class carriages contain a “totally different kind of people”. Some kind of alien species, perhaps? Like the ones who elected you?

Perhaps Sir Nicholas should come to Essex and experience the scandal of first class travel on National Express East Anglia. It’s basically standard class, with added carpet. And everyone who can’t sit down in standard goes and sits in first anyway. Which makes a mockery of the fact that the season ticket price difference between the two classes from my local station is more than £2000! How about that for something which would really wind Sir Nick up when the hoi polloi come and read the FT over his shoulder?

Bearing in mind that Winterton is MP for Macclesfield and would use Virgin trains to travel from his second home in London to his constituency, Virgin’s “standard class” makes NXEA’s “first class” look like you’re travelling in a toilet. Which, if you’re coming home late at night, you are. So with that in mind, perhaps he should experience first hand what most people have to go through on a daily basis.

I hear he will be standing down at the next election. That’s good news for him. He can travel first class all he likes when I’m not paying for it. But I’ll let Sir Nicholas have the last word, from the BBC site – hoist with his own petard, as it were:

Asked whether it mattered that the public might not agree with first-class travel, he said: “I’m sorry, the public are wrong. It’s for Parliament to decide not the public.”



  1. Already coined, but with an added consonant.

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