Poor old Stephen Byers. You’ve just got feel sorry for him, haven’t you? As if it wasn’t bad enough that he had to sort out the old transport mess, he had to work with that strange-looking Jo Moore woman as well. Is it any wonder he always looked as if he was about to start crying? Then he was accused of lying when all he had done was give an estimate that didn’t turn out to be entirely accurate. Who amongst us hasn’t done that, eh? My own rule of thumb on estimates is to suggest one third more than you think they expect and cough while you say it. Mr Byers clearly forgot to cough. The poor, simple fool has lost his job just because they crashed a few trains, there’s been some traffic jams and one strange-looking woman couldn’t keep her trap shut.
Now they’ve given the position to Alastair Darling – presumably because his hair is white to start with so nobody will notice when the job drives him crackers. It strikes me that the solution to the transport crisis is really quite simple – better plumbing. For a start we need less bends. Any apprentice who knows his armitage shanks from his elbow knows that the more bends the more problems. As I always say, if it’s true in plumbing then it’s true in life. And there’s too much through flow. It’s a basic rule of plumbing that too much traffic puts pressure on the twist valves and the whole system clogs up. That inevitably leads to overheating and before you know it you’ve got trouble on your hands. We need a structure based on the old Roman plumbing system. Lots more public provision and fewer hang-ups about sharing with your neighbour. Okay, sometimes they got a bit more lead in their pencil than they bargained for but that’s a small price to pay for regular ablutions. So there you are Mr Darling – less bends, less nuts and more public baths. That’s the answer. And you can have that idea on me for free.