To: <recipient list supressed>
Subject: Tube Strike Day 2
Date: Thu, 11 Jun 2009 11:01:57 +0100
Yesterday, while corresponding with my father, and he was commiserating about the Tube strike vis a vis his experience of New York subway strikes, I told him that really a Tube Strike is pretty much like the weather – no one can do anything about it, so everyone just works around it, and I like running, anyway. So.
Well, by the end of yesterday, I’ve changed my position. My position now is: Frack TFL. Why the change of outlook? Well, for starters, I was totally wrecked running home last night – exhausted, and sore legs, and completely bonked. I’m still sort of getting my work routine down, but it usually doesn’t involve eating anything during the day, and that’s normally fine when I’m just hopping on a train home at night. On the other hand, running 5 miles (after a day of work, after running 5 miles in the morning): not so much. [Incidentally, I think I got the mileage wrong yesterday: running into the City, I remember now, was like 8. This, with all the detours, is probably close enough to 5 as makes no difference. I’ll mapmyrun.com it later. But it is notable, not to mention conventional, how these runs get longer with each telling . . .]
So, anyway, by the time I got home last night, I was long past ready to be home. (And I had at least two more of these commuting runs ahead of me.)
The second thing is I always say that the thing about a Tube strike is it makes all forms of public transit unusable – as Londoners attempt to shift their 3 million daily Tube journeys onto the bus, train, overground, and river ferry networks. Well, as intimated yesterday, this now seems to be true of the running and cycling “networks” as well – anywhere near the major arteries, you can hardly bleeding move, even on foot. It sucks. Last night I figured if I could just get off the Strand, out of Trafalgar Square, and into St. James’ Park, I’d be fine. But I got underneath Admiralty Arch and it got worse. Let me tell you, exhausted and bonked and leg-sore is really not the time you want to be fracking jogging in place waiting for thousands of bozos to clear out of your fracking way. Jesus.
Then I finally got home, and shortly after that Anna did as well, and she’d had a miserable day herself: aside from the miserable journey, she manages sort of an upscale women’s boutique inside of Selfridges, and the thing about a Tube strike is no one goes shopping because no one can get there. (Or, at the very least, no one wants to go shopping badly enough to battle through the heaving buses and streets.) So where Anna’s shop might take £6000 or more on a good day, yesterday was a total blank. And after sending her staff home, she still had to stand there all evening, bored out of her mind, earning no money. And that – when she related this – was when I realised: these striking TFL frackers are costing other people their jobs.
Any idea how much money the shops on Oxford and Regent Street alone take in a day? And all of the West End theatres? We’re talking millions. Lots of millions. And what about the lost productivity and profit in every single other sector of the economy in London? And all because these arsehead Tube drivers – who think £40k isn’t enough money to push a lever forward to Go, to pull out of a station, and back to Stop, to pull into a station, but would rather make £44k – some poor single mother who works double shifts as a shopgirl in Harrods is going to get the sack. Probably a lot of such single mothers.
These bozos of the first rank are willing to bring the World’s First City to its knees, because their full-salary-to-the-grave pensions aren’t protected to their satisfaction. Jesus. Why don’t they negotiate their compensation packages the same way everybody else does – at the time they accept the fracking job? If I think I should be earning more, I don’t have the right to shut my employer down – I can simply go get another job and prove I’m actually worth it. And what the bloody freaking hell are public sector employees doing striking? I can almost understand if you’re being oppressed by robber barons – but government is a feed trough, not a profit-mad, soulless business concern. And while shutting down some rich guy’s factory can be understood, shutting down everybody’s city is just bullshit.
It all makes great sense of you want to go the way of Euro-sclerotic, EUtopia mainland Europe (I’m looking at you, French people), where soon everyone will be retired on full pensions and the only people working will be North African immigrants (because no European people bothered to have any children) and even they won’t be working because they’ll be rioting. (Oh, wait – where will all that pension money come from, then? Better not to ask.) But it’s a completely shitty strategy if you have any interest in participating in modernity and living in the real world.
Here’s what should happen: Gordon Brown should salvage the last iota of good will anyone anywhere has for him by resigning, dissolving his government, and calling a general election. Then, when the Conservatives come in – on 100% of the vote that doesn’t go to the BNP – Cameron should take a lesson from Thatcher (and Reagan, with the air traffic controllers) and shit-can these ass-clowns.
And that’s what I think.
Attached is what I looked like when I got in this morning: rather more huffing and red-faced and pissed off than yesterday, I think. And outside, in better, or at any rate more washed-out, light. You may recognise the building from, like, four years ago. Plus ca change. (Or to borrow from that philosopher of absurdist modernity Butthead, “The more things change, the more they suck.”)
P.S. I should apologise for the unbidden rant. But there’s kind of a starkly reduced set of things I remotely enjoy lately, much less get enthusiastic about and, weirdly, dispatching is still on the list. So, the hell with it (i.e. if I make an annoyance and fool out of myself.) And but of course, no one has to read any of this. In fact, you’re almost certainly not reading this now, if you ever were. Nardy, nardy, nyahh nyaah, I’m making goofy faces at you, and talking in baby talk, nardy nardy. Ha ha.
Update: If you want really to be steamed, read this article from the front page of Friday's Metro: "The RMT union boss said the 48-hour Underground strike, which was estimated to have cost London £100million, was a roaring success. 'I'm really pleased, it was a solid success,' he said. 'The whole city ground to a halt and the disruption it caused was all over the papers.'" And he promises to do it again soon. The cock.