He’s only been in his new position of Secretary of State for Transport a matter of weeks but the Rt. Hon Patrick McLoughlin has stopped the rail franchise farce in its tracks! Today he said “unacceptable mistakes” were made by the Department for Transport (DfT) in the way it managed the franchise bids. On top of that, three Department for Transport officials have been suspended.
WELL DONE! I hear you say and cautiously we echo that sentiment. If, as we are led to believe, Mr. McLoughlin has flexed his muscle and as a man of principle, decided to do the unthinkable then good on him. It should also raise hope for everyone connected to the campaign to save Coastguard rescue coordination centres if Mr. McLoughlin is adopting a “no nonsense – do it by the book or bugger off” attitude towards ruling his maverick department. Maybe he’s got the guts that so many of us demanded from his predecessors (both of them) to investigate the flawed Coastguard closure plan and stop it now before someone dies as a result of desk bound idiots having no comprehension of the tragedy that will unfold as a result of the closure programme.
OR, maybe the sheer fact that Sir Richard Branson began legal proceedings was a big enough wake up call to the Government and they knew that Sir Richard would make his legal action stick because the process was hookey. The terms “Jumped before being pushed” and “falling on your sword” spring to mind but will we ever know what has really gone on behind the closed doors of the DfT? The answer surely lays in Mr. McLaughlin’s next move…….He MUST investigate the closure process that the DfT and MCA have backed to the hilt. He MUST review every statement made by the former Shipping Minister, Mike Penning MP for accuracy and truth (or otherwise) and he MUST examine every piece of evidence which has been presented to his department by Coastguard officers, industry experts and campaigners who have repeatedly warned of the dangers that will without a shadow of a doubt come in the future.
Go on Mr. McLoughlin – Show your fellow MPs that it is not big or clever of them to support blinkered, deceitful and idiotic plans which will risk the lives of coast users. STOP THE CLOSURE OF COASTGUARD RESCUE COORDINATION CENTRES NOW.
Written by Dennis O’Connor.