In 1947 Qantas airlines created what became known as the Kangaroo Route from London to Australia. In those days the journey took four days with a total of nine stops en route, a far cry from the modern aviation world we currently live in.
We live in a world of super fast technology, a world where robotics play an ever increasing role in our day-to-day lives, a world where we can control the temperature of our house, and which lights are switched on or off, all from our mobile phone on the other side of the world. Indeed the infamous world of driverless cars is just around the corner.
And then sadly, we live in the world of Chris Grayling. In case you are unaware the Right Honourable Chris Grayling MP, is the Secretary of State for transport, as such whether you are travelling by road, air, space or attempting to make a journey by Southern Rail, he is (or rather should be) your go to man.
Unfortunately I have to report that our Right Honourable Secretary of State appears, on the face of it, lily-livered and certainly not on song with the Prime Minister who declared on her entrance to Downing Street, that she would “Govern the country for everyone”. I do not recall the Prime Minister excluding any members of the public who happen to travel on Southern Railways.
The Secretary of State for transport last week declared he found the RMT unions actions “very frustrating” and I’m told, that next week he will describe the unions actions as “annoying” and he has certainly not ruled out the possibility of escalating his rhetoric to becoming “very cross” - what planet does this man live on?
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has accused the government of abandoning passengers of Southern Rail, and called on the unions to cancel the planned strikes. Nick Herbert, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, reported in the Daily Telegraph, that one of his constituents had a job offer withdrawn when the prospective employer realised she would have to use Southern Rail to get to work. He has received numerous requests for help and has reported some commuters have lost their jobs or become sick with worry.
Then we get to the leadership of the RMT, the General Secretary Mick Cash. I think by now we are all aware this strike has nothing to do with safety, in the early rhetoric of the unions they kept quoting safety issues at “the passenger train interface” i.e. the doors. It has since been pointed out that numerous other train services run on a driver only basis, without any safety issues coming to the fore.
According to details published by Southern Rail, Mick Cash’s members have been offered job and salary security without any loss whatsoever until 2021. There is a hell of a lot of commuters that, because of Mick Cash’s members’ actions, don’t have job security until the end of the year.
Each train would still have an RMT operative with a new title of ‘On Board Supervisor’ - I guess with the job reclassification, it could result in said operatives actually having to render a positive customer experience!
Which brings me nicely back to Qantas airline, who this week announced that starting in March 2018 they will become the first airline to offer a non-stop, 9,000 mile journey in a single 17 hour stint, with direct non-stop flights between London and Perth, Australia. They will be using the brand new Boeing 787/9 Dreamliner planes which will carry 236 passengers.
What is the connection I hear you ask? Very simple, the Qantas announcement reminded me very much of the current situation on Southern Rail, a situation caused by the introduction of new technology. It is new technology that will allow the non-stop 17 hour flight, and coincidently 17 hours and 20 minutes is exactly the time that Google maps says it will take to walk from Brighton to London, which is exactly what we will soon end up doing unless the Right Honourable Transport Secretary gets a grip of the situation!
Give me a call or email me on John@Uniglobepreferred.co.uk