Tuesday, November 22, 2005

More strikes
I see at BBC news that the French rail workers are striking again. Apparently they are striking in protest against plans to privatise the French rail company SNCF.

Not that anybody actually has any plans to do such a thing. The transport minister Dominique Perben apparently said, "I put in black and white what I have said on several occasions over the last 10 days: there is no plan for the privatisation of SNCF".

This reminds me of an interesting conversation I had with my French friend Fabien the other day. He scoffed at the British railways for having such old trains, giving this as a reason for why SNCF is better.

Well firstly, he obviously hasn't been to the UK for a while - the trains are getting newer. And secondly, what matters most? The age of your trains? Or whether your trains are actually being driven in order that passengers can be transported from A to B at the times advertised?

Free trade and competition are practically articles of religious faith in the UK. Definately not the case over here. Protectionism and laziness seems more the order of the day sometimes, although I would love to hear alternative explanations from my French friends.

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