Shirley Tart: Brexit talk is just off track

Conference veteran Shirley Tart reports on train woes and Brexit

Well, you can never predict or second guess can you?

Like many more on serious business for a variety of reasons, I was in Manchester all ready to report the good, the bad and the indifferent.

And who would have thought that the start of a conference day would have seen me ready to jump on the stage with an urgent plea to ministers, shadows, train people and anybody else who has the least bit of influence, to please do something about the state of our railways.

It’s a constant cry as fares go up, standards go down – and I speak as someone whose head got trapped in those automatic doors a few years ago.

Yesterday, a train employee was taking photographs on his mobile to show the boss the unacceptable face of rush hour train travel in this country. “He should have put more carriages on,” the boss’s colleague said. Yes, he jolly well should.

In fact, this Conservative conference could have done worse than fly the flag for trains right from the start, dumping the bungling that seems to dominate without much being actually done.

And so to Brexit! Yes, for all the talk about having to move on, the drift back to the topic of the day, the month, the year, infinity is like a mighty magnet.

Of course it was bound to occupy many delegates, supporters and the worried as well as the thoroughly bored.

The Brexit Secretary himself, Steve Barclay, talked of the cost(an extra £1 billion a month to Brussels for instance), lost trust in our democracy and lost opportunities.

Mr Barclay asked: “With so much delay is it any wonder my friend Jacob (Rees-Mogg) has taken to lying down on the Government front bench?”

Yes, let’s hurry it up so we can get back to playing trains!

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