The policy is that train operating companies are private companies
When the cardinal later took it upon himself to spearhead the campaign to save Clause 28, labelling homosexuality "a perversion", he only strengthened the impression that he was a fanatic.Compare his behaviour to that of his widely-admired counterpart south of the border, Cardinal Basil Hume. The former Abbot of Ampleforth carried into the national arena the air of a man of God. He enjoyed great success in gently influencing politicians behind the scenes. He understood both the art of the possible, and the drawbacks of giving any hint of religious fundamentalism.Stephen McGinty, a writer on The Scotsman, confronts Thomas Winning's shortcomings and misjudgements with commendable honesty This biography, after all, was authorised.
The picture he paints of cosy sessions with the cardinal before his death show a softer, more attractive side to his subject, which singularly failed to come across in the pulpit or on a public platform.McGinty does a good job of putting Cardinal Winning's headline-grabbing actions in context: of a Scottish Catholic church that sees itself as a much more radical, anti-establishment, working-class organisation than in England, and of a universal church in which Pope John Paul II has given a lead in plain speaking with his total opposition to abortion and the "moral evil" of homosexuality.This is an admirable biography, in that it takes an apparently unattractive subject and tries intelligently to explain what made him that way. While McGinty never quite manages to make you warm to Winning, he produces an informative study of the ongoing clash of values between Catholicism in its undiluted form and Western secular society.Peter Stanford's revised biography of Lord Longford is published by Sutton. The government was accused yesterday of having a "dogmatic obsession" with privatisation after admitting that it would hand back one of Britain's busiest commuter rail networks to a private operator, however well it was run by the state. Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, asked Richard Bowker, chairman of the SRA, whether he would be prepared to keep operating rail services in the South-east if it was proved that his organisation was doing it cheaper and more efficiently than any potential private sector operator.Mr Bowker said: "I do not believe it is a circumstance that will arise. The policy is that train operating companies are private companies."Mr Brake accused the authority and the Government of adopting an "obsessive dogmatism" over privatisation. He said: "It seems bizarre that it doesn't matter how much more efficient it is under SRA control, they will always take the risk of allowing a private operator to take responsibility for it."The SRA took responsibility for train services in Kent and Sussex on 9 November. The authority intends to pass the operation back to the private sector in early 2005.Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT rail union, said: "The millions currently going into the operation should be used to improve services for commuters in Kent and Sussex.
But it seems the SRA is just fattening it up again, so that it can be handed over to another profit-hungry privateer.". Safety on the Tube network is being undermined by the obsessive secrecy of the private company at the centre of the Camden Town derailment incident, according to London's transport chief. Senior officials of the union are predicting a "yes" vote amid deep concerns about the ability of a highly complex partly privatised structure to run the underground network safely.Mr Kiley said the Tube Lines consortium, which counts the beleaguered Jarvis Rail company among its members, was failing to hand over vital data about maintenance work.The commissioner pointed out that such secrecy meant that one part of management did not know what the other was doing.He said relations between Tube Lines and London Underground, the state-backed organisation which still runs the trains, were "strained". Transport for London found that the network was "extremely hard to manage" and this had potential implications for safety, he added.He said: "We are often involved in theological arguments which are getting in the way of good management It is sometimes difficult to know what's going on.
This is a dangerous state of affairs."He said that while it is too early to arrive at a final assessment of the new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which runs the system, contracts which govern the work undertaken by the two infrastructure consortiums might have to be rewritten.Tube Lines took over the maintenance of the Northern line, together with the Jubilee and Piccadilly routes on 31 December last year. In the summer a second consortium, Metronet, assumed responsibility for the rest of the system. Mr Kiley said it was too early to assess Metronet's performance in running its lines.Concern over safety deepened last month after two trains derailed in as many days. On 17 October a Piccadilly line train came off the track between Hammersmith and Barons Court. Two days later, seven people were injured when a Northern Line train derailed and hit a wall just outside Camden Town station.