We Meet The People Affected By The Rail Strike
Up and down the country people's daily lives have been turned upside down by the RMT's strike.
GROUND TO A HALT: Thousands face transport misery as a union dares to strike. (Reebok Hurst/Feast For Your Senses Images)
Commuters, schoolchildren, trainspotters and people visiting sick elderly relatives alike face heartache and inconvenience today as the RMT's "biggest railway strike action in thirty years" takes a firm grip round the neck of Great Britain.
We set out to speak to some of those affected.
The Stockbroker Who Refuses To Catch "Dirty" Buses
Iain Carson, 37, Hackney
"I only ever got on a bus once. It was 2006. I'd just moved down to London. It was one of the most appalling experiences of my life. The people were filthy. The bus was dirty. The seats emitted a fine mist of microscopic debris and bacteria on contact.
"The stench of poverty was tangible. As was the air of violence. I still can't believe it, but there was one hooded youth onboard casually waving nunchaku about. Like a ninja.
"And now, thanks to these hard-line communist unions, I'm expected to get back on one of these deathmobiles - like a dog? No thanks. The government needs to send the army in. Break this strike through force."
The Pornographer Who Relies On Trains
Mackenzie Mackworth, 49, Mitcham
"Since 2018 I've been shooting the 'Fake Train' series of porn videos that are increasingly popular online. Obviously I can't afford an actual train so we rely on using some of the quieter suburban services towards the end of the day. I stick a couple of GoPro cameras up on luggage racks and film myself dressed up as a ticket inspector going at it with an up-and-coming female performer.
"People scoff but pornography is a significant part of the economy. And the mental wellbeing of the country. I've got fans who would be in real dire straits if they went more than a few days without a new FT to watch.
"I had a 17 year old willing to do anal on a train to Tunbridge Wells tonight but that's all up in the air now. Even if the train is running it could still be too busy to fuck this girl up to arse without people complaining.
"I packed in my job as a secondary school teacher last year to do this full time, so these rail union barons are ruining my livelihood. I'd like to see the police smash the pickets to pieces. Sort it out Boris!"
The Authentic Working Class Londoner
Roger Parsnip, 55, Thornton Heath
"It's a right pain in the backside! The train stations are very important to my income. Don't get me wrong, I walk to work. I play a KGB agent in an escape room at the Croydon Museum of Communist Slaughter in Purley Way. Load of old bollocks of you ask me. But I go to the stations to supplement my income.
"We only get minimum wage in the museum so thanks to the cost of living crisis and those little pricks raising people's rent I go to tube stations and train stations and mug anyone wearing a suit."
[Interviewer interjects] "I'm sorry? You do what?"
"I mug people who look like they can afford it. You should see the look on their faces!"
[Interviewer] "But you can't do that. That's illegal."
[Interviewer] "No it's not!"
"Anyway I'm not a monster. I'll only take a couple of twenties. Enough to get some Coco Pops and Quavers in. Unless they've got a nice expensive looking wallet then I'll take a bit more. But now I can't do that because these rich prats are mingled up with the normal decent folk on the buses. I wouldn't mug someone on a bus. That's just not the way I'm brought up."
[Interviewer] "So you condemn these strikes?"
"No chance! Good luck to them. I wish there was a powerful KGB escape room workers' union."
The Redwall Tory Voter Who Runs A Successful Restaurant
Our new Northern Correspondent, Douglas Joeme, reports on the ground from Cheshire.
Andrew Wightman, 52, Warrington
In the centre of Warrington on a Tuesday morning, Andrew Wightman was on the phone, trying to solve a “logistical nightmare” and source his special wagyu beef for his locally famous burrito bar.
A first-time Tory voter, in the last few general elections, he was particularly red in the face when we brought up the recent national rail strikes. “Have you seen the f*%king salaries these chaps are on?” he said in an unmistakably working class and colourful Northern accent. “They need a chuffing clip ‘round the ear and a kick up’t backside and pushing back into work”, he exclaimed.
“I still blame Jeremy Commie. Old Captain Fishy. If he had his way, he’d nationalise my burritos. Remember that BBC journalist who pointed out that Labour would nationalise sausages? Why would they stop there? They’d bloody nationalise me burritos, they would”.
Asked whether he ever used the trains, Wightman pointed at his Range Rover and laughed “do I f*ck”. He did go on to say he found Sir Keir Starmer to be a great leader of the Labour Party and that he “seemed pretty sound for a posh c*nt”.