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The Politics of Great British Railways

Sad Sprinter

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This seems to be a conversation that's impossible to avoid, so I thought I'll make a thread outlining my thoughts on the matter.

'Great British Railways' is a terrible name, its too long and awkward and sounds like a fake name for a railway in a TV show. British Rail is clearly a better name. I certainly think it smacks of the Tory Party's Americanisation of British patriotism, which I think will just turn more people off patriotism in this country. Clearly, it's an attempt to boost the Union, but I'd bet that extending HS2 to Glasgow/Edinburgh, despite the business case, would do more to boost the Union in Scotland than the GBR name.

I've seen some posters adopt the school of thought that the name change 'panders' to a specific section of the public. This I disagree. I'll describe myself as a patriot, but I find the Tories' current idea of patriotism embarrassing. I don't think there is a section of the public who craves American style patriotism. The Red Wallers (if they are the section of the public people believe the GBR name panders to) will probably take the reopening of old supply chains for the railway industry any day than Union Jacks on trains.

Perhaps a more deeper topic, but I do wish we could see the term 'British' meaning 'a person of the island of Britain', be them Welsh, Scottish, English or Cornish including of course the people of Northern Ireland. 'Briton' seems to be a lot less emotionally charged word. Perhaps 'Great Brittonic Railways' would be a better name. Being half Welsh and half English, I am 'British', both identities are important to me. The word is so politically charged there is no longer an acceptable identity to give someone from Great Britain that feels at home with all the island's national identities. A great shame.
 
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yorksrob

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Perhaps its an attempt to associate the railway with the same level of affection as a popular baking programme !
 

Tazi Hupefi

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It will probably just be known as GB Railways for the most part, and I can't see the name being used that much. After all, they won't need to announce train operator names anymore at stations if they're the only "brand" anyway.

I personally quite like Great British Railways, but it is opening itself up to "Late British Railways" etc.
 

Journeyman

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It's an absolutely dreadful name and I hate it.

The National Rail brand is already in widespread use. What's wrong with that?
 

WelshBluebird

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I don't think there is a section of the public who craves American style patriotism.
Sadly I think you are wrong there - and the Tories clearly think there is a section like that too because they are very much going for this flag waving American style of patriotism.
 

DerekC

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Sadly I think you are wrong there - and the Tories clearly think there is a section like that too because they are very much going for this flag waving American style of patriotism.
I think it's also a stick to beat Labour with - dare them to challenge anything with a Union Jack or a "Great British" label and be smeared as unpatriotic - and it seems to be working. I hate it, personally. I love my country as much as anyone and would have fought for it if called (at least, I think I would - you don't really know until you are there) - but I hate this forced "my country right or wrong" style of patriotism. It denies people the right to disagree.
 

yorksrob

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I don't know. The Union Flag has been fairly low key throughout my lifetime, but isn't its promotion more a reaction towards the prominence of national flags and symbols amongst nationalists ?
 

Journeyman

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I don't know. The Union Flag has been fairly low key throughout my lifetime, but isn't its promotion more a reaction towards the prominence of national flags and symbols amongst nationalists ?
It's had a predictable effect in Scotland - the nationalists are spitting rivets.
 

bb21

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The National Rail brand is already in widespread use. What's wrong with that?
The politicians won't be able to reinvent the wheel and claim credit.

Shapps already stuck his paw prints on the report.
 

alex397

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I’ve always found sticking the word ‘Great’ in front of ‘Britain’ rather egotistical as a nation, although this country is quite egotistical in my opinion!

I don’t think British Railways was ever going to be used again for the negative connotations, and perhaps National Rail is a bit of a bland name (I’d quite like it though). Hopefully it will just be abbreviated to GB Railways most of the time.

I haven’t seen the report yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Union Jacks plastered on every page.
 

the sniper

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It's had a predictable effect in Scotland - the nationalists are spitting rivets.

That would have been a no-brainer, but the cringeworthy, petty nationalism of the Tories (admittedly, very much the thing in various other regional Parties too) has dictated otherwise.

Crossrail was another victim.
 

AlterEgo

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I’ve always found sticking the word ‘Great’ in front of ‘Britain’ rather egotistical as a nation, although this country is quite egotistical in my opinion!
Great Britain is called such to distinguish it from Brittany (“Lesser Britain”) and has nothing to do with how good the country is or otherwise.
I haven’t seen the report yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were Union Jacks plastered on every page.
The Tories keep doing stuff like this because it winds the left up. The modern left is incapable of picking its battles and it all plays out online. To most moderate people the left look unreasonable and frankly embarrassed about where they live. That’s why the Tories keep winning.
 

alex397

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Great Britain is called such to distinguish it from Brittany (“Lesser Britain”) and has nothing to do with how good the country is or otherwise.

The Tories keep doing stuff like this because it winds the left up. The modern left is incapable of picking its battles and it all plays out online. To most moderate people the left look unreasonable and frankly embarrassed about where they live. That’s why the Tories keep winning.
I know that’s where the ‘Great’ comes from but try telling nationalists that.

Tories shouldn’t be doing things just to ‘wind people up’ like a child. Anyway, they are not doing it just to annoy the left, they seem to have urged further right to appeal to the Brexit supporters and former UKIP voters, and they have succeeded in doing so, as can be seen by recent election successes.
Im certainly not sure you can describe all the left like that, maybe the far left. I would suggest most left wing people are patriotic but in a much different way to the right. This is why we want to hold the government to account and protest against decisions they are making, as we want to protect the things that we think are great about the UK. But, protesting against government is now being portrayed as unpatriotic.
 

yorksrob

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My concern isn't that the nationalists are worried about the word "Great". It's that they're worried about the word "British".
 

HSTEd

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Ultimately the only impact on Scotland will be that GB Railway branding will appear at Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central, and all cross border services will be GB Railway branded

Hopefully the infrastructure is not devolved, given that I have no faith in the Scottish Government's good faith towards the operation of the railway system in the border area.

But all this is clearly laid out in the white paper, and I find attempts to claim it amounts to "an assault on devolution" rather childish really.
 

Journeyman

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Well. Serves them right for eating them.

That said I reckon Nicola would spit rivets whatever the English said so why worry about it?
Because some of us in Scotland support the union, and despair at the Tories constantly handing the SNP ammunition.
 
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Cowley

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OK. From this point can we not disappear down a Scottish independence rabbit hole again please..?
Thanks! :)
 

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