“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”
Walt Whitman, “Song of the Open Road” (1871)
Cork is cut off.
The train to Dublin cannot leave. The schoolchildren who went for the train have been stranded, their day out robbed from them. The commuters to Mallow have had to abandon their journey to work. Those going on their holiday to Limerick Junction are in tears.
This is a bitter blow, below the belt.
Before you think I am simply being the poor mouth for Cork, Tralee is similarly cut off. Houston Station in Dublin is closed to all rail traffic too.
According to RTE radio news at 0700 and 0800, there are two train drivers in Cork who refused to drive a new model train this morning. Their brothers and sisters in the rail confraternity rode to their side in sympathy and the network is closed down.
This is not the first time:
Following the fog that closed Cork Airport on Friday, which cut the wiffe off from her corporate responsibilities, I am now feeling vulnerable. There is no boat service to Dublin from Cork. The roads are jammed and dangerous, and my walking boots are in the loft in Bath. Grace and I are stuck in Douglas.
“Wildcat strikes”, “secondary picketing”, “trade union solidarity” - phrases burned into my memory from UK industrial relations history. Thatcher arises, like Erda(goddess in Wagner’s Ring), from underneath, delivering apocryphical sermons. I am transported back to the era of industrial strife when a day wasn’t a proper day if working days were not lost in “unofficial” disputes. I am reminded of how bad British managers were in the face of trade union beligerance. How inept British managers were at dealing with trade union representatives. How poor British managers were at communicating with their workforce.
It was significant that the Blair government never repealed any of the Thatcher legislation on strikes. The framework introduced by Thatcher, which so radically changed the boundaries for industrial conflict, has remained in place. Proving the need for firm boundaries within which industrial relations can flourish…?
Poor bastards who depend on the trains to get to work, to get to school, to get away form school, to get out for a day’s retail therapy in the Big Smoke…
It’ll get sorted out, eventually. But I wish there was a boat service you could rely on.