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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

UK Transport motoring on

I just noticed that UK Transport now has a hit counter, and I pushed the little cross, expecting just a number. But as most readers of this probably know far better than I, what you actually get is a whole new page of numbers. And the news is that the UKT cup is either almost completely empty, or else starting to get definitely, detectably damp at the bottom, depending on how you look at it. VISITS: Total: 869, Average Per Day: 29, Average Visit Length: 1.10, Last Hour: 5, Today: 24, This Week: 240.

You can see how a regular journalist, looking at numbers like those, would say, forget about that. I, and I hope Patrick, with our backgrounds in unofficial paper pamphlets stuffed into envelopes and the like, are more easily impressed. I definitely am. Compare Total with This Week, or Average with Today (that was at 11.30 am today), and maybe you’d agree. Patrick seems to be excited, because (as Natalie Solent also noted) he was up at 6.43 am this morning. This is about when I go to bed.

There’s a mass of recent UKT stuff to look at, and Patrick does write beautifully, with a decent sprinkling of human being outbursts and idioms to enliven what from other keyboards would be uninterrupted number and date crunching. What I like about Patrick is: he’s honest. You always feel that he’s saying it like he’s seeing it. If he’s confused, he says so. If he deviates in his head from the libertarian orthodoxy (e.g. on Compulsory Purchase Orders being necessary to build railways) he deviates right there on UKT. Which means that when he does express a strong judgement that counts for something.

Nevertheless, of all the recent stuff on UKT, the thing that most impressed me was an email from Tim Hall, whoever he is. It’s full of insider knowledge about the sad fate of brand-new but never used railway carriages, or something, and what it means is that UKT looks like continuing its slow but steady rise to significance. Patrick doesn’t have to write the entire thing himself. He may not know as much about roads and planes and ships as he does about trains, but there are surely others out there ready to fill in, as soon as they hear of UKT’s existence. In a year or two, he could have himself an entire ideologically simpatico circus of regulars. Patrick is a one-step-at-a-time sort of person, and he’ll probably say something like: you’re very kind Brian, let’s hope you’re not too kind, wait and see, etc, etc. Which is all part of why I’m starting to get seriously optimistic about UK Transport.

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