The Department of Transport decided it would be a really good idea to ask a particular demographic (those 60+ or disabled) whether it would like something for nothing, and strike me down with the proverbial, those questioned - by a thumping majority - reckoned that something for nothing was good news for them. Rosie Winterton - of whom more later - has the shock findings
"New research published today reveals that more than 90% of those entitled to the free England-wide bus pass are eagerly awaiting its introduction on April 1st 2008
Naturally, the source material
had to be investigated, that I might discover to what extent the recipients of taxpayer largesse were slavering, Pavlov's dog-style. Well, 'eagerly awaiting'
? Not as such, no. The call and response our tudor rose (well, she's a socialist and sits for a Yorkshire seat
) is referring to, presumably, is this - 'How far do you agree with the following statement? I think that extending the free local off-peak bus pass to cover the whole of England from 1st April 2008 is a good thing
'. 91% strongly agreed, but regarding something as being a good thing and 'eagerly awaiting
' it are hardly one and the same. The burghers of Nottingham and Liverpool were the most likely to disagree, at 6.8% and 5.9% respectively. Answers on a postcard please....
Armed with a new England-wide bus pass, our survey respondents are likely to try a bit of retail therapy, with visits to relatives and train stations also popular. Perhaps Ian Allan
can expect a rush on his train spotting guides
, judging from the latter. However, the alarming bit for Rosie is that 1.3% will use the bus for facilitating romantic assignations. Let it be noted that the member for Hull East
is thoroughly entitled, by virtue of his age to a bus pass.
There is plenty more filler in the survey, but two questions just cry out for mockery: "Is there a place or attraction on your local bus route that you would be proud for visitors to visit?
" 58% of Mancunians could come up with no candidates, with Scousers showing only marginally less civic pride - 55% would be ashamed, presumably. Elsewhere, Brummies, Tykes and whatever people from Plymouth call themselves are overcome with civic loyalty - 60%+ have something on the bus route that makes the heart beat a little faster.
That was fairly toe-curling, but someone at tickbox.net actually penned this - "Being on a bus is not just about getting from A to B. Some people have incredible life experiences whilst travelling on a bus. Have you ever had the following happen to you on a bus?
An 'incredible life experience'. Hmm. It has a list of possibilities, none of which are particularly realistic - being sworn at by a schoolchild, having to put up with nosebleed techno coming from some vile adolescent's mobile phone etc etc. 1.2% claim to have 'fallen in love', and a still less credible 0.4% to have saved someone's life. 90% have not had a life experience, still less an incredible one though. Folk in Brum and Sheffield are the most likely to claim to have fallen in love on a bus.
I wonder if any stops were missed.