Misery for Herald readers as they imagine ‘misery for passengers’ on ScotRail, the 4th best out of 26 UK rail companies in terms of overall satisfaction, with a score of 96%


In the Herald today, we read one of the worst examples of bias by exaggeration and omission in an attempt to damage the SNP government by association with the national rail company, ScotRail. Here’s what they had to say:

‘Misery for passengers sees Scotrail fined a record amount. Rail passengers’ misery has been laid bare after ScotRail has received record fines for failing to meet required standards for the running of the nation’s trains and stations.’

Note: I had to add the apostrophe after ‘passengers’.


Now, I’m sure there is an inverse correlation between fines and customer satisfaction – the higher the fines the lower the satisfaction but you need to know a whole lot more before you start suggesting the passengers are all miserable. You’d need to ask them and that’s what the National Rail Passenger Survey for Autumn 2017, published in January 2018, did.

They found that 96% of ScotRail passengers were satisfied overall with their journeys. This placed ScotRail 4th (equal) out of 26 UK rail companies. They didn’t ask if anyone had been made miserable by them.


Now for the fines which the Herald thought meant passengers must be miserable. It’s £3 million so far in this financial year. The financial year is nearly over. Is that a lot?

Well, Southern Rail were fined £13.4 million in 2016/17 for just the London to Brighton run.


And, in 2015/16, Scotrail provided 93.2 million passenger journeys over 2.8 billion passenger-kilometres.


So, ScotRail were fined an average of 3p per passenger-journey or 0.1p per passenger-kilometre. That making anyone miserable?


13 thoughts on “Misery for Herald readers as they imagine ‘misery for passengers’ on ScotRail, the 4th best out of 26 UK rail companies in terms of overall satisfaction, with a score of 96%

  1. Nigel Mace February 19, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    Spot on, John. The BBC has become so tawdry and disreputable even Lord Adonis has noticed!

    Liked by 4 people

      • hettyforindy February 20, 2018 / 2:30 am

        He asked bbc why thy have Farage on their programmes so much, and basically challenged them, also something about huge pay for some at bbc…was on twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bedelsten February 19, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    There probably was a time when journalists employed by the Herald could string words together to form a coherent sentence. That time seems to have passed.

    ‘RAIL passengers misery has been laid bare’. Apart from the rather basic grammatical error of missing out the apostrophe after ‘passengers’ (Microsoft Word flags it up as an error), what is this supposed to mean? It doesn’t make sense. I read it that the passengers are miserable because Scotrail is being fined for not meeting some targets though that is probably not the intention. Further down the article there are quotations from a former interim leader of the Scottish Labour Party and from the transport union TSSA Scotland, after which all becomes clear. This a copy and paste of a press release from the Scottish Accounting Branch of the British Labour Party. No journalism was involved. Not even bothering to check the grammar.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Derick Tulloch February 19, 2018 / 7:54 pm

    I hae me suspicions about the ‘dangerous curved windscreen’ story, currently delaying the introduction of the new Hitachi Class 385s. Maybe Hitachi, despite designing multiple train types, somehow managed to get it wrong. Maybe.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ludo Thierry February 19, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    Here’s a wee idea for a small piece that the Herrod could throw together – I’m passing it on free and gratis: Noticed the quotes on beeb Jockland site from Col. Davidson when returning from a visit to Afghanistan funded by an outfit called The Halo Trust: see below:

    Defending the UK’s foreign aid budget has been made harder by the Oxfam scandal, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has said.
    She gave the interview after returning from a trip to Afghanistan with Scottish charity, The Halo Trust, which is running a mine clearance operation in the country.

    That set my memory banks running and I recalled some story regarding Angelina Jolie resigning from that very charity. So I refreshed my memory. See below some edited snippets from both the Grauniad and US journal Non-Profit Quarterly:

    Angelina Jolie Leaves Halo Trust over Board Members Paid for “Work”
    By Rick Cohen, National Correspondent September 3, 2015

    Congratulations to Angelina Jolie for demonstrating an awareness of trustee propriety that unfortunately seems to escape too many others. Jolie quit the board of the Halo Trust, a charity that clears land mines from war zones, in protest of two other trustees being paid as much as £500 a day for a total of £122,750, to conduct a review of the charity’s governance, compensation, and structure. They also received payment for other costs on top of their £500/day remuneration. She also protested the practice of the charity to pay for the school fees of the children of selected staff.

    (extra info from Grauniad: Pullinger, a former hedge fund chief, and Conway, an author, were paid £26,000 and £96,750 to conduct a review into the charity’s structural, remuneration and governance arrangements, according to accounts recently published by the charity.
    Conway also had costs covered for accommodation close to the charity’s headquarters in Dumfries as a review of the charity’s internal structure was completed.)

    Back to Non-Profit Quarterly article: One wonders whether the £500 a day paid to Pullinger and Conway was far enough below market value to justify the arrangement; we doubt it. Jolie appears to have thought that if the charity wanted to call for a review of its operations, the trustees could have paid it from their own pockets. Even then, however, having just two trustees conduct their own review could mean that the board might have some difficulty in giving the report an unbiased review. Jolie’s action is a reminder to Pullinger, Conway, and all other charity board members that their first and foremost function in a charity is to oversee and govern its operations, not to confuse themselves for staff or vendors (vendors = commissioned professionals).

    The Halo Trust was a favored charity of the late Princess Diana and an occasional venue of charitable activity for her son, Prince Harry. For us, it is now a favorite for a different reason, a case study of a board which paid selected trustees handsomely for certain tasks, but where one trustee found the practice unseemly enough to warrant her dropping off the board. Our admiration for Angelina Jolie, already an activist in the humanitarian sphere, has just risen several notches more.—Rick Cohen

    Having refreshed my memory I thought I’d take a wee look at the 2 Trustees involved. Very interesting it was too: See below from the International Business Times , 02/07/2015:

    IBTimes UK caught up with Gonzalez Durantez (Mrs. Nick Clegg), a partner at law firm Dechert, and Amanda Pullinger, chief executive of industry association 100 Women in Hedge Funds, to talk about females in business.

    For Pullinger, the ascendancy of Margaret Thatcher to the highest post in the land was a pivotal moment.
    She says: “My formative years were in the 1970s and I have to say that Margaret Thatcher was one of my role models. I happen to agree with her politics but, agree or not, in 1979 she came to be PM and what that said to me, as a lower-middle-class girl, is if she can do it, so can I. There was a woman at the top of her field and that’s what inspired me.”

    (Oh – I also glimpsed in passing that Pullinger is affiliated with some outfit called Daughters of the British Empire in the U.S.A. – why don’t I find that surprising?)

    OK – so now let’s look at Simon Conway (‘author’): See below:

    Simon Conway is a former British Army officer and international aid worker. With The HALO Trust and later as director of Landmine Action he cleared landmines and unexploded bombs in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

    As Co-Chair of the Cluster Munition Coalition he successfully campaigned to achieve an international ban on cluster bombs.

    He is currently working as Director of Strategy for The HALO Trust.
    He lives in Edinburgh with his wife the journalist and broadcaster Sarah Smith. He has two daughters.

    Before you ask – yes – it is that same Sarah Smith.

    An interesting little tale demonstrating quite nicely the modus operandi of the interlocking elites that gorge themselves, ever more grandly, upon the UK body politic. For heaven’s sake Scotland, let’s get ourselves out of here – and up into the clean air of Indy.

    (PS: Even beeb Jockland had to mention that the Colonel’s pet charity has some Oxfam-type troubles of it’s own right now: The Halo Trust suspended a Burmese employee in January pending an investigation into an allegation of sexual assault. Curious that the Colonel had chosen to highlight the Oxfam example but not the Halo Trust case. Getting forgetful in her maturity, perchance? Somehow I doubt that.)

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Clydebuilt February 20, 2018 / 9:24 am

    . Call KayE’s Moan-in topic . . Rubbishing the Scottish Government’s budget. . . . two expert guests . . . Struan Stevenson and Andy MacIver . . . .

    Tories to the MAX. An example of Bias to come!


    • Alasdair Macdonald. February 20, 2018 / 2:08 pm

      And, The Herrod’s front page report on the Scottish budget opened with the sentence ‘More than 1 million Scots will pay more tax.’

      This is a continuation of the trope, where a big number on the Tory/unionist side, is decontextualised from being 30 %, since 70% of the population will pay less or the same tax. We had this in the Brexit vote, where the 38% minority was usually reported as “1.8 million Scots vote to LEAVE”.

      And, of course winning 13 seats out of 59 at Westminster means the Tories WON the election in Scotland according to Brian Taylor.

      I only heard the start of Call Kaye and the first two callers certainly were strongly in support of the SG position and took Mr Stevenson on.


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