ORR guilty of dodgy doublespeak

05 March 2015

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has condemned the ‘dodgy doublespeak’ of the Office of Rail Regulation.

Mick said: ‘The ORR is a statutory body; an independent regulatory authority looking after Britain’s rail network. Not a tool of the Conservative government. But today it announced that “franchised rail passenger journeys reached a record 429.8 million between October and December 2014.” Now that’s good news – or it would be if all those passengers could get a seat, which they can’t – and a tribute to all those o us who work in the rail industry.


‘But why “franchised rail passenger journeys”? Surely it’s a record number of passengers, of people travelling on Britain’s railway network? Because there aren’t any other kind of rail passenger journeys these days.


‘You could laugh and say it’s just poor use of the English language, which it is; but I think it is more insidious than that. Because the ORR, by flagging up “franchised rail passenger journeys”, is sneakily endorsing the failed franchise system. It’s dodgy doublespeak. Because it’s not the job of the ORR to sound like a party political broadcast for the Conservatives.’

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