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Copyright - how much can I legally copy?

I dropped off Dad at his place this evening and while he was making a coffee, I was reading "Private Eye". Wow - I wish I could write like that. And - goodness - they have it EXACTLY right in their "Signal Failures - Coping with congestion" article, which starts:

Growing road congestion is a potential banana skin for the Department of Transport and its new policy of slashing rail services in English regions. But officials have a cunning plan: ignore it

Yes. The slashing of our Melksham train timetable was confirmed last week and we're fighting - now a rear guard but not foregone cause via our Save The Train website. Fingers crossed; our case is a good one but it feels like knocking your head against brick walls with ... yes, officials ignoring questions even when forwarded by an MP, and with answers from them promised by the Under Secretary.

I wish I could quote the whole Private Eye article (penned by Dr B Ching) but it's his / their copyright; I'm allowed, as I understand it, to quote only short sections in critical review. So let me quote, and state my approval, for the following two short extracts:

Privatisation inflated the cost of providing local trains in northern England by 375 percent so that fares are higher and trains less frequent than they should be

and

Labour is doing its best to make rail uncompetitive with car ...

Our battle has moved on; our station has been franchised to the First Group, and the end game is to be played out looking with them at the commercial aspects of providing a more frequent service than requested by the Government. Perversely, the two trains a day will end up losing MORE money than the current five lose. An hourly train will stem the losses and would probably make a profit (all it needs is the same single coach shuttling up and down, Chippenham to Westbury). How can that be? Most people who use the busy train one way tend to use a quieter one the other, and users tell me that they WOULD use the service if it was more frequent and reliable.

Proof? The neighbouring town of Bradford on Avon is half the size of Melksham but the populations have similar transportation needs. Their station sells 10 times the number of tickets than Melksham, but they have an hourly service.

What a shame that due to copyright laws I can't reproduce the whole "Private Eye" article here ... but I can thank them for their excellent, spot-on writing, inspiration, and confirmation that I'm not out of step, nor out of my mind.
(written 2005-12-17, updated 2006-06-09)

 
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