This isn’t called the silly season for nothing. After several months of breathless political change – Brexit, new government, Nigel Farage’s moustache – the summer’s biggest political story has, apparently, revolved around Jeremy Corbyn’s ability to sit on a floor. (Yes, I know it was about more than that.) Yet #traingate is the gift that keeps on giving, as long as you love a good conspiracy theory.
Last week, the Guardian reported that attendees at Labour’s conference in Liverpool are being offered 20% off their rail fares to and from the event. This is a fairly mundane deal which will have been worked out – to the extent that it was ‘negotiated’ at all – months ago by the highly efficient Labour conference team. You can compare it against the 50% deal routinely offered by National Express to bus travellers to all party conferences. There’s no ideological battle being waged in Beardy Branson’s marketing department.
Which didn’t stop comments below the line in the Guardian like this:
This alleged train discount deal with Labour, sounds to me like it has been done by the NEC to try to discredit Jeremy Corbyn
Clearly that wasn’t the case. But conspiracy theorists may none the less enjoy the news that Virgin are offering a deal to attendees of the Conservatives’ conference at the ICC in Birmingham. The deal is the standard offer to anyone going to an event at the ICC or certain other Birmingham venues. The deal is 25% off.
So the Virgin marketing department hasn’t been joined up. Happens everywhere. But the result is that Virgin offer Tories a better discount than Labour. Spin that, Beardy.