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Jeremy Clarkson: Corbyn vs Branson.. and why car trumps train

Should we turn rail network into motorways?

By Jeremy Clarkson Published

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OH dear. Jeremy Corbyn seems to have made a bit of a mess of things this week.

He was filmed, sitting on the floor of a Virgin train, saying that it was ram-packed and that he’d been unable to find a seat.

But then the nation’s other great beardy, Richard Branson, released CCTV footage which showed ­Napoleon Corbyn walking past many empty, unreserved seats, right, and then, after doing his piece to camera on the floor, using one of them for the rest of the journey.

it is certainly true to say that these days, trains are far too overcrowded

It’s all been billed as a con. But since I think it’s very important for the country that Jeremy Corbyn remains in his post as Labour leader, I shall leap to his defence.

Many times, when I am filming stuff for our new show, the cameras aren’t turning when something funny or important happens.

So we stop, turn them on and re-enact the scene.

This means that what you’re watching isn’t real. But it is true.

And that’s what Corbyn was up to.

On that particular train at that particular time there were seats. So when Corbyn sat on the floor, it was not real. But it is certainly true to say that these days, trains are far too overcrowded.

The big question, however, is what should be done about it.

Corbyn reckons the ­solution is more trains. He sees a workers’ collective, funded by the taxpayer and managed by the State. Something along the lines of British Rail.

But I remember British Rail well and it didn’t work at all.

It was so dirty you have cholera by the time you’d reached Grantham

Mostly the train never turned up, and when it did it was so dirty you have cholera by the time you’d reached Grantham.

So then the nation tried a ­privatised service which, in theory, means passengers have a choice.

But that’s rubbish. If you want to get to Bristol for an evening meeting, you have to use whichever train gets you there at the right time.

You don’t say: “Oh, but the 8am service to York has prettier curtains so I’ll use that instead.”

And now they are talking about this absurd HS2 business which will shave about four seconds off the journey time from London to ­Liverpool at a cost of four thousand and eleventy trillion quid.

I’d like to invite Mr Corbyn to come for a drive with me

It’s stupid. Trains were brilliant when Queen Victoria was on the throne and the only alternative was a horse that threw you off every time it saw a hedge or a tree or a puddle or a hat or an apple or a bit of fog or some rain or any of the other million things that cause Mr Ed to have a panic attack.

Today though, we have the “motor car” which sets off when you want, is clean, safe and actually fairly inexpensive to run.

Also, when you use a car you are not forced to sit next to a stranger who may or may not be a murderer.

So how’s this for an idea? We ­simply close down the rail network completely and turn the entire thing into a network of motorways.

I’d like to invite Mr Corbyn to come for a drive with me so that he can see the advantages.

The only problem is that this week the car I’m using is a two-seat Fiat 124 Spider.

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So if he wants to travel with an aide, or his wife, they may have to make the journey in the boot.

Maybe he could make a film about it. I’d like to see that.

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