Another groups wants a slice of Brussels

AS if Martin Bell's intervention in June's European elections wasn't enough, there are now plans to field candidates who will appeal directly to today's on-line generation.

AS if Martin Bell's intervention in June's European elections wasn't enough, there are now plans to field candidates who will appeal directly to today's on-line generation.

Your Party is seeking volunteers to stand in the East of England euro constituency that covers Essex, Suffolk and four other counties.

Launched two weeks ago, its founders say it is based on the principles of direct democracy and genuine public involvement. Membership is open to everyone via the website

Co-founder Dan Thompson says: "The party begins with a blank sheet and via the website. All members will be entitled to propose party policies, take part in on-line debates and vote on all party policies. Members will choose all candidates and Your Party representatives must vote in accordance to the members' final decision. The party plans to field candidates in local, national and European elections."

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He adds: "Your Party offers a fantastic opportunity to give people in the East of England genuine involvement and a real say. Our first goal is to field an East of England candidate for the European elections. Anyone can put themselves forward by joining Your Party at and registering their interest to stand by April 16."

By appealing to the e-generation, the new party is more likely to damage Labour and the Liberal Democrats than the Conservatives, whose traditional voters will need little incentive to turn out on June 10 now that the European Constitution is guaranteed to be top issue of the campaign.

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ULTRAMARINE liveried carriages daubed Great Eastern are emerging from the paintshops at Ilford and stand alongside the main lines ready to swing into service on Thursday when National Express takes over the East Anglia franchise.

The new operator will be judged on the reliability of InterCity services to and from London and East Anglia. For a journey timetabled to take between 58 minutes at its fastest and 70 minutes for most other times, that so many operate behind schedule is unbelievable. It may not always been the fault of outgoing franchisee Anglia, given the track capacity problems into and out of Liverpool Street and also that signalling and overhead power faults are far too prevalent, but the company can be blamed for operating ageing locomotive hauled trains which all too often conk out.

"Passengers delayed as engine breaks down" reported the EADT on March 17 when there was yet another catastrophic failure with a 38-year-old Class 86 Anglia locomotive at Diss, causing trains to be cancelled and others to operate more than 80 minutes late. It's a suitable epitaph.

Anglia Railways was shortlisted for the franchise under the guise of GB Railways, but missed out to National Express. According to Rail Express magazine, the reason was down to money rather than quality.

"The view in the industry is that the award has been made on the basis of the operator willing to pay the highest premium to the Strategic Rail Authority for the right to operate services.

"These are expected to make profits of at least £90million per annum, but this will reduce substantially after premium payments of some £50m are made every year."

So when you fist over your ludicrously high £51 at Ipswich for a peak period return fare to London, just remember you're helping contribute to an operating profit of £90 million a year.

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