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For your earlier emails - including discussions on the Tory party's recent troubles - click here.

HAVE YOUR SAY Following Lord MacDonald's reported remarks about the crisis facing Britain's railways, we asked do you believe the main issue is public confidence?

Rail privatisation is a failure because it was done badly. Privatisation should have been achieved by floating British Rail regions, which had full responsibility for their trains, tracks, stations and signalling.

That would effectively have meant the resurrection of the old regional railway companies, which got badly beaten-up during the war and were then denied, for political reasons, the funds necessary for their proper repair.

From a Westcountry perspective, a revived GWR might also mean the chance of bringing back Brunel's seven-foot gauge with the possibility of wider, more stable, faster, higher capacity (double-decker)trains than is possible with Stephenson's mean-minded colliery gauge.

I believe that it is not too late to achieve something like that by splitting Railtrack into regions and amalgamating each with the largest train company operating there. (Train companies would not be able to operate in more than one region). Then the new track and train companies would buy-up the smaller train companies in their areas, thereby unifying all the time-tables under one cover.
Tony Maskell, England

Gus MacDonald rightly recognises that the railway is in a state of crisis but has another think coming if he believes transport will not be a prime issue at the next election! The government has continued the Tory policy of over-taxing motorists while underfunding public transport and environmental initiatives. We are not amused...
Richard Wilson, UK

A suggestion for Gus MacDonald, if this really is a crisis, let's see some proper crisis management.

For a start, take the pressure off long-distance routes, e.g. Scotland, Manchester to London, by subsidising air fares to the level of equivalent rail fare. Then concentrate upon shorter distance routes where there are no air services.
John Evans, Derbyshire, UK

We asked for your thoughts on the Queen's speech to Parliament on 6 December.

Having just listened to the beginning of the Queen's Speech, and to Denis Skinner's comments, if the Government is serious about tackling the yob culture, perhaps the first yob they should get rid of is Denis Skinner!
Mary Allen

I thought that the behaviour of Ms Widdecombe was disgusting. I suppose Tory Central Office had briefed her to interrupt, to be effective; but as I heard the output, she was being totally counterproductive. Mr Clarke as chairman allowed the behaviour to continue; I suppose he was just allowing her to hang herself. The Tories might do a bit better without her sort of help!
Tony Reynolds

I notice that the modernisation of our 19th century licensing laws has slipped from view, despite a government promise a full year ago. How much longer are we to be sent home from the pub like naughty children at 11?
Peter Gillings

Ann Widdecombe complains when Paul Boateng interrupts her once and promptly talks over him when it is his right of reply. Her rudeness meant I found it very difficult to hear what Paul Boetang had to say. The Conservatives are out of touch - perhaps because they talk but don't listen. Otherwise I enjoyed the programme.
Mike Gilderdale, UK

Sorry, but I have just switched off my radio, as I cannot bear to listen any more to Ann Widdecombe and Paul Boateng so rudely interrupting each other.

Unfortunately I can't now remember anything of the main points of the Queen's speech - lost in my frustration. Why for Heaven's sake do you have to invite two such argumentative people onto the programme? I know you need to be even-handed, but this was terrible.

Frankly, I'd prefer something biased but informative, with the option for me to comment, than this nonsense where no-one can hear anything and where the participants are so palpably stuck in a time warp.
Cathy Aitchison

Ann Widdecombe's continual heckling and interruptions of PB reminded me of the kind of things children say when arguing amongst themselves. "Will/won't, yes/no black/white, red/blue".

Surely as a supposedly intelligent person, she must realize how pathetic this makes her sound. I am happy to listen to all the arguments, preferably one after another and after the event, make a balanced judgement, which presumably is the point. Please sort this protocol out in future as this type of babble turns the listener off.
Steve Johnson, England

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