Peter Cuthbertson: Should we begin training our reservists to drive tube trains?
Walking through London during this week's tube strike got me thinking. According to the Daily Telegraph last year, there are 3,500 London tube drivers. Of course, that's not 3,500 all driving trains at once. Only a fraction will be needed at any one time to keep the Underground running.
This fraction of 3,500 must be dwarfed by the number of Britons who are members of the Territorial Army. According to the Evening Standard last year, Her Majesty's Armed Forces includes 29,000 reservists.
I'm very far from a military expert, so tell me: is there any overriding reason preventing us from making driving a tube train part of the training for reservists? Just as Maggie stockpiled coal after 1981 and went on to triumph in the 1984/85 strike, could Dave begin to stockpile tube drivers, ready to be called up on strike days to face down today's Marxist union barons? If the RMT will not listen to reason, perhaps it is time for the government to threaten to wield a weapon that would intensely weaken its strike threat. Or am I missing something important?