One man does not make a trend ....
... still, it is good to see an article in the Observer about "an increasing number of travellers turning their backs on low-cost flights" for environmental reasons.
I'll still be flying to Australia when necessary - the idea of a slow boat is not feasible by time or cost (although I know that it is possible - last time I looked the cost was roughly equivalent to first-class air, i.e. a lot), but otherwise I am trying not to fly - despite the temptation of all those 1p fares.
This article made me think of my godson and his brother in Australia. I took them to the Manly aquarium in Sydney last time I was out in Oz, by public transport, and we had a lot of fun on ferries, but waiting for the much-delayed bus that was the final step home was a little fraught.
The problem was - well one problem was - that they are simply unused to using public transport. They wanted me to call their mother to fetch them by car, because the idea of waiting for a bus was just outside their experience. (Although it would have taken her half an hour at least to reach us anyway.)
And there must be an enormous number of kids growing up that way; anything to teach them that having to wait for a bus or train etc is not the end of the world must be a good thing. Even simple rules such as "always carry a book" will not occur to people unless they've had cause to think about it.
But the Blair government will do its best to see they never learn. Whatever happened to the "green" Tony?
"Ministers are preparing ways of closing or "mothballing" large sections of the railway network, according to an official document which was slipped out without publicity last week.
Dozens of branch lines and secondary routes could shut, in what would be the biggest rethink of the network since the Beeching report in the 1960s, which led to the closure of 4,000 miles of railway and nearly half the nation's stations. Loss-making services would be transferred on to buses, as a means of reducing the £6bn-a-year subsidy.
An army of consultants will decide whether lines should stay open or close. A law passed last year has reduced the right of passengers to object to closures.
The 83-page consultation paper uses a new kind of cost-benefit analysis, which, experts say, will highlight the economically fragile state of the network. Such analysis often penalises trains because it fails to take into account that they are environmentally friendly. As one senior rail industry figure put it last night: "The trouble with consultants is they will do exactly what ministers want them to do."