“Travel by train and avoid the strain” was a famous advertising slogan that, even in the days of its currency, attracted much derision. Today, it is a notion wholly divorced from reality. The railways are committing suicide. The path trodden in the 1980s by Arthur Scargill and the NUM is today being followed by Mick Lynch and the RMT. Like the mining industry in its time, the rail industry has a fragile future which can only be made more precarious by industrial action repellent to the public.

Strikes as a means of protecting employees’ standard of living against inflation are a chicken-and-egg situation: generous pay settlements aggravate inflation and so the strikers come back for more, in a spiral of price rises that hit the economy and those with less industrial muscle. We live in a society that is both unused to high inflation rates and programmed to take a knee-jerk “caring” attitude towards anyone allegedly enduring hardship and that has generated some sympathy for strikers of all stripes; but is it justified in the case of the rail workers?