I shall begin by saying something personal about the Secretary of State for Transport. I hope that he will remember the time—it was some years ago—when we worked together in the project Re-unite, the purpose of which was to give more support to parents—usually mothers—whose children had been abducted. It was a worthy and important cause. I hope that the period during which we work together on transport matters will be as productive as our earlier work.
I have made a comment about the Secretary of State behind his back that perhaps I should make in front of him. I know him to be intelligent and socially concerned, and that being so, I have a basic respect for him. As we begin our new transport relationship, I find it impossible to believe that the right hon. Gentleman judges the current rail privatisation proposals to be in the national interest. I am sure that we shall return to that issue. The more I see of the proposals, the more people I meet who are involved with them and the more of the detail that I come to examine, the more I become aware that they are massively destructive to our transport systems.
I cannot believe that a man of the quality of the Secretary of State could possibly support the proposals. It seems—