Ever since Margaret Thatcher’s government sold off our national assets to its chums in the City we’ve been dependent on ‘regulators’ to ensure that vital services and utilities are managed responsibly and efficiently. And, let’s face it, they have failed us miserably – sometimes through ineptitude and sometimes because they haven’t been given sufficient powers to make a difference.

The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) is a case in point. For years they have allowed private rail operators to increase fares way above inflation, based on the need for more investment in infrastructure. Yet we get a bit of bad weather and still the infrastructure goes to pieces.

Furthermore, when people seek compensation for the disruption they find that each operating company has different terms and conditions. Surely part of the regulator’s job should be to standardise on such things.

Also, because of these ‘rip-off’ fares, we still have a situation where it’s often quicker and cheaper to drive from city to city than it is to take a train. The thinking seems to be that eventually we’ll reach gridlock and then people will be forced to pay these outrageous train fares.

So it’s time that regulators stopped sitting complacently on their own arses and started kicking the arses of the companies that need it.