ICYMI: Rail strike, Boris Johnson and Ukraine – the headlines of the week

ICYMI 06/10/2022

All aboard the express (Image: Metro)

Hello and welcome back to the 1970s on board this service.

Our conductor will shortly go through the train to check all tickets and train tickets.

If you don’t want to travel with us today, you’re welcome to get off through the window.

Customers are being warned that this service is behind schedule, headed in the wrong direction and of course some platforms will be on fire.

We will hit political turmoil, stagnant economy and spiraling inflation (twice) before this sea service ends.

Customers are kindly reminded that we will be on strike later this month so please do not hesitate to cancel any travel plans that you may have done foolishly.

Please grab a copy of’s weekend news to take your mind off things during what is always a bumpy ride.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on a train at Paddington Station in London to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project. Picture date: Tuesday May 17, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Elizabeth. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire

Your driver for this service (Image: PA)

rail strikes

Britain’s boldest union has confirmed its members will exit on June 21, 23 and 25 in an action that will bring trains across the country to a standstill.

This goes beyond the usual industrial action and is part of a broader struggle over who sets the conditions for railroad workers.

Why now? Well, because while you weren’t looking, the Tories have started doing what looks suspiciously like renationalizing the railways.

From next year a new organization called Great British Railways will replace Network Rail and look after the infrastructure, setting timetables and monitoring fares, with private companies being hired to run the trains but losing many of the powers they used to have.

The change means wage agreements previously made between unions and the private franchises will be subject to limits set by the Treasury.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union on a picket line outside Oxford Street underground station in London during a strike by members of the RMT. Picture date: Tuesday March 1, 2022. PA Photo. Travelers in London are being warned of severe disruption to Tube service this week as thousands of workers strike over jobs, pensions and working conditions. See PA Story INDUSTRY Tube. Photo credit should read: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

The most dreaded sight for every commuter in the country (Image: PA)

Ministers also want to see big savings after pumping billions in during the pandemic, as well as wage deals that stick to the 2% wage cap in the public sector.

That’s not possible for the union. She says her members will not accept any hike that doesn’t keep up with inflation, which is expected to hit double digits by the end of the year.

But it’s not just about money, and if it were, a compromise would probably have been found by now.

This is about who is in charge of pay and conditions in this new era for Britain’s rail network, and for now, neither side is moving.

TL;DR: Are you traveling at the end of June? You get the Megabus.

Boris stay tuned

Boris Johnson continues to refute the maxim that what goes up must come down.

Political gravity seems to have little bearing on the blonde hot air balloon, the runaway zeppelin of British politics, a man with little direction but a Dumbo-like desire to fly.

On Monday, more than a third of his own MPs lined up with sharpened needles to burst it.

After months of ranting about it to their favorite lobbying journalists, backbenchers – from the genuinely horrified “can’t” camps to the underemployed and disgruntled “serves you right” sorts – actually came to force a vote of confidence.

The Tory party’s ruthlessness once again proved to be the most overvalued commodity on the British political market, and for the second time in less than four years they have inflated it.

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His loyal cabinet – at least as loyal as one is to the balloon when trapped in the basket – did their best to patch it up and inflate it again.

You shouldn’t have bothered about it. Mr. Johnson can produce enough of his own hot air by operating as a self-propelled airship, emitting plumes of steam from one end and taking them in through the other (readers are encouraged not to imagine how this could work).

And so he hopped on a train to Blackpool and announced that the government would mortgage people on welfare and let the housing association buy their house – an idea David Cameron looked at closely years ago and decided to give it a go better leave it alone.

TL;DR: The Boris airship flies up.

“Death sentences” for Britons

Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin are British soldiers who have been serving in the Ukrainian Army since at least 2018.

They both moved separately to the country and eventually settled there, found love and hooked up through normal channels.

After weeks on the front lines in Mariupol, they were captured and taken to a prison in occupied Donetsk, a part of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Moscow militants since 2014.

The Kremlin’s version is that they were charged in the Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic for being mercenaries and terrorists.

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Of course that’s rubbish. They were paraded in front of state television cameras in front of an insurgent disguised as a judge, subjected to a mock show trial and stripped of their martial rights granted under the Geneva Convention.

The accusation of “mercenaries” is made all the more ridiculous by the Kremlin’s track record of using weapons for hire in places as far-flung as Syria, Libya, Mali – and, of course, Ukraine.

Along with Saaudun Brahim, a Moroccan, they were sentenced to death by firing squad, most likely under duress, this week after a “confession”.

The Sun has revealed they were repeatedly made to ring their London offices and read written demands drafted by Putin’s henchmen, terms the newspaper failed to release after contacting the Foreign Office.


The couple appeared in court with their heads shaved to hear the ‘verdict’ of their ‘trial’ (Image: East2West/AFP)

It is unclear if the sentence will be carried out, if it is just propaganda or if it is a negotiating tool for a prisoner exchange.

When Mr Aslin was first captured, there were indications that plans were being made to use him to free Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Moscow MP and Putin’s favorite Ukrainian henchman, who was captured trying to get out of his house arrest to escape while awaiting trial for treason.

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner remain in a prison in Donetsk for the time being, with feverish work being done behind the scenes to secure their release.

TL;DR: Say it with us – soldiers, NOT mercenaries.


Veteran human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell took over the reins of on Tuesday to showcase some of our Pride work.

This month we share stories from around the world about the fight for equal LGBTQ+ rights.

There were, if we don’t mind saying it ourselves, some absolutely amazing stories that you might have missed. Here are some of them:

Also, we would like to remind you that we are raising funds for Kyiv Pride – full details below if you have a fiver to spare.

Help us raise £10,000 for Kyiv Pride and a UK LGBT+ charity

To celebrate 50 years of Pride, has teamed up with Kyiv Pride to raise money for their important work in Ukraine.

Despite the war raging around them, Kyiv Pride continues to help LGBTQ+ people, providing shelter, food and psychological support to those in need.

We will split the money with a grassroots charity near where we live.

Here you can donate

And finally…Binley Mega Chippy

Ever seen a rental bike float in a park lake? Have you ever seen an outdoor drinking place descend into an alcohol-soaked cesspool? Have you ever seen a piece of public art destroyed within an hour of being installed?

Of course you did – because as you know, the Brits just can’t be trusted with nice things.

Take the odd case of a Coventry chip shop called Binley Mega Chippy: one day a nondescript fry shop; the next, a TikTok sensation with its own theme tune; now a potential hazard to crowds under police surveillance.

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A large number of people have jumped into the deal after seeing people talking about it on social media, meaning police had to be called to prevent a riot from breaking out.

Josh Layton, the Metro man, donned his flak jacket and engaged in close combat, his report reciting scenes of “cruiser engines roaring in the parking lot and a faint whiff of cannabis” in the air.

It’s hard to tell whether to be heartened by this organic love affair with a provincial chip shop during troubled times, or depressed by the slavish online mindset that can transform a business overnight for no other reason than that it might need some love gets on the timeline.

You are the judge, but there is a moral to the story: if you love something, keep it a secret.

TL;DR: Shhh.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at

For more stories like this, Visit our news page. ICYMI: Rail strike, Boris Johnson and Ukraine - the headlines of the week

Justin Scacco

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