53 comments on “Did anyone ever actually take an Intourist holiday?

  1. They find ways to be “popular”: 18 years ago the Annapurna Circuit was full of stories of local lodges being driven out of business by a series of state owned competitors offering a nights accommodation for 20 pence. Of course, once the private competition was gone, things were different.

  2. Intourist was fine, the better to get their hands on the lovely hard currency. Aeroflot stewardesses, on the other hand, were graduates of the Rosa Klebb charm school.

  3. Intourist didn’t worry about skin cancer, alcohol, tobacco, stds or obesity. A holiday organised by the current benevolent nanny state would exclude proximity to beach, bars and restaurants.

  4. Intourist was fine, the better to get their hands on the lovely hard currency. Aeroflot stewardesses, on the other hand, were graduates of the Rosa Klebb charm school.

    The irony is Aeroflot now employs quite foxy young chicks whereas the European and American major airlines all employ the Rosa Klebbs.

  5. The Travel Agency question was a statistical marker, pollsters will often ask these to determine exactly what level of the respondents are absolutely redbatshit insane..

  6. But Ellie, are you very, very important in the Party?

    The first thing to check when these sorts of grand socialist pronouncements are made is “what would this look like if you assumed that you _weren’t_ a member of the nomenklatura?”

  7. I used to think this sort of blind faith in the State was rather touching. Now I think it’s downright dangerous and the only solution is an Ecksian purge.

  8. The thing is, I’ve seen a few examples of councils directly competing with the private sector and they were actually either no cheaper, or more expensive. Swindon has 2 bus companies. One is Stagecoach, the other Thamesdown. Thamesdown is the former municipal bus co turned into a private non-profit. It’s no cheaper than Stagecoach, and recently got sold off because it was losing money. Same with when you could go to the council for printing.

    Most people have no idea about how little profit there is in most businesses and what causes that.

  9. …state-run travel agents would be amazing. Someone sorting your holiday for you and making no profit out of it. What’s not to like

    So the idiotic Ellie Mae has no understanding of incentives or human nature, and a visceral hatred of profit. Bizarre.

  10. Aren’t Expedia and booking.com travel agents?

    I get the impression oldsters still use high street travel agents to book their endless cruises.

  11. I wonder if Ms O’Hagan works for nothing more than the barest essentials, just for the love of providing a ‘service’.

  12. So not only is she greedy enough to want something for nothing, she actually believes she can get it.

    She wants everything provided for her, and for the providers to not benefit from doing so. We used to call them ‘servants’ or ‘slaves’.

  13. We still sometimes use Flight Centre to actually book. We do all the searching on line. When we’ve found our best deal, we look at the credit card policy of the agent, if there is a CC fee, we get Flight Centre to price match as they don’t charge CC fees for price matching.

  14. She is an evil and an ugly woman in every sense.

    She use the “Miss EllieMae” handle above which suggests that she is aware of the “Beverly Hillbillies” connection.

    She is no Donna Douglas that is for sure.

    Perhaps she remembers all the sub-plot whereby EllieMae was such a scrapper that all her potential suitors and her large brother Jethro were terrified of her. That sounds more like it–feminist fantasy violence bullshit– than any admiration for Miss Douglas’s good looks.

    Jethro was in real life Max Baer JR (son of the famed boxer) and could have lobotimised Miss Douglas with one punch. Not that he would have of course.

  15. Hallowed Be says:

    The Travel Agency question was a statistical marker, pollsters will often ask these to determine exactly what level of the respondents are absolutely redbatshit insane..

    +1, although just 23% totally fucking batshit barking seems a little light to me, from that particular sample? Isn’t food at 35% starting to get warmer?

  16. One example Ellie might like to consider.

    A young couple had booked the House of Commons Terrace for their wedding reception several months in advance. One the day of the reception a certain Keith Vaz had decided he and a few friends would like to have a late lunch on the Terrace.

    The Steward of the Terrace said to Mr Vaz, “I’m sorry sir, the Terrace is booked and you and your friends will have to stay inside.” at which point Mr Vaz said, “That’s quite alright, it was only on a whim and my assistant had failed to check availability.”

    Sadly, only the first part of the above paragraph is true. Mr Vaz in fact trotted out the Do You Know who I Am line and the unfortunate couple and their guests were forced inside and a (small) monetary adjustment was made. By you and me, not Mr Vaz.

    And that Ellie, is how The Big State works.

  17. And finally, Ellie, that Labour slogan “For the Many not the Few”? They’re not talking about the good things in life, they’re talking about SHIT.

  18. @PF

    Food is an essential that people need to survive, like health care nobody should die because they can’t afford it and nobody should be allowed to exploit our need to eat by making a profit from it. Supermarkets, corner shops and bakeries should be nationalised and become National Food Service outlets at which nutrition should be freely available. It is also wrong that multinational corporations have ruined our diets so that people eat less healthily now than under rationing. It puts undue strain on the NHS. Fortunately the NFS will remedy this by only serving decent, healthful, environmentally and ethically compliant nutrition. To stop black-marketers profiteering, or people at risk of obesity and related ill health from overeating, your NFS card will entitle you only to the calories you and your family need, and save you from the temptations of stockpiling or overconsumption. Obviously now there is no need to pay, not so many checkout assistants will be needed, but it is very important that the NFS will play its part in the fight against poverty by creating, rather than cutting, quality jobs. That’s why checkout staff will be retrained as “aisle guardians”, following service clients around the store and providing suggestions and guidance on their appropriate healthy eating strategies, based on the clients’ age, health concerns, cultural background and visible level of obesity.

    The danger of leaving this all to the private sector is illustrated starkly by the situation in Venezuela, where corporate-owned shops refused to carry stock if it became unprofitable to purchase, resulting in shortages and long queues for essential supplies. A new model in which profitability is entirely removed from the equation is required to ensure that food is available freely to all.

  19. In a similar vein, more rancid idiocy here:

    Ryanair has nurtured the dream of flying to obscure cities for a tenner, because we can. Amazon Prime has made users demand impulse purchases be driven to their door the next day, ruining the ability of logistics firms to handle their whole inventory more efficiently, and with less environmental damage. And Uber has encouraged a swath of city dwellers to take taxis when before they might have used public transport, with thousands of extra private hire vehicles adding to congestion that slows everyone’s journeys. Yet the true price of a taxi is one that ever fewer people are willing to pay: 800,000 have signed a petition demanding that Transport for London reinstate Uber, even though the regulator has stated that the firm was not a “fit and proper” operator, and risked passengers’ wellbeing.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/30/ryanair-low-cost-revolution-airline-cancellation-crisis

  20. I don’t think anyone ever accounts for people who do surveys and vox pops. It’s generally people with time on their hands. Blokes who are balls deep in supermodel pussy aren’t going to be on yougov

  21. Mr Vaz in fact trotted out the Do You Know who I Am line and the unfortunate couple and their guests were forced inside and a (small) monetary adjustment was made. By you and me, not Mr Vaz.

    What an utter cunt. But we knew that already, didn’t we?

  22. Went Intourist to Moscow Kiev and Leningrad in the mid 80s. Probably most memorable holiday I have had including the KGB propagandists who tried to enlist us as spies (really).

    Hotels were great, food was shite and the tour guide in Kiev was one of the most gorgeous women I have ever seen

  23. @Wonko

    Aside from the possibility of profit being inherently evil, I think the lass’s objection is that a profit margin on a service basically means she is being overcharged on it. Get rid of the profit and she could holiday more cheaply. But then, as Bloke on M4 says, perhaps she should try running such a service herself and see how easy it is.

    I also wonder if she realises that firms actually need capital – even if not something big and obvious like a bus or a printing press, there’s stuff more behind the scenes like working capital. And she may not be aware of the distinction between economic profit and accounting profit either – in many cases a firm can appear profitable, but in fact is not turning an economic profit because it is unable to repay its shareholders a (risk-adjusted) rate of return that justifies them having stumped up the equity in the first place – it would have been better for them to have invested in something else altogether. If firms were entirely debt-funded, and so its costs of capital came out from before rather than after the profit calculation, it might be clearer just how “profitable” these firms really are. (Though obviously the tax advantages of debt and the reduced corporation tax would make said firms evil for doing so…)

  24. A relative of mine went on an Intourist Russian holiday in about 1983 if I remember rightly.

    He was terrified on the planes which seemed to have a case of “Mystery Vibrations syndrome”.

    The “Mystery” theme was continued into the inflight meal which was mystery-meat in axel-grease. The in-flight drinks kept things simple by having a choice of one–carbonated water. Served in earthenware beakers that resembled small flowerpots without the hole in the bottom.

    There were some good bars in Russia. Just aswell cos the room-heating was poor. But then they couldn’t even adequately heat the Hermitage in St Petersburg. My relative noted how cold and damp/dank the place was and wondered how mould would be effecting the many paintings there housed.

    The final verdict: An “experience” holiday.

  25. Theophrastus,

    But, despite getting a load of Amazon packages, I’m pretty sure that there’s less total environmental damage. Getting one bloke to drive around hundreds of houses delivering DVDs is far more efficient than even a dozen people driving to town.

    The big noise I got from Twitter is that the people who objected most to the Uber ban is women. They don’t feel safe on public transport late at night. And they feel safe on Uber. So, the Guardian hates women having freedom now.

    And anyone who objects to Ryanair just on price can die in a fucking fire as far as I’m concerned. Again, the motherfuckers who write for the Guardian love to talk up how travel broadens the mind, but when the proles get to do it, it’s now bad.

  26. the motherfuckers who write for the Guardian love to talk up how travel broadens the mind, but when the proles get to do it, it’s now bad.

    It’s always been that way tho, or at least since the 70’s. We sample the culture and cuisine of Tuscany and Provence. You eat egg and chips and get into embarrassing towel-based struggles with Germans in Benidorm.

    For English socialists hate nothing more than the English working class. They’ve always hated the working class. And, to a large degree, leftist enthusiasm for schemes like comprehensive education, abortion, environmentalism, town planning, and mass immigration of feral foreigners is motivated by that existential hatred of the working class.

    I thought Owen Jones, that curd-faced little scold, rather gave the game away by calling his book – ostensibly about the demonisation of the working class – Chavs. Nobody hates chavs more than working class people, the folks who actually have to deal with chavs.

    To this you have got to add the ugly fact that most middle-class Socialists, while theoretically pining for a class-less society, cling like glue to their miserable fragments of social prestige. I remember my sensations of horror on first attending an I.L.P. branch meeting in London. (It might have been rather different in the North, where the bourgeoisie are less thickly scattered.) Are these mingy little beasts, I thought, the champions of the working class? For every person there, male and female, bore the worst stigmata of sniffish middle-class superiority.

  27. @Steve

    Indeed, the biggest single indication of the way progressives felt about the “lower orders” was probably social cleansing/eugenics…

  28. Nationalising travel agents isn’t a statistical marker, just how far you want to turn back the clock. Thomas Cook was nationalised in 1939 as German owned and was Heath’s only denationalisation, along with the pubs in Carlisle. Perhaps someone should ask her if she wants those renationalised.

  29. “Heath’s only denationalisation, along with the pubs in Carlisle. ”

    I think I’ve mentioned it before, when my father had a pub in the late ‘60s and ‘70s he often said he wished Labour would nationalise the pubs. When asked why he said he would sell the worst pint of beer in the town. The point was mostly lost on the dimwits who supported Labour.

  30. In 1980 my parents visited Russia – Moscow & Leningrad.

    We were all concerned that one was only issued an entrance visa before travel; exit visa was provided during time in Russia.

    One day dad took some photos of an unfolding event.

    When they returned to bedroom after dinner, camera back was open and film stretched across bed – a very clear warning.

  31. Jason Lynch,

    Yep, and dad knew that…

    … he’d already swapped film in camera with new one and wound it on to ~1/2 way.

    He didn’t tell mum this.

  32. On topic.

    The majority % that appear to want nationalisation of so many business sectors is very worrying.

  33. @Pcar, I think we’ve got to the point where people old enough to remember are getting old, and many others are absolutely unaware as to how awful nationalised industries were. Plus the relentless banging on against the profit motive and the belief it makes things more expensive rather than more efficient and cheaper.

    I bet Generation iPhone can’t imagine BT monthly fees of –
    what was it? – something like £20 a month (£80 now corrected for inflation) and then 10p a minute local (40p now) and whatever it was out of your dialling code back in 1980

  34. “The majority % that appear to want nationalisation of so many business sectors is very worrying.”

    Apart from media horseshit what is your evidence that the above is so?

  35. I can remember walking to the phone box on Christmas Day to phone the Grandparents.

    I can also remember the fuss I had with the phone line when I bought my first flat. Somewhat leavened, a week or so later, when I whined about it to my Chief in one of the RNR Divisions I administered, not realising that he was the head tech for BT Edinburgh.

    I refused his kind offer of putting me on a “special list”. He ignored me and it was sorted within a couple of days.

  36. Obviiusly not Intourist, but I did go to Russia abut 15 years ago. The guide was everything I could have hoped she would be, but it ended badly, most prob ably due to my chat-up line:

    Her: “various really pleasant things” (really)
    Me: “you do know I’m single don’t you? You can’t really blackmail me; people will only be very impressed when you show them the pictures.”

    I cannot imagine she genuinely fancied me. If she did… no, I didn’t did I?

  37. @abacab, October 1, 2017 at 5:28 am

    …Plus the relentless banging on against the profit motive and the belief it makes things more expensive rather than more efficient and cheaper…

    Yep. Best thing Mrs T did to privatised BT etc was driving efficiency by setting annual price increases at RPI-X%

    The Blair/Brown “Labour working for the poor” Cnuts removed that obligation.

  38. @Mr Ecks, October 1, 2017 at 9:06 am

    “The majority % that appear to want nationalisation of so many business sectors is very worrying.”

    Apart from media horseshit what is your evidence that the above is so?

    The survey results TimW linked to for starters and the number wanting CEGB, BR, GPO etc back on QT, arrse, bishop-hill, theregister…

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