Why do so many liberal parents hate Thomas the Tank Engine?

He’s a British icon, beloved by generations of toddlers. Thomas the Tank Engine has gone from a character invented by one father for his two-year-old son, to an international brand worth $1 billion in sales per year.

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the publication of the first ‘Railway Series’ book by the Anglican vicar Rev Wilbert Awdry. But while children, especially boys, love Thomas and all the other engines who inhabit Awdry’s fictional world, some parents take exception to the apparently harmless books and TV series.

Reviews of the programme on the Common Sense Media website, a non-profit group that focuses on the effects of media and technology on children, lambast the series for being “nasty”, “negative” and a “bad example” to youngsters.