Posts Tagged ‘Railways’

Brief Left Labour Summary of Labour Conference and Notice of Zoom Meeting about It on Thursday

October 3, 2022

I got this email today assessing the good and bad points of the Labour conference. This Thursday, 6th October 2022, there’s also going to be an online meeting about it from the good people at Arise: the Festival of Left-Wing Ideas.

Next Steps – A message from Rachel Garnham

SPREAD THE WORD: Retweet me here // register here

Hello David

This week’s Tory conference takes place to a backdrop of growing resistance. Saturday saw strikes from the RMT, ASLEF, TSSA, CWU and Unite; Don’t pay and Just Stop Oil direct action; and dozens of Enough is Enough events.

There was strong support for action from significant numbers of delegates at Labour’s Conference – and popular policies supported on a raft of issues,from rail public ownership, to a £15 an hour minimum wage, to real action on equal pay – but the importance of backing this resistance was not sufficiently central to the Conference or promoted by platform speakers, who appeared woefully out of touch with this growing resistance. Meanwhile, attacks on Party democracy continue, although not without big opposition, with many CLP and union delegates joining me in fighting for Jeremy Corbyn to be allowed to stand as a Labour candidate in the next election.

There is then much to review, and a need to plot out our next steps as the left. Join me, NEC member Gemma Bolton and Richard Burgon MP online Thursday (details below) for the discussion, and be part of the fightback.

Yours in solidarity,
Rachel Garnham, former NEC member on behalf of Arise & the Labour Assembly.

PS: Please spread the word by retweeting my message here.

Coming up:

1) ONLINE EVENT: Labour conference reportback & next steps discussion

Online Thursday, October 6, 7pm. Register here // Share & Invite friends here // Retweet here to spread the word.

With: Richard Burgon MP, Rachel Garnham, CLPD vice-chair & chair Gemma Bolton (NEC.) Join us online to assess Labour’s conference & discuss together next steps for Labour and the left.

Hosted by Arise – A Festival of Left Ideas.

I am honestly not surprised to read that the platform speakers are out of step with grassroots resistance against the Tories. They’re Blairites, who have an absolute contempt for the party base and who believe in very authoritarian, top-down management.

Kwasi Kwarteng – Diversity Hire, or Just Another Member of Truss’ Government of Mediocrity?

October 2, 2022

It’s been a few days since I commented on a video by Simon Webb of History Debunked, so here’s one now. A few days ago, he put one up questioning Kwarteng’s qualifications for office as Chancellor of the Exchequer and wondering if he was only chosen because he was Black. Was his appointment simply a case of Truss giving him a job in order to show how diverse her government was? Given how disastrous the minibudget is, Kwarteng does not strike me as a brilliant economist. But then, neither does Truss herself, who strikes me as another absolute mediocrity. The same with Therese Coffey, who I wouldn’t trust to run a corner shop or local whist club. As for Jacob Rees-Mogg, I think he’s cleverer than the rest in that he has clever people working for him and is sufficiently slick with his patrician diction and general demeanour to conceal his absolute incompetence from much of the public. But none of them, absolutely none of them, strike me as intellectual powerhouses. Quite the opposite.

Readers of this blog of a certain age and taste in comedy will remember Glasgae toon’s guerrilla philosopher, Rab C. Nesbitt, and his biting view of Scots politics and the treatment of the poor and the underclass from the bottom of a pint glass. In one episode, Nesbitt crossed paths with the local Tory politician, a political nonentity looking forward to great things because Tory prime minister John Major was in office, and ‘this is the age of the mediocrity’. Ah, how that was the joke at the time! John Major was the grey man, a boring, uninspiring individual following the all-too vivid figure of Margaret Thatcher. Major himself wasn’t economically deft or competent, as his privatisation of the railways and the collapse of the pound during Black Wednesday showed. But compared to Truss and her crew, he was statesman of positively Churchillian proportions.

A week or so ago I went to an online meeting where members of the Labour left, like Richard Burgon and members of the TUC responded to Truss’ minibudget. They pointed out what a right-wing nightmare it was, along with her highly authoritarian attempts to strangle the unions with fresh legislation. Truss was promising nothing to the British working class except more poverty while massively cutting taxes for the rich. But the panel was also encouraged by the fact that people were determined to resist, and mobilising strikes and protests up and down this Sceptred Isle. And as for Truss and the rest of the minions, they saw them as the last of the Thatcherite True Believers. Thatcherism has run its course. It’s now looking threadbare. People are abandoning it. And Truss and co are the last of the market fundamentalists, more right-wing than Thatcher herself. And that’s saying something, given how she was a fan of real Fascists like General Pinochet!

If I read what the Labour people were saying rightly, this means that, as the last of the true-blue Thatcherites, Liz, Kwarteng and co are the scrapings from the bottom of the Tory barrel. In which case, Kwarteng didn’t get his post because he’s a diversity hire. He got his job because he shared the views and the same lack of ability as Truss and the rest of her followers.

And unfortunately, that means we’ve got to suffer his and Truss’ doctrinaire incompetence.

Their colour is immaterial. All that matters is their grotesque hatred and victimisation of the poor to benefit the extremely, obscenely rich.

Get them out now!

We Own It Celebrate Starmer’s Policy of a Great British Energy Company

October 2, 2022

I got this email from the pro-public ownership organisation We Own It applauding Keir Starmer’s announcement that if he was elected, Labour would set up a publicly owned energy company: Great British Energy.

‘Dear David,

Public ownership in Starmer’s keynote speech, as one of Labour’s flagship policies?! This is HUGE.

Great British Energy, a publicly owned renewable energy generation company, would help tackle the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis.

Two months ago, we told the Guardian that Labour was being too cautious on public ownership and asked the question:

“Why not set up a publicly owned renewable generation company to drive forward water and wind energy, while creating jobs and boosting the economy?”

You helped to share that article and spread the word – and yesterday Keir Starmer announced exactly that, so this is YOUR win!

Read and share our blog on Great British Energy

Share on Twitter

Share on Facebook

Thousands of you signed the petition for energy in public ownership, which included Great British Energy as one of the demands!

Thousands of you shared polling about support for public ownership, showing how popular taking energy into public hands really is. 

Of course we want Labour to go further by bringing the National Grid and an energy supplier into public ownership. But this huge victory helps shift the debate. After a long period of avoiding the question, it shows that public ownership is on the table again for Labour. 

Starmer also stated that this policy would be rolled out in the first year of government. The next general election could be coming sooner than the Conservatives would like – so with Labour way ahead in the polls, these announcements matter. It’s people like you who will make sure they translate into action when the time comes. (Do read our blog for more on the politics of this announcement…)

We’re making progress. Let’s keep going! 

THANK YOU for everything you’ve done to make this happen.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew, and Kate — the We Own It team

PS This isn’t the only public ownership announcement at Labour conference this year… Thanks to everything you’ve done to make the case, Labour announced that they would nationalise rail, lift the ban on municipally owned bus companies, and oversee a wave of insourcing. These are your victories!

Lotus Eaters Facing Up to Rail Privatisation Being a Disaster

September 20, 2022

This must have hurt their delicate free trade, ‘classical liberal’, privatise everything sensibilities. A few days ago, I notice that the Lotus Eaters had put up a piece about Dr Beeching and the failure of rail privatisation. One of them appeared waving around the copy of a book, Broken Rails. The video’s title stated that rail privatisation had been a failure. This is remarkable, given the frantic enthusiasm Sargon, Callum and the others have for private enterprise and laissez-faire economics as against nationalisation and state regulation. In fact, rail privatisation has been a massive failure, as shown by the way the government has been forced to take over failing railway services. This has reached the point where even the Torygraph was saying that renationalisation wasn’t necessarily a bad idea. I didn’t watch the video because I suspect that the Lotus Eaters would try to argue that, although rail privatisation had been a disaster, private enterprise is still a very good thing, and everything would have been much better if the privatisation had been done a certain way. Thus, trying to get out of recognising that privatisation does not automatically lead to better service. But it’s still interesting to see them having to accept that, at least in the case of the railways, privatisation has been a disaster.

Petition from Bring Back British Rail to Renationalise Avanti West Coast

September 7, 2022

I got this email from Bring Back British Rail notifying me that Avanti West Coast are cutting more services, but despite this the government has renewed their contract. This is appalling, and Bring Back British Rail have therefor launched a petition to have the rail company renationalised.

‘The crisis on Avanti West Coast is escalating

Sign the Petition

On 14 August 2022, Avanti West Coast – part-owned by FirstGroup and Trenitalia (Italy’s state-owned rail operator!) – drastically reduced the timetable on our West Coast Main Line, causing misery for millions of travellers over the last month.

Meanwhile, on 4 September it was reported that the Department for Transport (DfT) is still planning to renew Avanti’s contract (which expires on 16 October) for another 10-years. This must be stopped.

Today our lawyers have written to the DfT to demand they act urgently to bring our West Coast Main Line back into public ownership (like LNER, Northern and Southeastern already are).

Sign the Petition

Please help keep the pressure up by signing our petition and sharing details on FacebookTwitter and Instagram:

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on Instagram

I’ve signed it, because rail privatisation has been an immense disaster and it is utterly obscene how the shareholders and senior management of these companies are profiting through cutting services and raising ticket prices. The argument for renationalising the railways is incontrovertible.

Labour Left Proposed Motions for the Labour Party Conference

September 4, 2022

The Labour party conference is looming and Arise, the Labour festival of left-wing ideas, has sent these suggested motions out to their supporters so they can propose them to their local constituency parties, in the hope that they’ll accept them and propose them at conference. The email I had and the proposed motions run:

Model Motions Recommended for Labour Party Conference 2022

Hello David

Please find below and online here suggested model motions for Labour Party Conference. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 September 2022 at 5pm and the word limit is 250 words. They are on supporting public ownership, defending asylum seekers, supporting a pay rise for workers plus those unions taking industrial action to this end. and speaking up for Palestine.

Best wishes,
The Arise – a Festival of Left Ideas Volunteer Team.

1) Public ownership Motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Public Ownership is Necessary and Popular
 
Conference notes:
That public ownership is popular with voters, with polling indicating these levels of support:

  • Energy – 66% (Survation, 2022)
  • Water – 69% (Survation, 2022)
  • Royal Mail – 68% (Survation, 2022)
  • Railways – 67% (Survation, 2022)
  • Buses – 65% (Survation, 2022)
  • Social Care – 64% (Survation, 2020)
  • NHS – 84% (YouGov, 2017)

Additionally, 61% of the public think local and central government should try to run services in-house first, before outsourcing (Survation, 2015,) 82% want schools to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020;) and 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020.)

Conference believes:

  • The crisis caused by soaring energy bills and the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into rivers this Summer have highlighted the failures of privatisation in Britain.
  • Private companies are making mega-profits from public services – these vast sums should instead be invested to improve services, to give their workers a pay increase and to lower costs for consumers.
  • That the Tory corruption and outsourcing crises during the pandemic have further illustrated the need for public ownership and democratic control.
  • A clear commitment to extending public ownership of key utilities and public services can be a big vote winner for Labour.

Conference resolves:

  • To oppose further Tory privatisation and outsourcing, including of the NHS, education and council services.
  • To support public ownership of key services and utilities including energy, water, railways, buses, social care, the royal mail and the NHS.

2) Motion on asylum seekers & Rwanda from the Arise Volunteer Team:

Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Conference notes:

  • the commitment of both candidates in the recent Tory leadership to the unethical, inhumane and racist Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the widely-condemned Nationality and Borders Act (NABA,) with its two tier system of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ refugees that would prevent some 99 percent of refugees from seeking asylum and its threat to the citizenship of 6 million people in Britain. UNHCR said the Nationality and Borders Bill would “penalise most refugees seeking asylum”.
  • the scale of opposition to the Government’s inhumane treatment of refugees who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety.
  • the decision of the European Court of Human Rights which forced the cancellation of the first scheduled flight on 14 June 2022.
  • Public polling shows increasing support for asylum seekers’ rights, including their right to work.
  • Other disastrous aspects of the ‘hostile environment’ policy over recent years including the Windrush Scandal and the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans.

Conference resolves:

  • For the Labour party to clearly oppose this obscene Tory policy in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including through a commitment that the next Labour Government will immediately cancel the Rwanda Asylum Scheme.
  • To oppose “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and other ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.

3) Pay and backing trade union action motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity:

Britain Needs A Pay rise

Conference notes:

Twelve years of the Conservative Government’s low-pay agenda has significantly diminished the real value of people’s incomes with average real wages still below 2008 levels;

The situation is getting worse. Real pay dropped by 4.1% in June compared to the same period last year, with record falls of 3.4% in the private sector and 6.7% in the public sector;

The imposition of significantly below-inflation pay awards which amount to real terms pay cuts;

An increase in trade union campaigning for improved pay awards, from protests to strike ballots and industrial action;

That 76% of people support the view that pay should rise in line with the cost of living (Survation August 2022)

Conference believes:

Below-inflation pay offers will increase poverty and hardship;

That the Government should not impose real terms pay cuts on public sector workers;

It is wrong that many private firms are imposing real terms pay cuts while making big profits, awarding bonuses and large dividend payments;

Recent trade union campaigns, including strike action, have led to numerous enhanced pay awards.

Conference resolves:

To oppose the Conservative Government’s imposition of real terms pay cuts;

To support inflation-proofed increases in pay in both public and private sectors and urgent measures to restore the real value of pay lost under successive Conservative Governments since 2010;

To support a National Minimum Wage of at least £15 an hour.

To support trade union campaigning, including through backing workers taking industrial action, to achieve these aims.

4) Palestine motion from Labour & Palestine / Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Justice for Palestine

Conference strongly condemns:

  • Israel’s renewed bombing of Gaza in August 2022 killing 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and notes the UN Special rapporteur description of it as an  act contrary to International law. 
  • the Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beating of her coffin bearers by Israeli police.
  • the outlawing of 7 NGOs including Addameer; the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and Defence for Children International – Palestine.

Conference recognises that these events are illustrative of the conclusions of leading human rights organisations including B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and further erode any possibility of a just solution.

Conference notes policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 ,2019 and 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing violations of their rights and of international law.

Conference Resolves:

  • To support the application made in April to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s systematic targeting of journalists.
  • To stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders and fully oppose the Israeli government’s attempts to silence them
  • To adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel in line with policy passed at previous Conferences, including banning trade with illegal settlements and ending the ongoing arms trade.
  • To oppose fully any UK legislation aimed at preventing legitimate and democratic solidarity actions in support of the Palestinian people.’

These policies are popular and necessary. Among the polls showing public support for renationalising the utilities, I’m massively impressed that 82 per cent want schools to be in public hands. As for the motion on Palestine, it really amazes me how anyone in a genuinely left-wing party could support the closure of quangos devoted to protecting women and children. If ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer supports this, then he’s a depraved monster, utterly unfit to govern any country devoted to humanity and the rule of law. This shows that hardly anybody wants academies or a return to grammar schools, despite the Tories constantly pushing them. I’m going to check with my local constituency party to see if these or similar are among the motions they are going to discuss this Thursday prior to conference. If they aren’t, I will propose them.

This will undoubtedly annoy the Blairites, especially the motion on Palestine. I’ll let you know if they start throwing around any fake accusations of anti-Semitism again.

We Own It on the Increasing Popularity of Nationalising the Utilities

August 20, 2022

I got this email from pro-nationalisation, pro-NHS organisation We Own It yesterday. It gives the polling figures for the proportion of the British public that wants the public utilities renationalised. It’s around two-thirds of the British public for industries like electricity, rail, and water, and rises to 78 per cent for the NHS. This figure, although healthy, does concern me, as I understood that previous polls put the figure at 85 per cent. This looks like a drop in popularity, possibly caused by the way the Tories have run it down combined with scumbags like Alex Belfield and Nana Akua on GB telling everyone how better these services would be if they were privatised. As for the Royal Mail, this was privatised by the Grinning Blair, against everybody’s wishes. I know working class Tories who actually voted Labour when the Tories were muttering about privatising it. They mistakenly believed that Labour wouldn’t sell it off. This is what happens with Blairite Labour: you get Hobson’s choice. The faces change, but the policies don’t, because Labour’s listening to the same corporate donors and the same newspaper barons, especially the voice of Mysterian Murdoch. But these figures together, and the chaos privatisation has caused, are a powerful argument for renationalisation. Here’s the email:

‘Dear David,

Everyone is talking about nationalisation, so we’ve been getting the word out in the press about how popular it is. A majority of the UK public support public ownership of key utilities like energy and water – including Conservative voters.

This week we released our biggest ever poll with Survation which shows:

💧69% want publicly owned water

💡66% want publicly owned energy

🚌 65% want publicly owned buses

🚄67% want publicly owned rail

🏥78% want a publicly owned NHS

📮68% want a publicly owned Royal Mail

If you agree with public services for people not profit, you’re not alone – and you can help spread the word about how popular public ownership is:

Share the polling on Facebook

Share the polling on Twitter

Share the blog by email

Your energy bill is going up and up – in January bills are set to hit £500 a month and 100,000 people have committed not to pay.

Sewage flows into our rivers and seas, making people ill and killing fish, but water companies return billions in dividends to shareholders.

Other countries’ state owned railways profit from our privatised system, while the government plans to close ticket offices at the same time as talking about ‘Great British Railways’.

Privatisation has failed and we’re all feeling the consequences.

But you are fighting back!

THANK YOU to everyone who’s signed the petition to Nationalise Bulb. Thanks to your support, the campaign got covered in the Express! Sign and share the petition if you haven’t already. Let’s make our demand as big as possible ahead of the energy price cap rise next week…

THANK YOU to everyone who’s joining the ticket office protests this coming Tuesday 23rd August, whether in person or online.

Let’s get wins, let’s get the word out. The tide is turning, and you’re helping to make that happen.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew and Kate – the We Own It team’.

New Advert for British Rail Nationalisation Shows Europeans Laughing at Britain for Allowing Them to Buy It Up

August 19, 2022

The Mirror has published a very incisive piece about an advert calling for the renationalisation of the railways, in which Europeans laughs at us for allowing their state owned railways to buy up ours. The article by Mike Boyd, ‘Europe mercilessly mocks UK government for allowing British rail to fund their rail systems’ begins

‘The British rail system has been mocked by Europeans appearing in an advert pushing for the network to be made public.

In the viral video produced by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) – whose members are striking across the UK today – the franchised structure of the UK’s rail network is mercilessly ridiculed.

In the clip representatives of “the people” of France, Netherlands and Germany “thank the British people” allowing their “publicly owned rail networks” to “buy up your rail network”.

In one brutal moment the cast explain: “So when you buy a ticket on Thameslink, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Chiltern Railways, Merseyside Rail, Scotrail, Greater Anglia, London Midland, DLR, Northern Rail, London Overground, Cross Country, Southern and South Eastern, the profits go to making our railways cheaper.”

They add: “In 2012 we got £3million just from Greater Anglia. Not only that, the British taxpayers pay our franchises massive subsidies, without which we could never make a profit.

“So even if you never catch a train, you’re still sending us money. But before you say, ‘ah, we’ve left the EU’, that doesn’t make a difference.

“In fact, the Tory government want to privatise even more, which means we can take over even more.

“So to the British people we want to say, thank you.”‘

The advert, the article says, was first made in 2017, and has resurfaced as the rail workers launch industrial action.

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/europe-mercilessly-mocks-uk-government-for-allowing-british-rail-to-fund-their-rail-systems/ar-AA10Nk81?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=9fa61476fe6f474a9295c590d336f5f1

This is precisely correct, and there was criticism a few years ago of the Dutch railway company’s management of one of the rail franchises a few years ago, though the company responded with a statement that they were actually investing millions into it. But this problem isn’t just confined to the railway networks – it’s also in the electricity and water companies. I’ve got a feeling that the local water company for Bristol is owned by the Indonesians, and at least one of the electricity companies owned by the French. This is all a product of Thatcher’s privatisation. These companies have no interest in giving the privatised utilities the investment they need, only in using the profits to give dividends to their shareholders and bonuses to their chief executives. There are state owned electricity companies in the US, and I understand that those that aren’t owned by the state are protected by law from foreign companies owning a controlling stake in them. The same is true of the press, which is why Dirty Rupe Murdoch abandoned Australia to become an American citizen.

The railways, electricity and water need to be renationalised now. However much the Heil, Torygraph, Financial Times and GB News may scream against it.

Academic Historian Pauline Gregg on the Nationalization of the Electricity and Gas Industries

August 11, 2022

With the energy crisis threatening even greater numbers of working people with grinding poverty, while the bosses of these industries record obscene profits and pocket millions in bonuses, I looked up the nationalisation of the electricity and gas industries in Pauline Gregg’s The Welfare State (London: George G. Harrap, 1967). She writes of their nationalisation

‘The Electricity Bill came up for its second reading on February 3, 1947. The history of electricity supply was another example of haphazard growth and piecemeal legislation. At one time there had been no less than 635 Electricity Undertakings over the country; in London there were still 75 in 1947. The industry was governed by 243 Provisional and Special Orders and Acts of Parliament; tariffs and voltages differed from area to area, and often in adjoining districts; municipal ande company undertakings had never come to terms. Whichever Government had been returned in 1945 would have had to impose some degree of order and rationalization upon the industry. Scotland alone showed some ordered development. In 1941 Thomas Johnstone, the devoted Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition Government, had appointed a committee to consider the practicability of developing the water-power resources of Scotland for the generation of electricity. It was a scheme which would make work for areas which were losing their population besides bringing the great boon of electricity to small townships and scattered homesteads. It was a great tribute to a country at war that in February 1943 it had passed the Hydro-electric Development (Scotland) Act which established a Hydro-electric Board for the North of Scotland.

The Bill before the House in 1947 proposed to establish a British Electricity Authority with full responsibility for generating electricity and selling it in bulk. Local distribution would be in the hands of fourteen area boards, Scotland would still be served by the Scottish Hydro-electric Board, who jurisdiction was extended to include some 22,000 square miles north and west of a line from the Firth of Tay to the Firth of Clyde-about three-quarters of the total area of Scotland. Again the measure raised only a token opposition and took 165 Conservatives into the lobby against it on February 4, 1947, rather as a gesture against the Labour Government than from real opposition to the Bill.

A similar pattern was proposed for the reorganisation of the Gas Industry. On January 21, 1948, the Bill “to provide for the establishment of Area Gas Boards and a Gas Council” was presented by Hugh Gaitskell, who had succeeded Shinwell as Minister of Fuel and Power. It was given its second reading on February 11 by 354 votes to 179. Gas supply, like Electricity was complicated, disintegrated, inefficient and controlled by a legislative framework that was a major obstacle to improvement. All Reports agreed on the desirability for larger areas of administration and for great integration, and Gaitskell claimed that the most suitable structure for the industry would be found under public ownership.’ (pp. 73-4).

And on pages 76-77 Gregg explains why these measures were needed and that they didn’t constitute a political and economic revolution.

‘Nationalization, it has been said, was a political and economic revolution, forced through after a generation of waiting. There had been a generation-and more-of waiting, but both the election results of 1945 and the debates in the House of Commons overrode any suggestion that they were ‘forced through’. The myth that they involved “a political and economic revolution” is disposed of on several grounds: the industries concerned (with the exception of iron and steel) were either semi-derelict or in urgent need of such reorganisation as could come only from a central authority with large resources to back it; they were all natural monopolies amenable to the advantages of large-scale operation; they were either public services or approximating to such; their public control was in step with a world-wide movement and one which, in Britain itself, was already well established. Banking and insurance all over the world, big power projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority in the U.S.A., the Volta River scheme in Ghana, the Panama Canal Company, the Aswan Dam on the Nile, the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi, afforestation schemes, flood-control, navigation improvement, agricultural development, railways in Europe, America, Canada, Australia-schemes which started before or after and continued at the same time as the British nationalization undertakings – put Britain in the main flood of development, not in any revolutionary situation. For the Labour Party and for their opponents this was paradox that changed the political scene. Who had stolen whose thunder was difficult to determine, but, with the exception of iron and steel, it was unlikely that much party political capital could ever again be made out of the issue of nationalization’.

This last sentence was disproved when Thatcher and the Tories went on their rampage of privatisation in the 1980s and ’90s. But even then, support for privatisation never went above 50 per cent. The nationalisation of the utilities was common sense and the majority of the Tory party at the time understood this. Privatisation was supposed to open up further sources of investment, and competition would lower prices.

This has not happened.

Energy prices are going up, while bosses are pocketing massive pay rises. Thatcherism, as I have said in a few previous posts, has failed.

The only solution is to renationalise the utilities.

We Own It and Bring Back British Urge Supporters to Fill in Public Consultation Survey

August 3, 2022

This is very last minute, but I hope there’s still time for people to fill in the latest government public consultation theory. I had emails from the pro-nationalisation organisation We Own It and Bring Back British Rail alerting me to the fact that the government has published a public consultation document about their proposed changes to the rail network. It’s to be rebranded as Great British Railways, but despite this nod to Brunel, it’s still the same public- private partnership and rail franchising nonsense. The survey closes tomorrow, so if you want the return of a public railway network that works to the British people, not the rail companies, you have to fill out the questionnaire quickly. I’ve already done so, using the responses recommended by We Own I(t. Here’s their email

‘Dear David,

After the last 30 years of disastrous rail privatisation, you have an incredible opportunity to demand that our railway starts working for people and not profit.

The government wants to hear from the public about our railway. The more of us respond, the bigger our impact.

Can you respond to the public consultation and demand that they take our railway into public ownership?

We have prepared suggested answers and tips for responding to make it easy for you. You have just 48 hours to get your response in. 

Demand public ownership – respond to the consultation

Our railway system should work for all of us, and not for the private companies who suck a billion pounds out of it every year.

If we ran our railway in public ownership, we could save £1 billion every year. That money could be used to cut rail fares by 18%, instead of the annual hikes we see.

And public ownership is hugely popular with the public. 

64% of the public, including a majority of people who voted Conservative at the last election, say our railway should be run in public ownership.

The government’s rail consultation is your opportunity to make sure they know that thousands of us want the government to take our rail into public ownership now.

The consultation closes on Thursday 4th August, which means you have just 48 hours to get your response in.

Respond to the consultation now

We know that even this Conservative government recognises that privatisation has failed. 

Over the last few years, they have taken some rail franchises into public ownership when private companies have failed.

When Northern Rail and East Coast Rail were thrown into chaos by private companies, the government stepped in and took them into public ownership.

Wales and Scotland both took their railways into public ownership during the pandemic showing that public ownership is the only remedy to private chaos.

It is time to demand that the government end their “public ownership only as a final resort” policy and take on a “people before profit” approach.

The government wants to hear from you. It is your opportunity to make sure they know that thousands of us want public ownership, not private chaos.

Respond to the consultation now

This is a big opportunity to demand public ownership of our railway. Please fill out the consultation now. Also, share the link with family and friends and ask them to do it too. The more of us respond, the bigger our impact.

Thank you so much for standing up for a railway that works for people and not profit.

Cat, Alice, Matthew, Kate, Jack, Johnbosco – the We Own It team’