Support for the renationalisation of vital public services is running high, high that is outside of mainstream political parties. The latest train of profiteering by leading public service privatiser, Richard Branson, provides even more fuel for this cost-effective argument. Yet popular will alone seemingly cannot reverse the head of steam for privatisation that has been built up by the Tories.
Ironically since John Major’s Conservative government broke up British Rail some 20 years ago, the public subsidy for running our rail networks has actually increased. A recent interview with James Abbott, the editor of Modern Railways — a popular magazine aimed at railway professionals – suggested that renationalising railways now would not be difficult at all.
As Ian Taylor, author of the 2012 trade union report, Rebuilding Rail, correctly points out: “The biggest obstacle to renationalising the railways is the prevailing dogma – the assumption that marketisation and competition must be best.” Their union study demonstrated that by removing the profit motive from our rail network, £1 billion could be saved annually for the benefit of wider society.
The purpose of the railway system should primarily be to provide a public service not service private profits. Bringing the rail industry into democratic public ownership is not difficult, but finding any political will to seriously carry out this task is a problem.
Like the Green Party, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) — of which I am the parliamentary candidate for Leicester East- call for full renationalisation of our rail system in order that our trains may serve public need in contrast to private greed.
This letter was submitted to the Leicester Mercury mailbox on Tuesday March 3, 2015, and was written in response to the papers own article “The Big Question: Should the rail network be renationalised?”