Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/190/8074
Stop the privatisation disaster
Put the Fat Cats on Trial
PUT THE privatised rail bosses in the dock! That's the message from The Socialist and one that's coming loud and clear from the travelling public after last October's fatal Hatfield crash.
Transport Police are compiling evidence on those responsible - senior executives at Railtrack and maintenance contractors, Balfour Beatty. But don't expect the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue corporate manslaughter charges - especially this side of an impending general election.
In November 1999 contractors Balfour Beatty reported to Railtrack the rail defect that led to last October's fateful Hatfield crash. But nothing was done to repair the faulty line.
A public inquiry into Hatfield would reveal the failures of the privatised rail system as the previous Paddington and Southall inquiries had done. But an inquiry been ruled out by this pro-privatisation, pro-big business government, anxious to avoid controversy before the election. Clearly, New Labour is only concerned about being re-elected rather than obtaining justice for the victims' families and proper safety for the travelling public. Yet even 100 MPs agree with nationalisation of Railtrack.
Privatisation has been a disaster for people's lives not only on the railways but as we report in this week's Socialist:
- Across Scotland thousands of jobs could be lost because the contracts to maintain trunk roads have been handed over to the private sector following a seriously flawed tendering process.
- In Lancashire, Tameside council is privatising six early learning centres leading to their closure.
- Tayside NHS services face more hefty spending cuts on top of hospital closures and PFI privatisation.
- Education services worth up to £1.6 billion are being offered to private companies to make lucrative profits from Labour-run councils like Waltham Forest and Southwark.
But New Labour blunders on, determined to pursue the previous Tory agenda of handing over the country's public assets to the private sector to profit from.
London Underground and the National Air Traffic Service both face being privatised. Industrial action linked to mass community protests can halt this profiteering juggernaut and ensure the renationalisation of the privatised industries.
Renationalisation under democratic working-class control and management is the necessary first step to properly investing in public services to meet people's needs rather than the mega-profits of a few fat cat company directors.
In The Socialist 26 January 2001: