Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1072/30218
From The Socialist newspaper, 5 February 2020
Cancel the franchise, not our trains
West Midlands Trains, photo Rob Hodgkins/CC (Click to enlarge)
- Campaign launched by West Midlands Socialist Party
The performance of West Midlands Trains - the current franchise holder for rail services in the West Midlands - is talked about everywhere; in newspapers, on radio and TV and of course among rail travellers.
The Mayor of the West Midlands, Tory Andy Street, also put his oar in. Apparently, he does not have enough to keep him busy in his £79,000-a-year job. He thinks he can run the railway as well, but there is also an election coming up.
What has been lacking is any action. So West Midlands Socialist Party has launched a campaign - 'Cancel the franchise, not our trains' - to offer a way to get involved in the debate over the future of rail and to offer a socialist alternative to the profits-first approach.
We call for public ownership and democratic workers' control. We say a new body should run the system - made up of one-third from rail workers and their unions, one-third from rail users, and one-third from the local authorities.
We know that a change of control and leadership would be only a start. The problems of the rail industry include lack of capacity, outdated equipment such as semaphore signalling (first used in the 1840s), overcrowding, and a "shortage of train crew" caused by the profit-before-everything approach of the private operators.
We will be out campaigning on this issue. We call for the current franchise to end on 16 May, the next timetable change. We want democratic control and accountability from the people who work on, travel on and otherwise rely on a safe, reliable and affordable railway.
Pete McNally, Worcester Socialist Party
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 5 February 2020:
6.5 million working poor: Fight to end low pay
Labour leadership contest and public ownership
Coronavirus exposes capitalism's weaknesses in healthcare and economy
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Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'
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Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system
Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!
Cancel the franchise, not our trains
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The Socialist 5 February 2020 |
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