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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 February 2020

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

West Midlands Trains, photo Rob Hodgkins/CC

West Midlands Trains, photo Rob Hodgkins/CC   (Click to enlarge)

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 The problems of the rail industry include lack of capacity, outdated equipment such as semaphore signalling (first used in the 1840s), overcrowding, and a "shortage of train crew" caused by the profit-before-everything approach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 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:


News

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

Record dissatisfaction with democracy: capitalism's dead end

Refuges turn away 64% of women - set no-cuts budgets now!

Grenfell watch: Unions challenge 'mockery of justice'

Them & Us


Rail

Nationalise the railways: For an integrated public transport system

Expensive, overcrowded and unreliable: Renationalise the railways!

Cancel the franchise, not our trains

Will the North get investment and transport infrastructure?


What we think

'Post-Brexit' era of crisis ahead


Workplace news

Huge victory for Bromley library workers after 241 days on indefinite strike!

14 more days of university strikes over pensions, pay and conditions

500 BBC journalists' jobs under threat

Newham council tax workers' pay victory

No to academisation of east London schools!

Ealing tax office workers strike against closure


NHS

Outrageous waiting times will put lives at risk

NHS: Save stroke beds in Coventry and Warwickshire


International

Syria: Assad regime consolidates power after brutal counterrevolution

Israel/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict


Campaigns

Socialist Party calls anti-austerity protest on Budget Day

Sadiq Khan "out-Tories" himself to defend tech firms' tax bonanza

Socialist Sellers

Reading Labour council: Stop privatising our leisure services

The rich fund the Tories and Blairites, so help fund the working-class fightback

Support the working-class press in 2020

Defend and fight for warm, safe housing for Samira and everyone

Alternative Burns Night success


Readers' opinion

Liverpool council: "No more cuts" - Is Joe Anderson serious?

Socialist Inbox


 

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