Signal Failure – Rail privatisation & the fight against it

20 years ago I wrote a pamphlet for the Thames Valley District Council of the RMT.  The text on the back page reads:

“Rail privatisation is a universally unpopular measure save for a few ‘free market’ ideologues and managers looking to make a financial killing in line with the top dogs in the other privatised public utilities.

This pamphlet examines the method of privatisation, the results so far, and the likely ones in the future should a feeble government survive.

It examines the historical background to the decline of the railways in Britain, under both Tory and Labour governments.

It proposes an expansion of the rail network in the interests of tackling the environmental crisis, improving the service to the customers and creating a socialist plan for job creation.

It calls for an unequivocal commitment from the Labour Party to re-nationalise the entire network, though not to be run by a government appointed businessman on a profit-making basis. It looks at the debate in the old NUR over how a socialised railway could be run by the staff who work in it, at the service of social needs.

It examines the connection of this issue to the debate in the Labour Party over the question of Clause 4 of the constitution (“common ownership of the means of production, distribution, exchange.”

At the time, of course, the union was still affiliated to the Labour Party but the experience of the Labour Government from 1997, led to the union being expelled from it. What had been a Labour-loyalist union was alienated by the refusal of the Government to take a single step towards re-nationalisation and the practical consequences of New Labour’s support for the “dynamic market economy”.

You can read the pamphlet or download it from here: signalfailure

It was written under a pen name because of the threat of victimisation.

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