Oct 2011 - Rail as a plaything for the rich

PHILIP HAMMOND, the Secretary of State for Transport, complained to the House of Commons Select Committee on Transport last month that the costs of tickets is making the railways ‘a rich man's toy’.

 

It’s not often I am speechless: but this was one of those times.

 

Mr Hammond is supposed to be the government’s transport expert. The man leading UK transport into the future. Yet all he can do is complain.

 

There lies the nub of the problem. It is an admission of the fact that he has no control over the UK railways. His party, in the John Major years, gave away government influence when it sold the industry. It is a delusion to think you can sell something and still have control over it. If you flog your car, you can’t tell the next owner how fast you’d like him to drive or where you’d like him to park. It has gone. It is no longer yours.

 

And yet that lesson is only now, 18 years after the great train robbery, beginning to dawn on the minister. He can huff and puff and be horrified at what has happened – but he can do nothing about it. Not unless he takes back the franchises when they end and returns rail to public ownership.

 

Why would he, a Tory, do that? For the very reason he says: that rail will become the plaything of the rich if it continues to be the property of private companies. Rich companies or individuals don’t mind forking out £199.50 for the two-hour ride from London to Manchester, or £225.50 for a single journey from Leeds to Bristol. And if they don’t mind paying, the private companies certainly don’t mind taking their money.

 

But the public who elected you, Mr Hammond, don’t see the railways as a toy. They see them as a public service. And it is your duty to provide it.

Articles Per Page:
1 2 next
 

Nov 2011 - Farewell, brothers and sisters

01 June 2013

This will be the last column I write as your General Secretary. It was no easy decision to step down, but I did so for my family and for the union. I made a promise to my wife Christine that I must keep, and I believed it was time to hand over the...

Read more »


Sept 2011 - Our future in our hands

01 June 2013

I received a couple of proposals last month. This sounds attractive – until I tell you they were from Bob Crow and Gerry Doherty!   They are the general secretaries of the RMT and the TSSA, two unions that have decided to begin ‘formal talks which could ultimately lead to...

Read more »


Aug 2011 - A moving farewell from Arkwright Road

01 June 2013

AS I write this my desk in Arkwright road resembles an island in a sea of blue packing cases. 90 years worth of paperwork, files, books and union memorabilia has been sorted, evaluated and packed in readiness for our move to new headquarters.   Everything from the crockery to model...

Read more »


July 2011 - Preparing our defences

01 June 2013

THE union’s 2011 annual conference took place last month and the executive committee has been set fresh objectives for the coming year. I have noticed a welcome change in the AAD over the years. Not long ago this event was full of conflict, speechifying and posturing. It was all very...

Read more »


June 2011 - Bash the unions? He would, wouldnt he?

01 June 2013

Last month transport secretary Philip Hammond told an industry conference that, ‘Addressing inefficient working practices and excessive wage demands will form a key part of the strategy for building a sustainable and affordable railway.’ to quote a lady once close to the conservatives, ‘Well he would, wouldn’t he?’ - for...

Read more »


 

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link