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26 September 2014

Under the heading Building a Better Railway to Build a Better Britain, Mick writes: The next general election will be the most important to be held in this country for more than fifty years. Since the elections in 1945 and 1950, in fact, which led to the great socialist governments of Clement Attlee which transformed the fortunes of the people in this country after the ravages of the Second World War. Because the policies of this coalition government – and the Liberal Democrats have been as culpable as the Conservatives – are ruinous for Britain, with an ever more brutal ‘free market’ in labour, and housing, creeping ‘marketisation’ – an awful euphemism for the privatisation of a great public service – of the NHS, and punitive ‘reforms’ – for which read destruction – of the welfare state. We desperately need a change of government next year. We can’t afford another Tory government committed to exploiting the poor for the benefit of the rich. We need a government committed to building a fairer – and better – Britain. And that must include bringing back into public ownership those key parts at the heart of the British economy which belong to the British people. Because we can all see that privatisation hasn’t worked. On every measure put forward by John Major 20 years ago, rail privatisation has failed. Fares, and public subsidies, have soared – we now have the highest fares in Europe – while trains have got more crowded. It’s outrageous that companies can, at no risk, take a private profit, made at public expense, for shareholders. Money moved offshore. Millions of pounds leaking every day from our industry which could be used to bring down fares, ploughed back in investment, or returned – like the East Coast – to the Treasury to pay for schools or hospitals or housing. We need a Labour government committed to putting our fragmented, privatised railway back together as a modern, integrated, and publicly-owned railway fit for the 21st century.

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