Yesterday the Shadow Secretary of Transport climbed back on his populist soapbox in an interview with the New Statesman
Trotting out the usual trite lines, Dugher alleged that “”Privatisation was a disaster for the railways”
Really? Let’s look at the evidence. There’s no doubt that the early days of privatisation were a mess but that was over 20 years ago. No-one misses Railtrack but Labour put them out of their misery 13 years ago. Since then the railways have gone from strength to strength. We’re seeing record numbers of folk traveling, massive investment in the network by the private sector (something that British Railways could only dream of) and we haven’t had a single passenger killed in an accident since the Grayrigg derailment in 2007. So, if that’s a ‘disaster’ can we have more of it please.
The truth is, this is more grandstanding from Dugher. He’s offering nothing more than anodyne phrases that are meant to press electoral buttons. He goes on to say “”I’m not saying let’s go back to some sort of 70s and 80s British Rail, I don’t think sensible people are, actually” So, what is he offering?
Nothing of substance.
He adds that “I’m adamant about putting the whole franchising system, as it stands today, in the bin”
OK, so what are you going to replace franchising with & how will this improve the way the railways operate?
He fails to say.
We’re expected to vote for a party that proposes major changes in the way the railways work without a clue what they’ll do instead. Apart from trite phrases about more ‘public control’ (for this read more centralised micro-management by the Department of Transport) what is Dugher actually going to do. The old phrase ‘the devil is in the detail’ has never been more appropriate. Where IS the detail?
The more I hear of Michael Dugher, the more I hear of those who care about the railways switching votes.