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Press Cycle #33: Railtrack
#1
The Conservative Party's legacy of failure is being unpicked piece by piece, BritRail is the latest in a long line of reforms to put the public back at the heart of our public services and put safety before profit in the areas it matters most. Railtrack is the failed legacy of a failed party, it is bankrupt and in administration, BritRail is the solution the public wants, the public needs, and the public deserves.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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#2
"Is the government right to nationalise railtrack?"

Cycle closes at 23:59 11 May
Steve
Acting Acting Head Av | Parliament | Prime Minister's Office | Cabinet Office | Treasury
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#3
Railtrack is one of the ultimate expressions of the failure of the Conservative dogma that privatised is better. Despite being privatised Railtrack continuously had to come begging the Government for money and still left the railways unfit for use leading to dangerous conditions and fatal accidents. It is not the job of Government to send public money picking up after the private sector which we were promised would have been better for all. The fact of the matter is that Railtrack had their chance, they blew it, now the Government will pick up the pieces and make a railway system that works for everyone and is crucially safe to use. The Tory dogma that privatised is better is dead, it is clear that in many instances the country is better off with the national interest in the Government's hands.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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#4
The Nationalisation of Railtrack is an expensive, unnecessary, bureaucratic response to tragedy that will change nothing about how the rail system works. The state will now be responsible for all investment in our national rail infrastructure, for all contracts awarded to private operators and the entire administrative structure of our rail system - a policy that has been dragged back from the 1970's and will only add to inefficiency and the reliance of the rail system on the Government. This does not solve anything - it merely makes this Labour Government directly responsible for the continued failure Railtrack has become.



Who knew Labour was the foremost authority on running railways! This nationalization today does not improve anything other than to change the name of Railtrack to BritRail and cost the taxpayer an extra billion pounds. When Labour could have established an independent not for profit organisation to replace Railtrack and put saftey first they have instead once again fallen back on their traditional approach of trying to manage everything themselves - something that has failed time and time again in the past. Britain's railways are not a political football to be played around with for ideological purposes, we need a skilled safety orientated body running our rail, not Labour trying to run railtrack themselves. 


The Chancellor speaks a lot about Conservative failure to support Railtrack - and yet for five of the seven years Railtrack has existed it has been run by a Labour administration, including the two years prior to the Hatfield Derailment just under two years ago. If Railtrack has come begging for money from the Government it was done primarily under Labour's watch - and if he thinks that the state should not spend public money propping up private sector failure why is he spending nearly 1bn to do exactly that when a not for profit alternative is available.
Dr. Evelyn Lynwood
Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (Oct 2002-????)
Conservative Member for Altrincham and Sale West
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport & Infrastructure (2002-2002)
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#5
The Shadow Secretary of State may be content with simply taking the Railtrack shares from investors but the Labour Party were not, it was only right that we bought the shares rather than simply take. If the Conservative Party's new policy is that any share or asset can be seized by the State in the name of "not for profit" services then I think we shall find a great deal of shareholders across the land looking very nervously at the prospect of a future Conservative Government. The Conservatives offer the worst of all worlds, no accountability, more money sent to the private sector, and forced asset appropriation by the state, how could anyone trust a transport policy that gets so many things so drastically wrong?

What today's nationalisation does is it ends the cycle, begun under the Tories with their disastrous privatisation, of public sector money chasing private sector profits. With BritRail in-house, directed by an independent group of directors kept at an arms length from the Government of the day, we can break the cycle and ensure that the money goes to where the money is needed. The Tories may be happy to keep subsidising failed corporations but the Labour Party is not, we will ensure that the money spent on our railways goes to our railways and not to investors and shareholders through dividends.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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#6
Whilst there's certainly plenty of blame to be handed out for why the rail system in this country is the way it is, where are the solutions? The government are treating nationalizing rail as a checkbox to be ticked upon hobbling together a government after their mandate was wounded this past election. But offering the same answers: nationalization, higher tax, borrowing every year to pay for it all, like a broken record, will do absolutely nill for rail in this country. A rail monopoly is a rail monopoly, whether it's private or public. It's time to end the revolving door of monopolies failing or rail system and introduce some competition for a change. Near every other mode of transportation in the country, automobiles, aircraft, boats, is an open market where firms compete with one another to drive innovation forward. That's how things thrive. By handing rail over to a bureaucratic commission that won't change a thing until the government itself changes, all we're doing is managing the industry's decline. We're better than that, surely. Let's keep the most important infrastructure and sell the trains themselves to firms and investors who will compete freely and openly for passenger and freight business. Let's do what we should have done before, eliminate the railtrack corporate structure and encourage actual competition among fully independent firms.
Richard Ross
Conservative MP for Christchurch (1997-)
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#7
I must applaud the decision to nationalise our rail network. There's been too many problems to count when it comes to private rail, and it's about time we step in to solve it. The Tories forget that under privatization we have millions of pounds raised by British passengers on British transport going off to the French, German, and Dutch treasuries instead of our own. That's the kind of expenses we don't need on our railtracks, and it's shameful that they dare bring up the cost on taxpayers when they've already been paying the subsidies on behalf of Schröder, Chirac, Balkenende and others. Nationalisation puts a halt to that, and ensures that it we keep the benefits of our railtracks.
Terry Roberts, MP for Southampton Test
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party
Shadow Foreign Minister


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#8
The Chancellor once again demonstrates his lack of logical response to the crisis in Railtrack by taking over a failed corporation, changing it's name and saying they fixed it - all while criticizing Conservative policy when would see Railtrack remain independent of control from a Government who knows nothing about how to run it, while investing the same - if not more - into the system than Labour in a not for profit format. The Chancellor criticizes us therefore for wanting to put customers before share prices and money into a system that under their watch has been allowed to fail.
Dr. Evelyn Lynwood
Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (Oct 2002-????)
Conservative Member for Altrincham and Sale West
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport & Infrastructure (2002-2002)
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#9
The Conservatives leave us a poisoned chalice that lurches from crisis to crisis before finally dying and they have the nerve to lecture us about failure? The Conservative plan so far has amounted to little more than taking a large private monopoly and creating a lot of smaller private sector monopolies. Let me spell it out for them, private sector monopolies are more open to abuse than any other form of market management. The Tories are looking out for their rich city friends who would pick up the contracts and make a fat stack of cash whereas Labour are looking out for commuters' safety and the national interest.

The Conservatives are overlooking a very simple reality when it comes to the BritRail Bill, the Government will not be involved in the day to day running of the industry, the bill appoints an independent board to run the company and empowers them to act in a way that promotes safety, accountability, and efficiency. The Tory offering has shown none of the hallmarks of these three priorities, prioritising private sector profit over safety, accountability to shareholders over accountability to the commuters and column inches over efficiency. The Tories like to pretend they know what they're talking about when it comes to the British Railways, they've shown time and time again in word and deed that they haven't got a clue.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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#10
Closed
Idk
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#11
Issue profile: high - 40 momentum points

Labour: 24

A decent win - a much better performance in the press than in Parliament. Here you pretty effectively argue that the Tories are the ones responsible for Railtrack and you're fixing it up: which opens the question of why you didn't do anything sooner (more on that later). But this is an issue people will naturally side with you on, and you hit the right points to win the argument.
 
Conservatives: 16
 
The argument that Labour ran railtrack for the last 5 years worked quite well but to be honest you could have done more with it. Why was how Labour ran it bad, and why isn't reversing Railtrack the right policy given that? What was really needed was - as in Parliament - to address the central question of how a non-nationalised alternative would be okay or better for safety. Because that's what has people most worried when it comes to the railways.
 
Influence Points:

Evelyn Lynwood: "The Nationalisation of Railtrack is an expensive, unnecessary, bureaucratic response to tragedy that will change nothing about how the rail system works."

Richard Ross: "A rail monopoly is a rail monopoly, whether it's private or public. It's time to end the revolving door of monopolies failing or rail system and introduce some competition for a change."

Alwyn Thomas: "The Tories are looking out for their rich city friends who would pick up the contracts and make a fat stack of cash whereas Labour are looking out for commuters' safety and the national interest."
Steve
Acting Acting Head Av | Parliament | Prime Minister's Office | Cabinet Office | Treasury
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