Tag Archives: own

UK railway services are now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries

Could there be a better argument to support Labour’s call for train services to be re-nationalised?

British rail commuters pay the highest prices in Europe to use trains that are almost exclusively run by European state operators.

We are subsidising services in their countries.

If our railways were re-nationalised, the money we pay would flow into UK state coffers. From there it could be used to, possibly, improve the service and reduce prices.

Don’t you think that would be a better way?

With rail fares set to rise again by as much as 2.8 per cent, the debate over whether the UK should renationalise the railways – which Labour made a 2017 manifesto pledge – has already reared its head.

This week the Trades Union Congress renewed its call for renationalisation, saying doing so would lead to lower ticket prices.

“We’re already paying the highest ticket prices in Europe to travel on overcrowded and understaffed trains,” the organisation’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said.

[But] extensive state-ownership exists among UK rail operators, it just doesn’t involve the British state.

Here’s the full list:

c2c: Italian state

Chiltern: German state

Caledonian sleeper: PRIVATE

CrossCountry: German state

East Midlands: Dutch state

Eurostar: French state

Gatwick Express: French state

Grand Central: German state

Great Northern: French state

GWR: PRIVATE

Greater Anglia: Dutch state

Heathrow Express: PRIVATE

Hull Trains: PRIVATE

LNER: British state

London Northwestern Railway: Dutch state

London Overground: German state

London Underground: British state

Merseyrail: Dutch state

Northern: German state

Northern Ireland Railways: British state

Scotrail: Dutch state

South Western Railway: Hong Kong state

Southeastern: French state

Southern: French state

Stansted Express: Dutch state

TfL rail: Hong Kong state

Thameslink: French state

TransPennine Express: PRIVATE

Transport for Wales: French state

West Coast: Italian state

West Midlands Railway: Dutch state

Source: Trains on UK railways now almost entirely state-owned – by foreign countries | The Independent

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Mealy-mouthed, lying politics: Tories congratulate themselves for a law that has nothing to do with them

Liar: Theresa May merrily passes off EU directives as her own laws.

How will the Conservative Government be able to pat itself on the back for implementing new laws that help people, after Brexit has happened and the organisation imposing those laws – The European Union – no longer has any power in the UK?

And will it matter, considering the fact that many of us have already cottoned on to what they have been doing?

The latest wheeze was the implementation of an EU directive to protect package holidaymakers, which the Tories announced as if it were their own:

The backlash was immediate:

The Mirror article is handy as it carries a list of other EU directives that Tories have shamelessly passed off as their own.

But be warned: Although we are wise to this trick, many people may not be. As Tom Pride stated (above), around 40 per cent of the UK electorate still think voting Conservative is a good idea.

So please, if you happen to meet one of these deluded individuals, introduce them to this handy rule of thumb:

If a new law makes you worse-off, it was probably introduced by the Conservatives. If it actually helps you, it most likely came from somewhere else.


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Call for inquiry over foreign state-owned firms taking over UK rail services Unemployed in Tyne and Wear

UNTyne&Wear brings us the following, originally in the Hartlepool Mail:

Easington  MP Grahame Morris has called on Parliament to launch an inquiry into foreign state-owned companies owning UK rail firms.

Mr Morris said British commuters, who suffer the highest rail prices in Europe, are subsidising foreign passengers.

MPs from Parliament’s rail group have called for an urgent inquiry.

It follows a decision to award the Scotrail franchise to Dutch state-owned firm Abellio, and also research showed 20 of the UK’s 27 private rail services are owned by foreign state-owned or backed railways.

Mr Morris said British commuters have experienced substandard services for decades adding:

Often the very same operators that are using British commuters as cash cows are foreign state-owned companies that then hold down fares and improve services back in their own countries.

“That British commuters are expected to both suffer the failure of rail privatisation as well as subsidise commuters in Holland, Germany and France adds insult to injury.”

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Here’s why Cameron’s so quiet about the Chinese crackdown on demonstrations. They own him – Pride’s Purge

So much for democracy: Reports say China's rulers have blocked Instagram in a bid to stop images of Hong Kong riot police unloading canisters of pepper spray and tear gas into the faces of peaceful demonstrators - so here's a nice shot of demonstrators handing out pro-democracy leaflets instead.

So much for democracy: Reports say China’s rulers have blocked Instagram in a bid to stop images of Hong Kong riot police unloading canisters of pepper spray and tear gas into the faces of peaceful demonstrators – so here’s a nice shot of demonstrators handing out pro-democracy leaflets instead.

Hot on the heels of Vox Political‘s article stating that the Conservatives have been selling off the UK’s most important infrastructure to anyone with something that can be used as currency in their pocket comes this confirmation from Pride’s Purge:

The only official protest about the democracy demonstrations taking place in China at the moment has come from Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

Not a peep from Cameron or Osborne.

Could this be connected to the fact that Cameron and Osborne have been selling off our essential infrastructure to the Chinese, who now own large parts of our water, electricity and gas supplies?

In December last year Cameron went to China, to persuade the Chinese government to buy up invest in Britain.

Chinese organisations and businesses with close links to the Chinese Communist leadership have already large stakes and controlling interests in huge parts of UK essential infrastructure such as water, gas, electricity, telecommunications and transport.

Read the rest on Pride’s Purge. The article concludes:

“If so many people are concerned about the loss of UK sovereignty to the EU – shouldn’t we be having a referendum on the loss of our sovereignty to the Chinese too?”

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Government justifies new Remploy closures. Public doesn’t believe a word of it.

Fight for dignity: When the government announced in March last year that 36 Remploy factories would close, unions campaigned alongside workers in a bid to help them maintain the dignity they keep by holding a job and paying their way.

Fight for dignity: When the government announced in March last year that 36 Remploy factories would close, unions campaigned alongside workers in a bid to help them maintain the dignity they keep by holding a job and paying their way.

Today we learned that the last remaining Remploy factories in Scotland are to close, in what I can’t help thinking is a last act of spite by the Conservatives against disabled people living north of the border.

Employees at the Marine and Frontline Textile factories at Leven, Cowdenbeath, Stirling, Dundee and Clydebank will be thrown onto the dole, albeit with help from the government’s funded package to help them get into mainstream employment.

We have no idea how well this package works, despite its having been in use since March last year, when Maria Miller announced the government was closing 36 of what were then 54 Remploy factories. A BBC article in May stated that the DWP was “aware of” 351 former employees who have found new jobs – fewer than a third of the laid-off workforce. We don’t know whether any of those jobs were a result of help from the government package.

Also facing the dole are disabled workers at Packaging factories in Norwich, Portsmouth, Burnley and Sunderland, bringing the total number of job losses up to 234.

Employees were well aware of the situation – an announcement before Christmas made it clear that 875 jobs were at risk, on top of the 1,700 axed in March last year, with only an automotive business and (ironically) employment services remaining safe.

The Frontline and Packaging factories were slated for closure then, and the marine textiles business was described at the time as making “significant losses” despite an established market position. It was not considered sellable as a going concern.

It was, therefore, surprising to hear Esther McVey say, in a statement today, that there had been “considerable interest” in the Scottish factories.

She went on to say Remploy “did not receive a Best and Final Offer for these businesses as part of the commercial process”. Why not?

And she added that there were no viable bids for Packaging. This implies that there were bids, and begs the question: What was wrong with them?

Also, on the day the government announced new help for businesses considering a change to employee-ownership or co-operative status, was this never considered for the Remploy factories? If not, why not?

That question becomes urgent when one considers the following, again from Ms McVey’s speech: “Businesses like textiles which didn’t have commercial interest and closed afterwards re-opened as social enterprises or new businesses, and in fact nine sites have been sold on that basis. This has resulted in employment opportunities for original employees.

“For example, businesses have opened under new ownership in the Bolton and Wigan factory premises, who are looking to create up to 35 job opportunities for disabled people, including former Remploy employees.

“In addition Remploy have confirmed already they have received an asset bid from a Social Enterprise organisation for the purchase of assets from within the Textiles business. This may have the potential to create employment opportunities for disabled people.”

If that is the case, they why has the government not considered restructuring the businesses along these lines, and leaving them to the employees – to manage as they will?

After all, according to the same government which is planning to close these factories without having considered this way forward for them, “Employee-owned businesses enjoy greater staff retention, innovation and motivation than non-employee owned businesses and, in turn, these deliver wider economic benefits including increased productivity, profitability and more resilience to economic shocks”.

All of the above makes it very hard to believe another statement made by Ms McVey: “We have always made it clear that this is about supporting the individuals in the factories, and disabled people across the country. £50 million was going into funding failing factories which meant £50 million not available to support disabled people across the country.”

Unfortunately for her, we know that this government has been cutting support for the disabled, partly by refusing them benefits, pretending that they are lying or deluded about their disabilities.

And her claim that, “As announced in the Spending Review, the Government further committed to continuing to support disabled people to move into, remain in, and progress in work” rings hollow when one considers the appalling result of the government’s work programme for people on Employment and Support Allowance.

It managed to hit only one-third of its target. Only 5.5 per cent of people on ESA were moved into employment via the work programme, compared with an expectation that 15 per cent of them would have, if they had been left to their own devices (the targets are based on numbers of people who would otherwise get work, plus 10 per cent. The work programme’s result – 5.5 per cent – is significantly lower than its target of 16.5 per cent).

All of this, coupled with the possibility of Scotland seceding from the Union after next year’s referendum, points to the possibility that the Conservatives are using Remploy as one last, great act of spite for our cousins north of the border.

I would just like to make it clear that this has nothing to do with me. I neither support nor condone it and I think more could have been done to find a fruitful way forward.

Scottish people always saw through the Conservatives – look at the way they reacted to the imposition of the Poll Tax, back in 1989 or thereabouts.

I fear for the rest of the UK if we should lose that perspective after the referendum.