Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1157/33371
From The Socialist, November 24, 2021
Iain Dalton, Socialist Party of Yorkshire
In an announcement that surprised no one on November 18, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced that the HS2 east route from Birmingham to Leeds would be canceled. The prolonged death of this part of the project will be the source of elation for some of the activists along the route.
The planned new Northern Powerhouse Rail line between Leeds and Manchester was also cut. This loss will be felt most strongly, especially by anyone unlucky enough to take this route during rush hour. Hopes that Bradford, the UK’s seventh largest city and the least connected rail hub, would be on such a new line have been dashed.
Instead, the government came up with a mishmash of sections of new line, electrification, modernization and signaling of existing lines. Many of the supposedly new proposals simply reinstated previously abandoned plans, such as the contactless ticketing system.
In his presentation of the ill-named “Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands” (IRP), Boris Johnson even blurted out that the now abandoned plans cost Â£ 185bn, nearly double the Â£ 96bn that the government will now invest.
After years of Conservatives talking about the importance of the ânorth powerhouseâ, the reality is more like a northern nursing home. It becomes clear that Johnson’s “leveling up” is just another broken promise.
There will be deep skepticism as to whether the genuinely new and limited projects promised will be delivered. Leeds is promised a public transport system, but the government report gives little confidence. He cannot decide whether the initial investment is worth Â£ 100million or Â£ 200million.
The most recent trolleybus plans were scrapped amid opposition – residents felt they primarily served park and ride lots for commuters outside of Leeds, with limited stops benefiting those in the city , while local bus services have reportedly been wiped out.
The ‘integration’ of the plan is limited by the fragmented nature of the UK rail system with more than 20 different operators, the plethora of separate local bus operating companies, as well as the Tories’ ‘Covid austerity’ limiting their readiness to make major investments.
The starting point of a true integrated transport plan should be to move the different parts of the transport network into public ownership, out of the hands of private profit-making companies.
The elected representatives of the railway workers and their unions, alongside the commuters and the labor movement at large, should be brought together to democratically discuss what investments to make and where.
Linked to a broader socialist plan based on democratic public ownership of the decisive parts of the economy, transport could be much more closely integrated with the real needs of people traveling for work and leisure, and of the environment.
In The Socialist from November 24, 2021:
Workers’ action can defeat weak and divided conservatives
The working class strangled by price hikes and wage cuts
Poorest retirees swindled by the ceiling on social benefits
Tories drive a nail into triple-locked pension coffin
Cancellation of the East line of HS2: Fight for a workers’ plan for public transport
The history of cricket of racism and elitism
Midwives March Against Dangerous Staff and For Adequate Funding
Tories responsible for NHS staff shortages
Socialism 2021: an unwavering determination to change society
What did you think of Socialisme 2021?
Support the walkout of university workers on wages and pensions
RMT to strike in London night tube dispute
Panasonic workers strike against wage freeze
Tesco warehouse workers vote strike against wages
Wage victory for Sage nursing home workers
Historic victory of Indian farmers
Sudan: âHamdok sold the revolution!
USA: Right-wing vigilante Rittenhouse acquitted – capitalist courts will not defend the working class!
Violence against women
End sexism and violence against women
History of the working class
Chartism: the first workers’ movement in the world
The fight for accessible workplaces and an inclusive society
Obituary: Ted Austin (1940-2021) – socialist pillar of the working class
Victory! Hackney Children’s Centers Saved!
West Sussex: payments for council bosses, cuts for us
Newham: Durning Hall – another shameful act of labor gentrification
Slough: cuts to adult services will leave homeless people vulnerable
Northampton: phony consultation to hide cuts
Sell ââthe socialist
The Socialist November 24, 2021 |
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