Was privatisation a Major error?

Did the John Major Government make a huge mistake in re-privatising the railways - a move which not all Tories at the time approved?

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 5:46 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 6:55 am
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Judging by the state of the railways today, it was probably not a wise policy.

The system is bedevilled by virtually constant strikes, overcrowded, dirty and unpunctual trains, increased fares and flawed timetables. Why can’t our system be as good and smart as the impeccable Japanese railways, for instance?

No Tory Government likes to interfere in private business, but isn’t it time for Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to brandish his big stick and tell the myriad railway companies to improve their performance - or else?

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Jeremy Corbyn has vowed that a Labour Government would re-nationalise the railways if he gets the key to 10 Downing Street.

- It was inevitable that amid all this turmoil over Brexit, there is now open talk of a replacement for Theresa May at 10, Downing Street. Needless to say, Boris Johnson’s name is on many lips as a contender. He refused, the other day, to answer - except by a lot of meaningless political rigmarole - whether he would take on Mrs May.

And another former Cabinet Minister, Esther McVey has already indicated that she would probably have a go, if she was asked. And no doubt there will be others who will throw their halos into the ring.

But history tells us that it is certainly not always the perceived favourites who get the job. Michael Heseltine was odds on to succeed Margaret Thatcher, but suddenly John Major appeared out of nowhere.

- Meanwhile, Ukip is, if anything, in an even worse state than the Tory Party. Nigel Farage, former Ukip leader, has been as good as his word and quit the party over the appointment, in an advisory capacity, of hard-line right-wing activist Tommy Robinson. Farage - a man who does not merely talk, but acts as well - is considering setting up a new party as he fears Ukip turning into a latter-day BNP. He wants to recruit business people, and not merely those with an overwhelming political background. New political parties are difficult to form and invariably have a short life-span. However, Farage, with his energy, verve and commitment, might just be the man to make one succeed.