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Welcome & Editorial - August 2013

23 August 2013

Welcome to the August edition of the TSSA Journal, which includes a special focus on public ownership. We need to fight to keep what we have – be that East Coast, Network Rail or the London Underground – as well as win the argument for extending public control right across the network.

Opinion poll after opinion poll shows that people at large favour public ownership of the railways over for-profit franchise-holders – but that was the case even when the sell-offs first went through 20 years ago. Our task is to turn that quietly held view into a demand which cannot be ignored and the most immediate test of this will be with East Coast.

The Government want to return the franchise to a private operator as a priority, whilst Labour have pledged to keep it in public hands. Labour’s current position is that this is to provide a comparator against which for-profit franchisees can be judged – but listen to the arguments made by Labour MPs (pages 14-15) and almost all apply to each and every franchise.

It’s great to see dozens of Labour MPs and their local party members handing out TSSA-branded materials to their constituents, explaining why we should keep East Coast public. Think how much stronger a force we could be were Labour to head into the next election – just 21 months away – with a message that all franchises would be allowed to expire. A popular policy which would bring electoral support for the party, numerous gains for passengers and could transform the working lives of those who staff what should rightly be regarded as a public service.

We can all play our part – big or small – in this campaign. Make a start by thinking where you could display the poster in the centre of this Journal or write to your MP using the model letter at www.tssa.org.uk/eastcoastcampaign.

Ben Soffa, editor

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