What did you think of the Jeremy Corbyn’s backbone meme?

Over the weekend, some imaginative people from our campaigns Department wandered around with a replica of a spine, with a label on it saying “property of J Corbyn” on it and took photos of it on a bus (where it actually got a seat) in a bookshop, in a cafe and having a lovely greasy vegetarian breakfast (only one egg – surely some mistake).

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when they did that. They surely must have got some really weird looks. And if they didn’t there is something a bit wrong with the world.

It is fair to say that this has had a mixed reception on social media.

Some Lib Dems said it made them laugh.

Others felt that it wasn’t the right message to send out when we should be working across party lines to stop this Brexit nonsense.

Corbyn fans were typically robust in their disapproval.

As is often the way with our party’s campaigns, though, we aren’t the target audience. And nor are the committed Corbynista.

It’s making the point that at a critical time for our country, the leader of the so-called opposition can’t be arsed actually fighting the worst government I have ever known. On so much of this, he has enabled the Tory shenanigans, voting through Article 50 when it was clear that the Government didn’t have anything resembling a credible plan, voting through the EU Withdrawal Bill. He should be wiping the floor with May at every Prime Minister’s Questions. If a footballer scored as many own goals as he did, he would be taken off the field and never allowed to play again.

When I first saw the tweets, I admit I laughed. But then, I got to thinking that this isn’t actually right. The man is actually being really stubborn. He’s a hard Brexiteer leading a Remain leading party. His Shadow Cabinet is disproportionately full of Brexiteers because after leadership challenges and votes of no confidence, they were about the only ones he could find willing to serve.

80% of his party members and a significant proportion of his MPs are in favour of a People’s Vote to end this nonsense. And he won’t budge. We actually want less rigidity from him, not more.

Ultimately, I don’t think it’s quite accurate, but it does help build up the mood music on Corbyn being a useless leader of the opposition.

What do you think?

Update: I think Mitch Benn probably did it better.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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59 Comments

  • It’s a pointless mean-spirited ad hominem.

    Other people’s mileage obviously varied.

  • If this is what passes for ‘imaginative’ in our campaigns Department, I’m surprised we ever poll double figures in support. ,

  • David Becket 27th Jan '19 - 10:51pm

    Now then children stop playing about and get on with the serious job in hand.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 27th Jan '19 - 10:53pm

    “Our” campaigns Dept, @expats? You are a Labour supporter.

  • David Warren 27th Jan '19 - 10:57pm

    That vegetarian fry up looked good.

  • Richard Underhill 27th Jan '19 - 11:05pm

    A member of Momentum explained briefly on tv that Labour voters in Leave constituencies will like the leftish promises in the next Labour general election manifesto, such as nationalising the railways etc, and will therefore accept a Labour move to a Remain position. Labour Remain voters will continue to be Remain voters.
    Tory Leavers will continue to be Tory Leavers, but “s***f them”.
    Does this strategy not satisfy Mr. J. Corbyn?
    Does it underestimate his supporters?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 27th Jan '19 - 11:09pm

    @David Warren: One egg is never enough

  • Can’t we discredit Corbyn by arguing against his Red UKIP socialism and debunk the nonsense and danger of protectionism, nationalisation, trade unionism and statism, rather than silly stunts?

    This will convince no-one. We need to totally destroy left wing economics by exposing it in debate and argument. We may as well give up now otherwise.

    Labour members will only remove Corbyn when they learn that left wing economics is a disgrace. Then they will finally put in a mature Blairite.

  • Neil Sandison 28th Jan '19 - 6:44am

    Perhaps it might have been funnier with a red Kipper !

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 28th Jan '19 - 6:57am

    I’m afraid this is so unfair and annoying that its effect will be to make people rush to Jeremy Corbyn’s defense.
    How can Jeremy Corbyn really be accused of not opposing the government when he has voted against Theresa May’s deal, moved a motion of no confidence, and refused to even meet with Theresa May? Whether or not one agrees with him, I don’t see how he can be accused of “not having a backbone”.
    He is really just being attacked for not supporting a second referendum. But the reason he is not supporting a second referendum is not for lack of “a backbone”, but because he clearly does not agree with the idea of a second referendum. If he gave in to pressure and supported a second referendum, then *that* could be said to show a lack of “backbone”.
    On a very serious note, I feel that there is something highly insensitive and offensive in using physical disability as a metaphor for moral cowardice.

  • Graham Jeffs 28th Jan '19 - 7:57am

    Oh dear. Are we too precious to be mildly humorous? Or do I mean humerus?

  • Arnold Kiel 28th Jan '19 - 8:10am

    The problem is not the spine, but what should sit on top of it. While a skull would therefore be more appropriate, it would be even less funny.

  • John Marriott 28th Jan '19 - 8:11am

    Are we now reducing the Corbyn argument to its bare bones?

  • Steve Trevethan 28th Jan '19 - 8:17am

    Might there be a photo of a Coalition backbone?

  • William Fowler 28th Jan '19 - 8:42am

    EU laws will mute Labour’s Big State ambitions so from a Marxist point of view Corbyn is actually showing a lot of backbone by going against all those Labour Remainers…

  • Caron Lindsay 27th Jan ’19 – 10:53pm…….“Our” campaigns Dept, @expats? You are a Labour supporter……..

    Oh, dear, Caron.

    At 75 I’ve voted LibDem longer than you have been alive and voted Labour on only three occasions (1997, 2015 and 2017) and who, having watched the way “Our” party has gone could blame me for the last two?

    However, I’m not surprised at your label; in today’s party , Stimpson’s views are LibDem but mine are Labour.

  • My thought was – how can there be time to engage in childish pranks when there is a real job to be done of persuading people to think about the real European Union which we are leaving. However it is not going to happen as far as I can see, so the Prime Mister is likely to get her way.

  • Anthony Harris 28th Jan '19 - 9:13am

    I’ve received complaints from local party members about this campaign.

  • Jayne Mansfield 28th Jan '19 - 9:59am

    This is so puerile.

    There is nothing amusing about Brexit or the move to the political right in our country.

    The Liberal Democrats have done enough damage with their call for a ‘People’s Vote’ almost immediately after there had ben a ‘People’s vote’, thus entrenching the views of people who asked the question ‘ Are we not people’.

    We, as a country , have now had the opportunity to see the promises of the snake oil leave campaigners unravel, and are able to judge Mrs May and her government on her deal, but at a time when pressure and argument should be applied, I constantly meet up with people who have shut off from the whole argument, they are bored with it.

    There are lots of important issues. For example, are the general public now more educated on the issues than our elected parliamentarians than they were in 2016? How would one analyse any result if there is a low turn out and an insignificant vote for remain, or as some ask, would the vote be advisory, what effect would overturning the result of the first referendum have on trust in our future elected politicians etc. ?

    If the Liberal Democrat Party has sunk to the level of student pranks on an issue of such enormity, please butt out and leave the fight to the adults.

  • John Marriott 28th Jan '19 - 10:28am

    @Jayne Mansfield
    OK, point taken. I’ll be serious. How about this? There’s a short article on Page 9 in today’s Guardian that more or less supports the Cable view on ‘trading under WTO rules’, which continues to be parroted by Messrs Patterson, Davis, Redwood etc. ‘Two leading EU law specialists’ (OK, it IS the EU) reckon that, if we leave with no Deal, it could take up to seven years for us to trade under WTO laws, always assuming that no WTO member object to our application.

    The Guardian’s conclusion is that Article 50 needs to be extended. Now, whether you are a Remainer, a pragmatist like me, a fan of Norway Plus, the May Deal or any other ‘deal’ that might emerge from this week’s amendments in Parliament, I reckon you have a clear majority there for this to happen. So, in the words of Jean-Luc Picard, “MAKE IT SO”!

  • Yeovil Yokel 28th Jan '19 - 10:51am

    Do the ends justify the means?

  • Mark Blackburn 28th Jan '19 - 11:07am

    It’s awful. You talk about us not being the target demographic Caron but I suspect it would alienate the target demographic and put them on the defensive, having the opposite effect of that intended. Added to which it’s infantile and bitchy, and the last sort of thing people want to see from a political party purporting to be serious. All round embarrassing.

  • This will do the party absolutely no good whatsoever…this is bullying plain and simple.

  • In one word it’s ‘puerile’. I agree with David Raw on social liberalism. As the Party has always believed in a ‘mixed economy’ that would include some nationalisation or re-nationalisation and the railways would be a good start.

  • Chris Bertram 28th Jan '19 - 12:03pm

    Mitch Benn’s song is brilliant! Our effort not so much.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 28th Jan '19 - 12:57pm

    I am very unimpressed with it, far more impressed with comments here.

    I have the greatest respect for Catherine Jane Crosland and her contribution unsurprisingly is very didactic and appropriate.

    Corbyn in my view is at best a mediocrity at worst a travesty the former on Brexit, the latter on antisemitism and the thrust of the direction of his party members unable to entertain a range of views on foreign policy and Israel particularly. I condemn him for his naive and childish adulation for ghastly movements and awful regimes. I almost weep at the mainstream party I was in coming to the fore with a swathe of leadership behind the scenes from Communist backgrounds, literally!

    Yet on Brexit he is on the fence and pragmatic but that is not without backbone per se. If his background had more of the pragmatism, and recognised a range of possible views, or view possible, on Cuba, Venezuella, Iran, Russia and especially Ireland, I might have accepted the leftward stance, he might have had something, rather than little, in common with Senator Sanders, and I might be able to be keen on a broad centre left party that can win.

    As it is I feel alienated from a far left party , with more than a few members bullying a tv presenter because she calls their antisemitism what it is, and yet I am also put off by this party literally fanatical it seems, on one issue, that, in love with an organisation, for which I carry no torch, the European Union, merely the vague notion of solidarity amongst colleagues..

  • Sue Sutherland 28th Jan '19 - 1:20pm

    Only the other day I was reflecting fondly on the cartoons ALDC used to provide when leaflets were printed by printers and we used scissors and glue to cut and paste, so I would say to the campaigns department please don’t lose your sense of humour and carry on taking the mickey. It’s a good old fashioned political tactic and will always offend some people but humorous creativity raises morale. Back in the day when I used to attend conference there was always a session sending ourselves up, singing about lost deposits, for example, and the wonderful Social liberal democratiocious when that was our atrocious name for a short while.
    I hope the old Liberal humour will carry on for many years to come.

  • David Warren 28th Jan '19 - 2:40pm

    @CaronLindsay I agree you need two eggs for a proper veggie fry up and mushrooms would be good as well.

  • nvelope2003 28th Jan '19 - 2:49pm

    Sue Sutherland: Yes absolutely ! There seem to be plenty of people interested judging by the figures mentioned above and although it is rather puerile that seems to be what many people like judging by the popularity of that kind of TV and radio programme. Of course Corbyn has a very strong backbone as anyone with any sense would know because he has stood resolutely for his view of Brexit ( for it) and his view of Socialism ( the Venezualan version). He must be feeling a bit worried how that is developing but I am sure he is quietly confident like his colleagues.

    I wish we had someone as strong and resolute in their views as Jeremy Corbyn and as determined to implement them as Theresa May.

    marcstevens: Nationalisation does not seem to have done Venezuela much good but at least they may not have a housing shortage with 3 million people leaving because there is not enough food and limited medical care. By the way it is the public sector Network Rail which is responsible for by far the biggest cause of the railways’ problems but I guess you belong to the Corbyn school of political thought – do nt let the facts stand in the way of a good story !

  • nvelope2003 28th Jan '19 - 2:56pm

    Nick Collins: I rather think many young people like that sort of thing so it might very well encourage some of them to have a look at the fun offering of the Liberal Democrats !

  • As others have observed, I also find such campaign tactics far from “imaginative” in any positive sense, but petty and infantile – and also quite likely to be counter-productive. Seriously, are these the sort of student pranks that our once effective campaigns department has been reduced to? If so, this is a sad reflection of the current state of our party.

    Instead of engaging in silly abuse, we should be building a positive cross-party case for another referendum and supporting the more immediate priority of extending Article 50. It is also clear that, unless Theresa May performs a total volte face, there is no chance of securing a so-called ‘People’s Vote’ without the overwhelming support of Labour MPs – including JC and his frontbench. However frustrating we may find the ambivalence of the Labour leadership, we are more likely to win their support through challenging dialogue and persuasion rather than repetitive childish personal insults.

    Surely, it would be better to work constructively with pro-Remain/PV Labour MPs by appealing to Corbyn’s often proclaimed faith in internal Labour Party democracy – and keeping up the pressure on him to act on the wishes of his own members and supporters? Or is that approach just too “grown up” and reasonable?

  • This is just pathetic, with a heavy dose of “fellow kids”.

    And for the Lib Dems to complain about ‘backbone’ after the “we had no choice man, we had to stay in power to do all that other good stuff” pleading…

  • OnceALibDem 28th Jan '19 - 3:51pm

    Silly campagn. Which I didn’t see. So two problems there.

    This sounds like it’s from the school of coaliscious, SEFS and screwing over poor people for a plastic bag tax.

  • Is the best the Lib Dems can do ? No wonder we are single digits in the polls. We are supposed to be the grown up party not the nonsensical party. If this is an attempt at humour then I am not laughing. Please get back to sensible politics and reporting please LDV and not this kind of silliness

  • My problem is it is the wrong message to be communicating. There isn’t a perception out there that he doesn’t have a backbone – the perception for many people like Mitch picked up is that he’s ineffective, or for other’s that he’s a not so secret Brexit supporter.

    Speaking to lots of people and knocking on lots of doors, I’ve not heard anyone say he’s cowardly or running scared of the polls or the government. So I don’t know why we need to try and sell that message when there are two other perfectly good ones out there that we could be using.

    I also think separating Corbyn from the Labour party as a whole is strategically a mistake. It reinforces the idea held onto by Labour moderates that there is somehow another Labour party out there waiting in the wings when he steps down – but we all know there isn’t, Labour is riven with division on Brexit and a whole host of other issues with or without Corbyn.

  • Cheap, pathetic and seriously unfunny.

    The only commentary I saw on it was from journalists taking the proverbial out of it. No one had anything good to say about it. Which just about sums up the party at the moment :-/

  • This is a) not funny at all – accusing people of being spineless is a serious accusation.

    b) untrue, as it would be just as easy for him to go the other way – spineless people run away from “gunfire”, and he will be getting much more of that from his party by taking the stand that he has, rather than going gung ho for another referendum, which would be very popular among his close fans / disciples.

    Neither does it seem to me that persistent accusations thrown at him by us “remainers” that he has “always been a leaver, and remains one” are necessarily true. Having declared during the campaign that he was 70% in favour of the EU (which I took to be at least as heavily in favour of staying in as the “average” remainer, and probably more), AND let the cat out of the bag early by coming out in favour of free movement of people (only to be criticised, and soft-pedalled on that ever since!) his reason for the Labour leadership antics is much more likely to be because of the votes of the electorates in many Labour constituencies.

    As Sean Hagan says, let’s get on board trying to build the anti-Brexit campaign before it literally is too late.

  • Nationalisation of the railways is an extremist and immoral policy. The arguments revolve around xenophobic rhetoric against the EU and foreign state providers and class war against Sir Richard Branson, not to mention insane ludditry over destaffing.

    The last thing we need is anything being returned to the British state and the Brexit supporting rail unions are a disgrace to society. I’d sooner hand the lot over to G4S or the Chinese government than allow Corbyn to touch it.

  • @Stimpson
    I wasn’t under the impression that this thread had anything to do with nationalisation of the railways! However, in your own inimitable style, that does not prevent you from making yet another intemperate ideological intervention.

  • Paul Holmes 28th Jan '19 - 6:57pm

    I wonder how campaigns of this kind are assessed for their effectiveness? What was Mainstream Media coverage like? The main target though was Social Media so what was the measurable impact there -poor according to the Independent article linked to – but surely some kind of internal analysis is carried out by the professional staff seeking to maximise our coverage?

    Presumably somebody somewhere has an oversight of these things and asks for hard headed reports on the effectiveness of how scarce Campaigns/Press Office staff spend their time and our money?

    The Federal Board is the obvious (and constitutional) backstop on accountability and effective assessment of what is being done. Although they seemed to be completely out of the loop only a few weeks ago when the news suddenly emerged that Party finances were dire and we had to more or less immediately make a large % of staff redundant by Christmas. Do they exercise such oversight? Maybe not as the, delayed and heavily redacted, 2017 GE Report observed that no one seemed to know who was in charge of the GE campaign and who took various controversial decisions such as making Vauxhall a ‘Target Seat’ at the last minute.

  • OnceALibDem 28th Jan '19 - 8:12pm

    “I wonder how campaigns of this kind are assessed for their effectiveness?”

    You can get lots of stats on social media campaigns (including a barely believeable ‘reach’ number which seems vastly inflated.

    This enables virtually anything to be presented as a success.

  • Expats,

    Stimpson speaks for Stimpson, I see few others agreeing with him. As to yourself I suspect many of your views sit more happily with the majority of the Lib Dem membership, but you have become an apologist for Jeremy with your give him a chance. Jeremy has sat on the wall for over two years, the few times he’s fallen off he’s fallen on the” lets have Brexit” side. Why today he told his party abstain in the immigration vote and then changed his mind, he seems reluctant to nail his colours to any mast, so the question “does he have a spine” is relevant. As to asking if he has a spine is counter productive, probably not, the view of Jeremy is changing and it isn’t for the better

    New polling from Opinium commissioned by For our Future’s Sake shows the rapidly growing challenges facing the Labour Party on Brexit as its young supporters lose faith in Jeremy Corbyn.

    In just 6 months, 18-34-year-old’s approval of how Jeremy Corbyn is responding to Brexit has dropped 27 percentage points, from +13% in July to -14% this week.

    The findings from a poll of over 2000 people will raise a number of alarm bells in Labour Party Headquarters;

    https://www.opinium.co.uk/young-losing-faith-corbyn-brexit/

    As to should they have used a skull Arnold, I suspect that would be far more appropriate for one T May.

  • The reason I have brought up rail renationalisation is that others have brought up rail renationalisation as a credible policy – when it is extremist left dogma. As for foreign governments running rail franchises – good! Let’s have more of it. Opposition to it is xenophobic UKIP nonsense pure and simple.

    The coalition supported franchising the railways out to foreign governments and privatising Eurostar – the adult centre ground. Additionally they also supported the McNulty report which supported destaffing the railways. These are moderate positions, and the RMT / ASLEF / Corbyn position of mass nationalisation and staffing trains is the extremist one.

  • David Raw
    I’ve never been entirely certain that Stimpson is being entirely serious. A lot of his stuff reads like a satire on the shear absurdity of free market thinking taken to its logical conclusion. It’s not just what he says, but how he phrases it.

  • I can’t believe that people have been so po–faced about this. It is a metaphor and metaphors, I have news for people are part of the English language.

    I am angry that Brexit means far greater poverty and far worse health care for my fellow citizens. Frankly if that means pointing out that Corbyn (and indeed May) lack backbone I am up for that. Corbyn, the Labour party and (indeed May and Remain Tories) know the great harm Brexit will do our fellow citizens. Frankly he SHOULD grow a backbone and start standing up for them – as that’s what Corbyn apologists here say he does – by supporting a People’s vote and Remain. And his lack of one and by the majority of silent Tory MPs who voted Remain should be called out by us – before breakfast, before lunch and before tea.

    PS It is a METAPHOR – NOT a joke.

    And as to unsympathetic coverage – when as the mainly euro-sceptic press or Corbynistas been sympathetic to us? I appreciate the armchair activists here will heavily criticise anything that the “central” party does as that is their default position but I suspect it was more effective than 100 press releases criticising Corbyn!

  • David Raw, Glenn etc : Yes the stunt is puerile but we live in a puerile society where this sort of c..p is what many people enjoy.
    Until the 1970s a Britain in decline was run by a public school elite but then state educated people from the grammar schools began to take over and some parts of industry started to become more efficient, especially the bits owned by foreigners who appointed the best people for the job.
    Of course the public school educated elite hated this and spent their time undermining society so that they could regain control. They generated opposition to the EU to enable them to get ordinary people to support them with promises to restore our “sovereignty” and stop immigration from Europe although they failed to mention they would increase immigration from elsewhere to keep wages down. After some years of relative prosperity the old elite have regained control by abolishing grammar schools and dumbing down state education so that most things are now run by incompetents.
    Only about 2 “British” firms are either interested in or capable of running the railways or very much else so instead of moaning about foreign state railways running ours we should be grateful that there are still people capable of doing so. That does not apply to the nationalised Network Rail which is supposed to ensure that the points and signals work to enable the trains to run safely but seems unable to do so. Even on relatively quiet routes signal and points failures are frequent.
    In other parts of the public sector there is colossal waste and mismanagement as incompetent bureaucrats drawing huge salaries ignore the advice of the staff who somehow keep the system going, while their bosses buy useless equipment at very high prices which surprise surprise does not work. I leave it to your imagination why they do that. Just as in Venezuela and Cuba etc the elite are sucking the life out of the country and it seems that many Liberal Democrats are quite happy with that. No wonder the polls are so disappointing and Labour is failing to challenge this incompetent Conservative Government which is wrecking the country. We have an opportunity but timid and misguided policies will not help.

  • frankie 28th Jan ’19 – 8:34pm………Expats, Stimpson speaks for Stimpson, I see few others agreeing with him. As to yourself I suspect many of your views sit more happily with the majority of the Lib Dem membership, but you have become an apologist for Jeremy with your give him a chance………………

    Well, Stimpson may well speak for Stimpson but I note Caron, reading his views, has never denounced him as a ‘Tory’.

    As for my defence of Corbyn/Labour; I plead guilty. I just find it ironic that LDV can always find anti-Corbyn/Labour articles far more readily than either anti-Tory or even co-operation between LibDem (I’ll no longer use the term ‘us’) and Labour. Our main priority should be exposing the government’s (I use the term government in its loosest term) inability to agree on anything except remaining in power.

    Today, for instance, IMO the most important article should be about Layla Moran’s bill regarding the ‘Vagrancy Act of 1824 (a motion in which all parties, excluding the Tory government, support)…* Not a word although we have several condemning Corbyn/Labour and one about the person who, in my opinion, did the most damage to this party during the coalition years..

    * I’m sure, like the coming together of all parties in Scotland to isolate the Tories, it’ll be in the pipeline…although sadly, not deemed more important than Danny Alexander.

  • David Raw: And where did Richard Branson go to school ? You have made my point for me. A foreign railway, preferably from Japan, would have done a better job.

    I do not believe in conspiracy theories but the public school elite have always managed to do a good job when protecting their own interests especially as they have the backing of Labour, the Greens and apparently the Liberal Democrats. As Clement Attlee said when asked about the position of public schools under Labour – there will always be a place for them in our society – or words to that effect.

    It is the naive who should watch out for the men in white coats.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 29th Jan '19 - 1:38pm

    Stimpson

    The positions you take on economics are not centre ground, I am, and against the far left everywhere, burden us no more with the view , though, expressed by you, that extreme right wing positions on economic matters, are in the centre ground. It is the fact that coalition norms were decided by the farther right Thatcherite tendency, far more right wing than the lady was, and nothing to do with the Tories of One Nation ilk, that gives that coalition period a very bad flavour and taste.

    I, unlike expats, or even David Raw, criticise with gusto, Corbyn, because of his associations ad they are awful and manifold. He is in my view the worst leader they have had, far worse than the third worse, Foot, the latter a great politician, a mediocre leader. Corbyn has by accident or design ruined the centre left by allowing , with the aid of daft rules from his predecessor, the second worst leader, naive and wet, Milliband, extremism to enter the party with power behind the scenes.

    Replacing left extremism with right wing economic oriented extremism is not the answer. I favour markets, even a social market, in health care delivery, but to call nationalisation of one or two major industries left wing extremism, is to abdicate from common sense to no sense whatsoever.

  • Stephen Yolland 29th Jan '19 - 2:22pm

    I am sorry, but to my eyes it is simply un-funny and infantille. If you’re going to do humour it has to be funny. That’s the bottom line. But the real problem? Totally unworthy of a serious party. The sort of thing I’d expect from a “jolly japes” public school teenager. Who approves this stuff? I mean, really?

  • nvelope2003 29th Jan '19 - 2:55pm

    Lorenzo Cherin: It depends which industries are to be nationalised. Maybe water and gas as they are monopolies but railways are in competion with road and air transport so they are not a monopoly. The record of nationalised industry is not a good one as there are few incentives to be efficient and the Government tends to appoint its cronies to run them, rather than the best people available. Despite the supposed availability of taxpayers’ money much of the railway system was closed down either by the government or because of strikes.
    My home town which has a population of thousands and is not a tiny village has not had a railway station for over 50 years so nationalisation did not help us much. I wish I could have had a 3.1% fare rise to complain about instead of the rise in my council tax.

  • jayne mansfiled 29th Jan '19 - 3:04pm

    @ Michael 1,
    I am happy to be po-faced about it.

    When one resorts to such mockery of individual politicians instead of entering into grown up debate about one’s disagreements, it demeans the political class as a whole.

    I don’t think the public need more encouragement to view our democratically elected politicians as worthy of contempt, or indeed outright hostility.

  • As said before, many of the arguments for nationalisation (and not just railways) rely on xenophobia – particularly if foreign states own the infrastructure. It is a Red UKIP narrative which has absolutely no place in the modern world. I couldn’t care less how other countries run their rail / mail / energy networks and if they want to raise taxes to insane levels to fund this and they want a programme of full employment to staff them, then that’s up to them. If these foreign state owned companies want to bid for franchises and take over privatised infrastructure then I am afraid to oppose it is racist pure and simple – and singling out the Chinese is particularly bad.

    If the public want rail renationalisation then they should have the truth explained to them – it will require massive tax rises, the unions will have even more power to wage economic war on the public, taxpayers money will end up diverted to providing unnecessary employment and final salary pensions, free car parking and free first class travel for these people, and fares will not drop significantly. Furthermore foreign investment will be non existent. I for one do not want to pay extra taxes to fund train drivers on £70K to live the life of riley, nor for unneeded on board staff or station staff, when the drivers are being paid ample to take on the responsibilities of customer service, and public order.

    A franchised system based on the McNulty report where private companies (which may include foreign governments) are free to bid is the most effective and sensible model. This is what the EU Commission have been working towards with their rail liberalisation model, another reason why Corbyn and friends are Europhobes.

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