Placeholder Image

字幕列表 影片播放

  • [BIRDS CHIRPING]

  • [TRAIN ON TRACKS]

  • People are feeling romantic about nationalisation

  • because they don't remember how awful it was.

  • The railway is a natural monopoly.

  • You don't get to choose which train you travel on,

  • which company you choose.

  • It doesn't make sense to introduce a market

  • into the railway.

  • There are two big problems with the railways at the moment,

  • the fares are too high, and they've

  • been going up relentlessly.

  • And the second problem I can put in two words.

  • Southern Rail.

  • If you look at some of the trains they've invested in,

  • they're pretty unpleasant.

  • No tables.

  • Nowhere to put your drinks down.

  • It looks like the sort of place they

  • want to hose down after the passengers have been in there.

  • I think privatisation has brought many advances.

  • Certainly one of the advances brought

  • is an enormous increase in the number of people using trains.

  • Jeremy Corbyn is a great trainspotter.

  • So he and I see completely eye to eye on the railways.

  • And I'd love to be his thin controller.

  • [LAUGHTER]

  • We didn't feel it appropriate to say

  • that the Chancellor and the Transport Secretary

  • were locked in mortal combat.

  • But that is more or less what it was.

  • [MUSIC PLAYING]

  • Britain is the birthplace of the modern railway.

  • But the network is now at the centre of a political battle.

  • 25 years ago every train, every piece of track,

  • and every station in the UK was sold off to private companies.

  • Now, with calls for re-nationalisation growing

  • louder, we're here to ask, why did we privatise the railways?

  • And was it worth it?

  • One man who was there in the engine

  • room of the great Conservative sell off,

  • stoking the fires of privatisation,

  • is now better known as a connoisseur of the railways.

  • Trains were old.

  • They were very often dirty.

  • And the most famous symbol was the curly British Rail

  • sandwich, because the standard of catering was so poor.

  • So it was universally acknowledged

  • that the nationalised industries were

  • giving an extremely poor standard of service,

  • because they had no accountability to the customer.

  • The private railway companies were taken into public

  • ownership in 1948, when Clement Attlee's Labour government

  • decided to nationalise swathes of British industry.

  • By the time John Major became prime minister in 1990,

  • the service was seen as a neglected part of the transport

  • system.

  • Ministers thought British Rail's management was asleep

  • at the wheel, and looked at ways to bring in the private sector.

  • So why did the rail privatisation

  • come quite so late?

  • I think it's partly because it was complex.

  • And partly because I don't think Margaret Thatcher particularly

  • wanted to do it.

  • I mean, it's odd, because privatisation

  • is much associated with Margaret Thatcher, and rightly so.

  • Although she moved into it a little reluctantly.

  • She was quite slow to do the first privatisations.

  • And railways and the post office, for example,

  • were way down her list.

  • So it only got going in the Major years.

  • And even then, it took a very long time.

  • When I was first working on privatisation, the plans we had

  • were not at all the plans that turned out to be.

  • Quite honestly, the principal motivation

  • was that we had an industry that we thought

  • was in terminal decline.

  • And something, almost anything, had to be done about it.

  • And this is really what I would ask you to judge privatisation

  • against.

  • I know there have been many other changes.

  • But not many people gave railways

  • a hope, even of survival in the late 1980s.

  • The railways more than survived.

  • But the journey has not been smooth.

  • Awarding contracts at the lowest possible cost

  • has depressed the quality of train services.

  • The companies complain of squeezed profit margins.

  • But passengers still seem to blame the operators,

  • as the government piles more of the costs onto the travelling

  • public.

  • As passenger fares have risen, so has public anger.

  • And the remedy that these angry commuters

  • seem to be reaching for is to take the whole system back

  • into public ownership.

  • One commuter decided he'd had enough.

  • David Boyle challenged Southern Rail's poor service

  • by organising a protest at Brighton Station

  • with his fellow passengers.

  • They were irate at the delays and cancellations resulting

  • from an ongoing dispute between the train operating

  • company and the trade unions.

  • They refused to show their tickets

  • and had a tea party instead.

  • Well, the reason I got so cross was during the strike,

  • when no one was taking responsibility for it,

  • was it felt like you were going into a restaurant.

  • They won't give you your meal properly.

  • They're late in delivering it.

  • And they still expect you to pay.

  • And what's more, they check your ticket.

  • They have the nerve to check your ticket.

  • So it seemed to me, what would Gandhi

  • do in those circumstances?

  • He would refuse to show his ticket.

  • It's a ripoff for both passengers and the public.

  • And it has failed.

  • That's why we need public ownership.

  • Cat Hobbs speaks for We Own It, a pressure group

  • campaigning for public services to be brought back

  • into government hands.

  • 76% of us believe the railways should be in public ownership.

  • And that's across all age groups.

  • We know that people really believe the railways should

  • be publicly owned.

  • And we can achieve that very easily

  • by bringing rail franchises in house

  • as they come up for renewal.

  • When you see the ridiculous chaos in Southern Railways,

  • and the huge inconvenience to the travelling public,

  • going back several months, well, of course,

  • the public are entitled not just to be annoyed, but to be very,

  • very angry.

  • If I used Southern Railway, I'd be

  • livid at the nonsense that's gone on there.

  • Another angry protester?

  • Actually, this is Malcolm Rifkind, former transport

  • secretary, and one of the architects of Britain's

  • privatised railways.

  • I basically reversed what was perceived

  • to be a conservative policy of the previous 12 years,

  • and said, I am unashamedly part of a government

  • that is committed to an expansion of the rail network.

  • And I had John Major's full support in doing that.

  • When you were secretary of state for transport,

  • you were not in agreement with the Treasury

  • on how it should be done.

  • Yes.

  • Although I had no problem with the principle of privatisation,

  • where I did depart from the view of the Chancellor

  • of the Exchequer and of the Treasury

  • was as to the separation of responsibility

  • for the infrastructure, for the railway track,

  • from the operating of the railways that use that track.

  • To divorce from the person who's running the railway

  • the ability to manage the track as well

  • in the most economic and sensible way

  • was irrational, bad economics, and bad business sense.

  • Instead of pushing British Rail into the private sector

  • as a single company, it was broken

  • into three components, track, rolling stock,

  • and train operators.

  • The real competition on the railways

  • was not from other railways.

  • It was from whether people decided to use the rail,

  • or to use air or road in order to get

  • to where they wished to go.

  • And that meant that by the time of the 1992 general election,

  • when the manifesto was being drawn up,

  • we had not yet reached a position on this.

  • This set out in here is the sort of Britain

  • I am going to see, and lead this country to

  • in the next few months.

  • In 1992, a secret memo was circulated

  • among senior conservatives discussing

  • how to privatise the railways.

  • The preferred option was to approach privatisation

  • on the basis of line of route.

  • Why?

  • Because this was easy to explain,

  • and was appealing to local regional pride,

  • and a sense of identity.

  • The memo acknowledges that this method would not

  • be the most pro-competitive solution.

  • Opinion polls showed that privatising BR

  • was popular with the public.

  • It would be important to bring about privatisation

  • in a way that captured the political trick.

  • If it meant you were adopting a system that,

  • in all other respects, was an inferior one, then

  • that would be a very bad thing to do.

  • If you devise a policy which not only appears

  • to be the best way of running the country,

  • but happens in addition to be quite popular,

  • yes, we plead guilty as politicians

  • to being attracted to that as a way of resolving whatever

  • the problem might be.

  • But now it seems that the pendulum of public support has

  • swung completely in the other direction and favours

  • the Labour solution.

  • I think the public mood is there, absolutely there, saying

  • bring our railways back into public ownership.

  • Clearly, in your view, it would be a mistake

  • to follow the Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell prescription.

  • I think it would be one of the silliest, most foolish things

  • they could do.

  • Apart from anything else, it would cost

  • billions of public expenditure.

  • There would be massive disruption for a number

  • of years, until you got back.

  • And where would you be going back to?

  • You'd be going back to a state system

  • of running the railways, which during the period that

  • had operated in this country saw a constant decline in railway

  • usage and a constant increase in public dissatisfaction

  • right up till the 1990s when we privatised.

  • So that's what you call dumb.

  • There's no question that passenger numbers

  • have gone up since the railways were privatised.

  • The number of journeys has increased from 761 million

  • in 1995 to 1.7 billion in 2016.

  • But most of this is concentrated around London.

  • Not everyone thinks this is fair.

  • I'm Lilian Greenwood.

  • I'm the Labour MP for Nottingham South.

  • And I chair the Commons Transport Select Committee.

  • We're here on this train, speeding

  • north to your constituency in Nottingham.

  • And clearly, there's an enormous amount of investment

  • that has gone into the railway system.

  • I mean, you could almost say, the railways

  • have never had it so good.

  • There's a lot more public money going in now

  • than there was at the time when we

  • had British Rail as a nationalised rail industry.

  • I think that's one of the things that

  • perhaps is a concern about franchising on its own terms.

  • It was meant to lead to cheaper fares, a more

  • efficient railway, requiring less taxpayer subsidy.

  • And actually, those things haven't been delivered.

  • So how much money does the UK government

  • spend subsidising each of the train companies?

  • Well, it depends.

  • Between 2016 and 2017 all of them

  • received more funds than they contributed to the government,

  • with two notable exceptions, Virgin Trains East

  • Coast and South West Trains.

  • South West Trains lost its franchise.

  • And Virgin Trains East Coast has been flirting with collapse.

  • We ended up taking a system and throwing it

  • into the air with the infrastructure

  • pushed off into Railtrack a privatised infrastructure

  • company, losing lots of the engineering and expertise.

  • We have the train operations put into 25 different franchises,

  • many more than there are now.

  • And, of course, the rolling stock