Week 34: Hero – Caroline Lucas

by Charlie_East_West on August 25, 2013

Green_Hero

This week’s hero award goes to Green MP Caroline Lucas for her anti fracking protest and subsequent arrest at a site in West Sussex where energy firm Cuadrilla is drilling, and also for her campaign for the renationalisation of railways. Her private member’s bill on this issue is due to have its second reading in October.

Caroline Lucas is everything a politician should be. She passionately believes in her political ideology. She is a courageous campaigner in the face of false and manipulative misplaced corporate consensus. She is a thorn in the side of the status quo.

I wish we had many more like her. Sadly, British politics is not clearing the space for like minded individuals to campaign, debate and scrutinise the cause and effect of policy decisions that are negatively affecting millions of people. So, we are left with a few brave individuals like Caroline Lucas to put their heads above the parapet and use their position of influence to get their message across.

Take her campaign on renationalisation. She quite rightly pointed out that “Labour now has some fantastic opportunities to get behind progressive policies that would resonate with its traditional support and with voters. One in particular is about to pull into the station. With the dreadful news last week that rail fares will go up by an average of 4.1% next year, it’s surely time for Labour to accept that privatisation of the railways was a disastrous failure that it should have reversed when it had the chance.”

Spot on. Within one paragraph she highlighted the flaw within misplaced privatisation (in the case of rail – it is estimated that £1.2bn is being lost each year as a result of fragmentation and privatisation) and she also gives a witheringly caustic opinion on Labour’s piss poor approach to opposition.

Privatising the railways has been a disaster – just like so many of our privatised industries. It has led to corporate greed, a lack of transparency, a drain on British assets towards overseas private ownership, and a complete diminishing of standards.

I have one golden rule with privatisation. Whenever there is a service that is a basic human need or right – whether it be water, electricity, education, health and transport – it must not be placed in the hands of the highest bidder. Instead, we need to revert back to nationalisation – albeit with better processes, structures, operations, logistics, finances and management in place. Get all this right and you have the beginnings of a publicly owned asset stream that would lead to huge levels of employment, exports, GDP stimulus and public and employee stakeholder ownership.

It seems that Caroline Lucas & the Greens are now the true party of the Left since New Labour and now Ed Miliband got busy becoming Tory-lite. As for the Lib Dems – they have just been sucked up in a Tory vortex and will inevitably be spat out on the other side come the election in 2015.

So, well done Caroline Lucas. She is almost the last one standing in terms of integrity, courage, conviction and believing in the right path for our country.

As a footnote to this tribute to Caroline Lucas, it was bloody heartening to see her get peacefully stuck in at the anti fracking protest in West Sussex. How many of our politicians would do this? Not many. Her peaceful protest, and subsequent ludicrous arrest was reminiscent of the glory days of Jimmy Reid or Michael Foot.

Caroline Lucas is a worthy recipient of this week’s award.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jackie_South August 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm

It doesn’t have to be like this. Having come back from Northern Ireland, I can report that the trains there were punctual, clean, modern (nicer than any I’ve used in England) and cheap. They didn’t try to rip you off like Virgin (e.g. the Wifi was free, as it is in most places outside the UK).

Of course, in Northern Ireland they never went through rail privatisation.

Renationalisation doesn’t need to be that expensive either – just wait until the franchises expire and don’t renew them. You would still need to buy the rolling stock back, but if the private sector can turn a profit after buying it, any competently-run non-private concern can break even doing so.

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George_East August 25, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Spot on Charlie and spot on Jackie. Let the franchises expire like the East Coast main line. The railway system cannot exist without massive public subsidy, are a natural monopoly and the government would have to step in if they go tits up (a la Rail Track). The idea that they are private in anything other than a profiteering way is bullshit.

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