This letter from "the Independent" of 19 February is inspired
"Sir: Now that the Government has crossed the nationalisation Rubicon, can we please have our railways back?
Similarly the letter in support of High-speed trains (Saturday 23 February) using the Madrid – Barcelona example, by Justin Brodie, demonstrates a logical clarity of thinking that our Conservative and Labour Governments have lacked throughout the last two decades and more. They are obsessed even now with building new roads – and local and national politicians support every populist local road scheme – but never any popular campaign for the cheap rail links that are badly needed. True there have been some successes and a few improvements by Governments and transport authorities but this is one area where politicians and nimbys and motorists alike have built a flawed concrete transport network when other European countries steam ahead with public transport. Let's hope for better in the next two decades.
In 1997 as Liberal Democrat candidate in the safe Labour seat of Bootle I challenged Labour to ditch Tory policy on privatisation of the railways and support (as I did) renationalisation. It made the "Bootle Times" front page but Labour were so obsessed with the support of big business that they wouldn't even scupper this Tory policy and thus sat there while the railways were set back years. Thankfully the needed West Coast mainline improvements have been made but what about a Channel Tunnel link for example – why is that always ignored for us in the North?