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asperity

Rail Nationalisation

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Don't think it reflects directly on the principle of nationalisation Asp; this could happen with private companies.   The French have a strong Trade Union culture, similar to the UK prior to the demise of the NUM, and Macron simply wants to break up organised labour in order reduce expenditure on (what he deems) expensive conditions for workers. So, no doubt, the French are in for a trial of strength between these two opposing forces.      :ph34r:

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They had a showdown in the 1990s, the unions won.

If Corbyn gets into No.10 (PTT), the rail unions will want to stamp their authority on any rail nationalisation plans. Welcome (back) to the 20th century.

 

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:D    Well now they're in for another one, which won't help the credibility of France or the EU.   Not just the rail unions Asp; all unions in the new public sector !   Believe Jeremy has sent Dianne on a mission to count the money trees !     :D

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My point really is that rail nationalisation isn't the Holy Grail that Corbyn and Co paint it as.

Dianne is back with the result: There are twelventy six millions of them.

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:D Best send her back again, we'll need billions rather than millions, she may have miscounted though  !     :D

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Getting back on the rails; I notice that HMG refunds the rail companies if they reduce services due to bad weather;  why ?    HMG aren't responsible for the weather and surely this provides an incentive to cut services ?       :wacko:

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HMG is responsible for networkrail who are tasked with maintaining the tracks. If the tracks are not available to run trains on then the rail companies can claim compensation from them. Does not matter what the problem is caused by. cancellations and delays mean that the rail companies are losing money and so can claim compensation from network rail and ultimately HMG.

(They can also claim compensation if a train is over one minute late due to track or signalling problems.)

Aparently between 2011 and 2017 this amounted to approx £2bn (for the same period passengers were paid £187m for the same delays etc.)

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Nationalisation is a terrible idea for the problem of costs due to delay attribution. At the moment whilst NR are liable for operational costs caused by them the long term effect is that they put up access charges as far as they can to recover the losses. If railway is nationalised neither the operators or Network Rail have an incentive to improve, the taxpayer just bears the costs + inflation every year. That incentive to improve is how the privatised railway has carried more passenger on less track than BR ever could.

Before anyone quote the problems at East Coast, Stagecoach are paying their promised amounts to the government. However their losses are so large that if they are not relieved of that burden the East Coast will bankrupt the whole company, leaving millions without Railway or bus services in large parts of the country. Government pretty well can't see the point of having to buy all those buses and renationalise much of Scotland's bus services under the noses of the Scottish government. Can you imaging Sturgeons whining if she had to pay because the Department of Transport wanted to wreak vengeance on Stagecoach?

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There are two ways to pay for our rail infrastructure; either the tax-payer pays or the rail user pays, or a combination of both.  In the case of private companies, a proportion of revenues will be paid out in profits to share-holders, not necessarily a motive in the case of a public service, after all, we don't expect the NHS to make a profit (not yet anyway)   :ph34r:

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2 hours ago, observer said:

  In the case of private companies, a proportion of revenues will be paid out in profits to share-holders, not necessarily a motive in the case of a public service, after all, we don't expect the NHS to make a profit (not yet anyway)   :ph34r:

Don't you mean that shareholders will get paid a dividend IF the private company makes a profit? That is, actually, the motivation for buying shares in a company you know, the expectation that it will make a profit and that your shareholding will yield a dividend. If there's no profit, or if there's a loss, the shareholders lose. In case of the enterprise being government owned the taxpayer loses (can you point me in the direction of a nationalised industry that made a profit?)

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That's the whole point, they're not there "to make a profit", but deliver a public service;   we don't ask if the Police, Army, NHS etc are making a profit do we ?    An efficient transport infrastructure is essential to National economic wellbeing, and in aiding the economy, it should provide means for Gov to sustain it.    :ph34r: 

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But if it doesn't make a profit there is no money available for maintenance and improvement except from the taxpayer. And that depends on the government releasing those funds and, as we well know, government always has more pressing needs for that money than trains. That's why BR was so abysmal at the end, lack of investment by the owner - the government. Why anybody would think nationalisation would work this time is a mystery. It's like Communism - it always fails but people keep trying it. It's a form of mass delusion.

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Lack of investment can apply whether nationalised or private, ask the Tata steel workers !    The difference is, that as share holders, (the tax-payer) can change the Board of Directors (the Gov) at an election.    As for Communism, albeit it in name only, it seems to be working for China !    :ph34r:

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So here is the opposite example to Tata; In 1980 the UK telephone network was using old electromechanical and some semi-electronic exchanges and there was a shortage of copper cable investment that meant that new customer had to rely on shared service where two home had to share a pair of wires and could overhear each other. This situation arose because every time a Postmaster General asked for new funds the response was to question how many hospital beds could be bought with that money! The service cost a lot to run and charges were high because of that and had the effect of reducing demand. This set of circumstances cause business costs to be higher than necessary with the burden on industry being a higher proportion of GDP than for our international competitors.

That was why BT was privatised and the network was the first large one in the world to go fully digital. Call charges fell and call volumes increased dramatically as  the burden on industry fell. The block on investment was the old bug-bear, the public sector borrowing requirement which always gets you in the end unless you have that magic money tree.

On rail we need investment continuously on signalling (to increase the number of trains that can be run), more train paths to London ( hence doubling the length of long distance trains and diverting them to HS2, thereby freeing off capacity for growth on the existing network), new rolling stock and electrification to reduce the places where we rely on diesel. So much to do that if the railway had to compete in government with the voracious NHS and the capital needed to redevelop hospital estate to reduce running costs, the railway would be at the back of the queue. If it is privatised for its owners the railway is never at the back of the queue, that is why nationalisation is wrong for the railways. I opposed it when the Mayor government did it but I now believe I was wrong it needs to avoid the dead hand of the treasury and all of the recent problems with franchises have been caused by treasury over-milking the operator and not ensuring the assumed and agreed improvements to infrastructure are delivered on time and on cost by the part of the railway that is nationalised.

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Poor example Obs. It was in the interests of Tata for British steel plants to fail because theirs is a worldwide business so they were, in effect, competing with themselves. So the logical thing for Tata was to get rid of the poorly competing parts of their business.

And what Confused says. I think rail privatisation was badly done, and there's room for improvement. But rail services today are vastly better than in the days of nationalisation, though as a committed motorist you've probably never noticed!

As for China being Communist, I was there when it was Communist in 1968 and it wasn't pleasant. Perhaps the Chinese have found a way to make Communism palatable, but it isn't actually being run on strict Communist lines, all the capitalist Chinese living there see to that!

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1 hour ago, asperity said:

Poor example Obs. It was in the interests of Tata for British steel plants to fail because theirs is a worldwide business so they were, in effect, competing with themselves. So the logical thing for Tata was to get rid of the poorly competing parts of their business.

And what Confused says. I think rail privatisation was badly done, and there's room for improvement. But rail services today are vastly better than in the days of nationalisation, though as a committed motorist you've probably never noticed!

As for China being Communist, I was there when it was Communist in 1968 and it wasn't pleasant. Perhaps the Chinese have found a way to make Communism palatable, but it isn't actually being run on strict Communist lines, all the capitalist Chinese living there see to that!

Tata: what you describe is called asset stripping Asp, by global companies that have no interest in the countries in which they operate other than profit.     Well, I couldn't, or rather wouldn't afford the fare to London; but on those rare occasions I've tried the Liverpool - Manchester line; it's been standing room only.   China is what is termed a State Capitalist Nation,  with little democratic input, which allows the ruling elite to make long term decisions, and impose economic plans. this has made them the 2nd largest economy and the 3rd largest super-power.  However, their experiment with capitalism has widened their domestic wealth gap, something they now have to wrestle with.  As Trump starts putting America First, by imposing tariffs on foreign steel, in order to protect his base supporters - we're no doubt in for a tariff war; where cheap labour and subsidised production, may not continue it's global supremacy.      :ph34r:

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The Chinese wealth gap is a prime example of where people have the concept wrong. The wealth gap is not because the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, but rather that everyone is getting richer but at a different rate. So the poor are nowhere near as poor as they were 50 years ago (indeed world poverty is decreasing rapidly day by day) even though the rich are comparatively richer.

Thank you for endorsing my opinion that your Tata example was a poor one.

Try getting a train at non-peak hours, I'm sure that you aren't so busy you have to use a commuter train. I personally don't go to London because it's a horrible town.

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I would hope no one is as poor as they were 50 years ago;  it's called progress. However, the concept is relative, so where there are riches, you will get relative poverty, look no further than the richest Nation on Earth, the USA.    :ph34r:

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Of course it's relative Obs, that's the whole point! The rich are richer and the poor are being lifted out of poverty all around the world in record numbers. This is thanks to capitalism by the way not socialism which would have everybody equally poor. (Well when I say "everybody" of course, I mean everybody except the elite who somehow always manage to end up with vast amounts of wealth, and live in splendour).

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Errm, not quite Asp:   we have record numbers of rough sleepers in the UK, and they're not all migrants;  I would think lacking a roof over one's head, afraid to heat it if you have, and visiting food banks; doesn't correspond to being "lifted out of poverty".       :rolleyes:    

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I'm not talking about this tiny part of the world, I'm talking about true poverty in the big wide world, where it is futile for people to beg because the people they're begging from have nothing to give.

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