Saturday, 13 April 2019

Alan Sugar knows nothing about the British rail system, and even less about communism


Labour are moving ahead in most of the polls and suddenly the political right are shrieking frightened and incoherent abuse all over the Internet again.

Alan Sugar's furious accusation that Jeremy Corbyn is a "communist idiot" because of Labour's policy of renationalising the UK rail network is a case in point.

The first thing to note is that a significant majority of British people actually want the railways renationalised.

If it's "communism" to want vital infrastructure and public services like the rail network to be run on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of the British people and the British economy, then a clear majority of Brits are a bunch of communist idiots by Alan Sugar's warped definition.

That's the problem with furiously screeching "communism" at popular and sensible centre-left democratic socialist policies like public ownership of the railways. The more that venal right-wing propagandists like Alan Sugar do it, the more they actually make communism look like a good idea!

Then there's Sugar's absurd claim that private ownership of rail franchises has improved the railways, when in reality Britain has an increasingly expensive and overcrowded rail network, with very low levels of investment, and many services outside London still operating clapped out old trains that were built before privatisation in 1994!

And what's worse is that this expensive, over-crowded, under-invested farce of a system comes at the cost of far higher public subsidies than it used to cost to run the entirety of British Rail before privatisation!

The British pubic pay twice as much to support the railways today as we did when it was a not-for-profit public service, all just to allow the likes of Richard Branson to siphon £300 million out of the system in private profits.

It's quite incredible to try to credit the people guilty of ripping vast profits out of the system for any marginal improvements in the system, when any taxpayer-funded improvements over the last 25 years have happened despite the private profiteers, not because of them.

Then there's the problem that if Alan Sugar believes it's "communist" to have publicly owned railways, then Germany, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Italy, Belgium, Singapore, Ireland, and even Northern Ireland must all be communist states!

Who knew that "communism" was actually so commonplace?

Then there's the fact that 74% of the UK rail network are actually operated by the state rail companies of other countries like the Netherlands, France, Germany, Singapore, Hong Kong, and China.

If supporting public ownership of the railways makes someone a "communist", then supporting the current UK franchising model (which allows foreign state-ownership but bars the UK from bidding to run its own railways) obviously makes the likes of Alan Sugar a supporter of foreign communism!

As a self-appointed cheerleader for the current rail franchising model Alan Sugar believes that UK should be the only state on earth that is barred from running UK rail services, while the state rail companies of ... errr ... "communist" countries like Germany, France, the Netherlands and Singapore should be allowed to run British rail franchises!

See what a pickle people get themselves into when they wantonly lob accusations of "communism" around without even bothering to acquaint themselves with the absolutely basic facts first?

Once we see the screeching abuse of people like Alan Sugar in the context of some actual facts about the UK rail system it's beyond obvious that he's got an incredible amount of brass neck to be calling anyone else an "idiot", and that he resorts to such venal abuse and hyperbolic accusations because he simply hasn't got the intellect or knowledge to contest the argument with stuff like facts and evidence.

But instead of getting upset at this kind of vitriolic abuse, the majority of us who want decent not-for-profit public services that are run for the benefit of the British people and the British economy should be delighted that the only arguments that supporters of the private profiteers can muster are vitriol, abuse, fact-aversion, hyperbole, and glaring logical incoherence.


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13 comments:

Jason said...

I'm guessing Alan Sugar spends more time in helicopters than on trains.

Anonymous said...

The same sort of people who kick off about Labour's lack of patriotism, are the same sort who bizarrely have no issue with foreign governments owning / running national infrastructure / essential public services.

If state ownership of the railways is communist, then presumably state ownership of any public service is communist - which means Sugar must think that the police forces, fire brigades, motorways and armed forces are Stalinist.

Anonymous said...

Singapore and Japan don't have nationalised rail service. Japan is also wholly privatized and one of, if not the most, efficient worldwide. Oh dear Thomas.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, yersel.

You fail to mention that the construction and technological research side, the bit that actually keeps it moving and world leading, is still fully state owned.

Anonymous said...

...regarding Japan.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear yourself etc al...

It's not, the innovation for rail transportation is funded and implemented by the seven major companies that make up Japanese rail as well as the smaller subsidery companies that run the smaller tracks. The state intervenes as a mediator between these companies with minimal subsidy.

Even I'd your description were true... you still have to deal with the fact that the ra system is privately owned itself and world leading.

Btw, you are aware UK rail tracks are nationally owned? They're so bad and in such a state if disrepair they're one if the reasons (besides corporatism from both political parties) rail networks have to be subsidised. After all, those private companies loose profits because of the management by the state.

Lol, if you're not willing to look at the criticisms of nationalising something you're just asking for it to be badly run. Do some research.

Anonymous said...

John McDonnell says hes a communist. Hed be chancellor of the exchequer if labour won a g.e.

David Parry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Parry said...


'It's not, the innovation for rail transportation is funded and implemented by the seven major companies that make up Japanese rail'

It isn't seven private companies that own Japan's rail system. It's a mixture of private corporations and regional enterprises owned partially or wholly by the state at a municipal level. Far from Japan's system being entirely private, as you so falsely claimed earlier, regional authorities own a significant chunk of the Japanese rail system.

'They're so bad and in such a state if disrepair they're one if the reasons (besides corporatism from both political parties) rail networks have to be subsidised.'

No, the reason why rail networks have to be subsidised is because it simply isn't profitable to run a national railway system. Also, however bad Network Rail may be, the dog's breakfast that was Railtrack was far, far worse.

David Parry said...


I should probably note that I don't particularly have a horse in this race. Being an anarchist, I'd far prefer a rail system that was run by its workers through participatory democracy, placing decision-making power in the hands of the real experts (obviously with input from passengers), as opposed to corporate bureaucrats, whether state or private.

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