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Will your vote make a difference?

Wednesday, June 3 2009

plane_v_train

Still from Campaign for Better Transport video,
Train v plane: fair fight?

(Click picture to go to campaign website.)

UK train fares are the most expensive in Europe and the Government wants to make passengers pay even more. We’re asking the Government to tax the fuel used for domestic flights – which would make up for any money lost by reduced train fares.

Campaign for Better Transport are running a very nifty viral marketing campaign to highlight that competition between planes and trains does not take place on a level playing field. (Hat tip to the Fact Compiler.) Do click on the link and send details of the CfBT campaign to a couple of your friends.

In the UK it is not just planes that enjoy an unfair advantage, competition between road and rail is also heavily skewed against rail.  The infrastructure owner, Network Rail is saddled with servicing a burgeoning debt – currently at £22 billion – the cost of which appears in NR accounts – and has to be paid for by the passenger. The financing of the national road network is handled much more favourably. When was the last time that you heard about the Highways Agency debt?

Which brings me to the European elections. (If you don’t live in the UK you may want to skip the rest of today’s post.) Which party to vote for? Labour – a party that promised to do something about the pig’s breakfast that the Conservatives made of the railways and then lost its nerve? The Conservatives? They have never been friends of rail transport and made the mess in the first place. Nowadays they talk about HS2 and no third runway at Heathrow – but how much of their new green agenda is just ‘green wash’ which will vanish into thin air when they form the next government. Liberal Democrats? They do have a consistent pro public transport stance. Voting Liberal Democrat would be a cautious pro-rail voter’s choice.

However, if you feel really fed up with the cosy gentlemen’s club that UK party politics has become, why not give all the mainstream parties a kick up the backside and vote Green? Caroline Lucas, the leader of the party, has consistently campaigned against all the tax breaks enjoyed by the airlines, which brings me neatly back to to the beginning of this post. UK Greens have campaigned hard for years for better public transport and a better deal for passengers. As MEPs, unlike their Westminster counterparts, are elected by proportional representation, all votes count. No votes for a Green Party candidate are wasted. Go on, vote Green and signal to the British political establishment that enough is enough.

Dyspozytor

PS. A terrifying picture of what rule by commissar is doing to Britain.

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