Momentum have lost track of reality on Scotrail
Did you see this Momentum video criticising the Scottish Government for awarding the Scottish rail franchise to a Dutch state owned company?
It ends with the question,
How did that happen?
The answer is fairly simple.
It happened because EU law requires the franchise to go out to tender and the Westminster controlled Railways ACT 1993 forbids UK public bodies from bidding.
You would think Momentum could use a search engine.
Interestingly, the party Momentum want you to vote for have done nothing to allow the Scottish Government to run the railways. In contrast, the party who they demonise in the video have recently won Scotland that power.
The 1993 Railways Act predates the Scottish Parliament and 13 years of Labour government at Westminster did nothing to change the law.
When Labour ran Scotland, they did not deliver the power to have a publically run railway despite being pressured by the SNP on the topic.
Last year Scotland finally gained the power to have a railway run by a public body.
The Smith Commission, which was set up as a direct result of the Scottish people spooking the establishment by nearly voting for independence, recommended that Scotland be granted the power.
It was included in the Scotland Act 2016.
Guess what though. Labour’s submission to the Smith Commission fell far short of requesting that power.
The Scottish Government on the other-hand requested full control over all transport that wasn’t already devolved.
So, it was the SNP and the threat of independence and nothing to do with Labour that actually secured the possibility of a publicly run railway in Scotland.
Contracts still have to go out to tender, but as Sturgeon made clear to the Scottish Trade Union Congress last year.
Our manifesto will make clear that a re-elected SNP government will use new powers to change the law to ensure that in future a Scottish public sector body will be able to bid to run Scotland’s railways
Which all begs the question, what exactly is Momentum playing at?
We wrote recently that there isn’t much between Corbyn’s Labour and the SNP in terms of policy.
Yet we argued that the SNP is more of radical force as they actually pose an existential threat to the UK establishment. This is something you need to do in order to force real and meaningful change of a system that will resist you every step of the way. As noted above, the fact that Scotland can now have a publicly run rail service was a direct consequence of a threat to the establishment.
Before the last election, the SNP said they would work with Corbyn. If Corbyn and Momentum had reciprocated perhaps Corbyn would now be in number 10. Instead, Labour in Scotland bolstered the Tory anti-referendum message and spent their whole time attacking the SNP. This strategy split progressive votes and only played into Tory hands.
One of the reasons that Corbyn and Momentum didn’t work with the SNP is a narrow-minded British nationalism that unionists seem blind to.
You can see it in the train video. Not just the lazy stereotyping of foreigners, but also the willingness to blame others for problems caused by decisions made at Westminster.
You can see it in their outrage that a Dutch State owned company could win a UK train contract. Despite the only legal alternative at the time being that the contract was awarded to the type of for-profit shareholder driven company that you would think Momentum would be against.
You can see it in Corbyn’s embrace of a hard Brexit and his support of tough immigration rules despite the fact that Labour voters are mostly Remainers and despite a majority of experts warning a hard Brexit will be disastrous for most people.
During the election, Labour gave the impression that they would rather the Tories win Scottish seats than risk the breakup of the UK system.
Unlike Momentum, independence supporters don’t blame ‘the other’ for their problems although we are often accused of doing so.
We blame the Westminster political system, which last time I checked is part of our country and we blame it because it is the institution that has the greatest impact on our lives.
The successes of Scottish nationalism come from posing a real threat to that institution. It is a shame Momentum don’t realise this as this threat has enabled the Scottish people to keep or win most of the powers that Momentum craves for the UK. The power to have a publicly owned rail service is one of the most recent examples.
If Momentum learned to work with those who threaten real power instead of trying to damage natural allies, it might actually achieve some of its goals. So far it has achieved nothing and if it carries on with the Brexiteer tactic of spreading emotive, nationalistic social media videos devoid of any basis in reality, it will never achieve anything save helping the Tories.
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