The train now arriving at platform three is the 4.15 from 1978...

The nationalised railway system wasn't inherently bad, it just sort of ended up that way
The nationalised railway system wasn't inherently bad, it just sort of ended up that way

Those of a certain age - as many of us are- may recoil in horror at the thought of the return of British Rail under a Labour Government as mooted this week.

It’s a kind of double whammy that takes us right back to the Heath/Wilson era leading to Jim Callaghan and on to the the great privatiser, Margaret Thatcher.

It was a lot for anyone to deal with: the decline of British industry personified by union agitation and enshrined in popular culture in the chart hit by The Strawbs’ ‘Part of the Union’ - as in: ‘You don’t get me I’m...’

Coal, steel, the railways, and the car industry had been variously taken into government control post war, some in a bid to protect services and some in order to presrve industries under increasing threat from emerging nations - for instance Japan in the case of BMC/British Leyland.

In many cases the process was blamed for encouraging or at least tolerating poor performance from management and workers alike and there is little doubt that the system as was had become unsustainable.

But, to take the car industry as an example, it was not just the UK that was in diffs but also the great capitalist nation of America where, again, unions and management presided over the downfall of an industry cut down by modern, innovative and more reliable vehicles produced more cheaply in Japan.

Move forward to today as the majority of ordinary people are still struggling to climb out austerity very largely fuelled by the colossal failure of the free market banking system.

Is it any wonder that 20 and 30-somethings for whom the 70s and 80s represent the dark ages are increasingly disillusioned at their virtual exclusion from every benefit enjoyed by preceding generations.

Pensions appear to be worthless and besides they’ll need that money to finance a lifetime of renting with no return for the generation they’ll raise.

In the meantime, on the railways, they’re charged a fortune to commute while the operators apologise for a lousy service and pay huge share dividends and bonuses from the takings?

Is it any wonder they might think that re-nationalising our infrastucture and reinvesting profits might be preferable?