THE TORY government announced the scrapping of the Leeds leg of the HS2 (High Speed Two) rail on Thursday and in doing so has launched war on the entire working class. Their plan is to build up a gigantic privatised rail system.
All the major unions, transport unions and the TUC condemned the move. The TUC, Unite, RMT, GMB, Aslef and TSSA said it was a stab in the back for the working class.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘The Northern Powerhouse Rail plan has been cut back beyond recognition. By scrapping the HS2 Leeds branch and Manchester to Leeds line, this government has removed a lynchpin of the Northern Powerhouse.’
The RMT however refused to acknowledge that this was a nationwide issue, and an attack on the entire working class. Instead it limited it’s criticism to that it was ‘a betrayal of the North’ as if the working class in the northern part of the country, has got a different class interest to that of workers in the south.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘This government today confirmed what is a historic betrayal of the people of the north.The government is trying to dress this up as a historic announcement, but no amount of government spin can disguise that this is a shocking kick in the teeth for the north of England.’
This is reactionary nonsense. The working class of the UK has got the same class interest – namely to preserve its class unity so as to be able to bring down the Tories. all the sooner!
Unite national officer for construction Jerry Swain said: ‘This decision has put back national infrastructure planning by a generation. It is nothing short of industrial vandalism.’
Neil Derrick, GMB Regional Secretary for Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, said: ‘Cutting investment for a city like Bradford makes no sense, with one of the youngest workforces in Yorkshire. The city would benefit for generations by having stronger links to Manchester and Leeds. This is economic vandalism pure and simple.’
Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary, said: ‘This is not levelling up, it’s levelling down There are fewer trains running, staff are already facing redundancies and now they’re saying the north will not be getting the improvements they promised.’
Mick Whelan, general secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, said: ‘HS2 was meant to be a world-beater … instead, the Tories are letting us down.’
In fact the whole working class has unceremoniously been kicked in the teeth by Johnson, not just the workers in the north. This is an attack on the whole working class … to build up a massive privatised rail network.
The HS2 has been a fiasco from the start. In 2010 the Department for Transport initially estimated the cost of the first 190-kilometre (120 miles) section, from London to Birmingham, at between £15.8 and £17.4 billion, and the entire Y-shaped 540-kilometre (335 miles) network between £30.9 and £36 billion.
Almost ten years later and the costs have swelled to £98 billion. All of this money is going to go into the pockets of private companies who have been attempting to use ununionised cheap labour.
The Johnson plan shows the utter bankruptcy of British capitalism providing a gravy train for private construction firms and, at the same time, the inability of British capitalism to developing advanced infrastructure.
Compare this to China. Since the working class overthrew capitalism it has made a gigantic leap forward. Three of months ago while the capitalist world’s industries were reeling from the Covid pandemic, China’s new high-speed Maglev train, with a top speed of 600 km (327.8 miles) per hour, rolled off the production line. It is currently the world’s fastest ground vehicle available. It was self-developed by China and marks the country’s latest scientific and technological achievement in the field of rail transit.
China’s new breakthrough demonstrates that the country has mastered a complete set of high-speed maglev train engineering technologies, including system integration, vehicle production, traction power supply, rail trails, and transport control and communication.
High-speed rail (HSR) in China is the world’s longest high speed railway network and most extensively used – with a total length of 37,900 km. They have been built more high speed rail in the last six years then the whole of Europe put together.
It was Lenin who predicted that the awakening of Asia would transform the planet for ever, with a great leap forward.
The way forward for the UK working class is clear. With the TUC, Unite, RMT, GMB, Aslef and TSSA all opposing Johnson’s plan, they must call a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and a planned socialist economy, so that UK workers and the working class of the USA and Europe can make their great leap forward.
A UK workers government will immediately re-nationalise the entire rail system, and bring in a nationalised and planned economy, and show the way forward for the working class of the EU and the USA.