The central plank of Tony Blair's justification for his attack on public services is that privatisation is more efficient. Yet as the experience of Railtrack has shown, and as was reported by Judith Orr last month (February SR), this is not true.
Today there is a sense on the railways that the Blair bubble has burst. This is seen not just in the fact that left winger Bob Crow has been elected as leader of the RMT, but also in the new mood of bitterness. Years of frustration among drivers on South West Trains led to them taking strike action. Now in the TSSA union we are finding there are similar signs of militancy--booking office staff on Arriva Northern are now being balloted in conjunction with RMT members. This is a major shift for a union that has a less than militant history.