Sputnik: Do you agree with the findings of the poll, that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership was the reason why Labour lost December’s General Election?
Robin Tilbrook: Yes, I believe so. The party continues to scold the electorate and I don’t think that they have really learnt their lesson, and they particularly haven’t learnt the lesson about patriotism, and in fact; only in the last few days, we’ve had quite a vivid demonstration of how a party that’s actually really left-wing, Sinn Fein, can still get the majority of the vote, or a very substantial proportion of the vote in Ireland.
Sinn Fein is really a very left-wing party, but its main idea in the public’s mind is that they are an Irish nationalist party, so it wasn’t just the left-wing aspect of Corbyn’s policies, it was also the fact that he was seen as being unpatriotic.
Sputnik: Who could win the Labour leadership race?
Robin Tilbrook: I suppose it’s between Sir Keir Starmer, who I would regard as a Labour establishment figure, and a very clear 'Remainer' in all his thinking, and therefore not somebody who has learnt their lesson at all I don’t think regarding Brexit, and the need to be patriotic.
Then there is Rebecca Long-Bailey. I wondered if what we saw the other day with a row over a data breach, and an attack on Sir Keir Starmer’s campaign, whether that suggested that the people that are operating the Labour Party at the moment, who are momentum-supporting types, whether they are worried that he might actually beat their candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey.
Sputnik: The British Prime Minister has come under fire in recent weeks for what many say is a partial re-nationalisation of Northern Rail, but should Labour still prioritise the re-nationalisation of trains in future policies?
Robin Tilbrook: My understanding of the case with Boris Johnson and Northern Rail, was that they had done it simply because that particular franchise was operating at a very bad level, and not doing at all what it ought to have been doing, so Johnson has taken the franchise back, which the Conservatives also did to the Eastern franchise a few years ago, when that was failing.
It is part of the way that the Conservatives privatise the railways, that it can be done, it’s not really nationalisation as such, it’s a regulatory correction I suppose you might say, rather than nationalisation.
The problem with the way that the railways were privatised, is that it’s quite complicated, and it doesn’t produce market competition, and the government has got a role in deciding who is going to run different bits of the railway service, whilst retaining overall control of the actual network.
I’m not really against the idea of nationalisation as a matter of ideology, but at the same time; I think the best way to judge it is to see if it actually works for people.
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