This situation cannot and should not go on. Our railways are a public service, enabling people to get to work and linking families and friends who are separated by long distances. They can, and should, be the pathways to our business success and our engagement in leisure. Instead, they are overpriced, but underfunded. Overcrowded, but understaffed. Driven by profit, not by what is best for passengers. But there is an alternative.
What do the next five years hold for the NHS? The pre-election jamboree is quickly evaporating. The promise of billions more in funding now feels like a distant sound-bite. The Daily Telegraph recently set the tone with a front page headline in which Jeremy Hunt declared that the NHS now has enough money and will have to make do. However, all the talk on funding in the election debates completely missed the point.
If we accept the narrative that NHS cuts are necessary, it follows that we concede privatisation is inevitable. If we relinquish the principal of public health care for all, we're signing our NHS over to corporate providers. That, in the words of one of the doctors interviewed in the incisive film,"Sell-Off: The Abolition of the NHS, "is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank".
abour is finally shifting ground on the railways with a real debate going on in the party about public ownership. It is widely recognised that privatisation has been a colossal failure. Despite record levels of public subsidy we have the highest fares in Europe and private sector investment and innovation is non-existent.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will be the biggest international 'free-trade deal' in history. It will standardise EU regulations with their almost non-existent US counterparts. Negotiations are secret and over 90 per cent consultants are corporate lobbyists, which is more than a little suspicious.
This year the Tories are preparing a new, massive attack on students, which promise to be as regressive and damaging to the future of millions of people as the trebling of tuition fees has been - plotting to sell all our student loans to private debt collectors, who are hungry to make a profit out of saddling us with more debt than we signed up to. Students are, however, building a movement to stop the government in its tracks.
Either it's an election year, or Nick Clegg has suddenly discovered some principles. This week, George Osborne announced that there would be another £25 billion in spending cuts after the 2015 general election and around half of that would come from the welfare budget. For Clegg, who must have been given a spine at Christmas, it was apparently the straw that broke the camel's back.