| PLUNDERING LONDON UNDERGROUND|
New Labour, private capital and public service, 1997-2010
by Janine Booth
With a foreword by Bob Crow, General Secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
This book tells the story of infrastructure privatisation on the London Underground - the Public-Private Partnership. Announced by New Labour in 1998, it was implemented in 2003, and by 2010 it had failed. So what went wrong?
"There are arguments for and against PPP, and I consider some of them, but I have written this book as someone heavily involved in campaigning against this policy. I have seen the damage done! So do not expect me to praise the PPP policy. In my view, lessons need to be learnt and conclusions drawn from this episode in the history of London's Tube system.
I set out a case for public ownership. London Underground does best when it is publicly-owned, unified, under the control of a (preferably, elected) London body, adequately funded, and allowed to operate as a public service rather than a commercial business."
PPP failed because privatisation incentivises managers to earn money for themselves, shareholders, and lawyers, neglecting service improvements, safety and the needs of the disabled.
Published during London Underground's 150th birthday year, this book draws extensively on interviews with managers and Tube workers; it both sketches the history of the Underground and looks to the future: we need a transport plan, one that involves passengers and workers, one that prioritises public service.
'manages to combine forensic analysis with a pacey style ... a very important book.' Christian Wolmar
'Fascinating and Informative' Underground News 'the final chapter 'A Socialist Alternative' really is quite wonderful - and unique. It includes a vision of what a socialist public transit system structure might look like ... Socialist Project
Booth has written an important and unusual book. Her job as a critic of PPP was made easier by the fact that it failed so completely. But the books value lies not in her descriptions of the many ways PPP failed, but in her explanation of why it had to failand where we should look for an alternative public transportation policy, one that will be truly 'public'. Steve Downs, Labor Notes
Published December 2013