An SNP Depute Leadership candidate has called for Scotrail to be taken back into public ownership. SNP Council Group Leader Chris McEleny made the statement ahead of speaking today at the inaugural meeting of a new internal group of the party – SNP Socialists.
The new group aims to help promote the aims of socialism, something McEleny – who has been dubbed ‘the socialist candidiate’ – has been telling party members he will champion at the heart of the SNP.
Commenting Cllr Chris McEleny said:
‘ During the Depute Leadership contest to date I have been signalling out to members that I believe a vote for me will see Local Government strengthened and that I will be a louder voice for the grassroots movement of our party. It is my belief in socialism that drives me in politics and many people have asked just what will that mean if I am elected as Depute Leader.
‘ There can be no doubt, if people vote for me because they too share my vision of Stronger Local Government, more strength to party members and a louder socialist voice in Scotland, they are giving me a clear mandate to progress new policy ideas in these areas.
‘For a party which has grown from 24,000 members to over 120,000 members it is clear that we must ensure that the historic policy positions of the SNP reflect the hopes and aspirations of party members, supporters and the country of today.
‘ Next month I will be publishing my manifesto for Leadership, that is why today I am highlighting that issues such as bringing Scotrail into public ownership are policy issues that should be part of this debate.
‘There was no choice to not hand the contract out at the time it was awarded because we didn’t have the power to re-nationalise the service, but our parliament now has that power.
‘Promises were made about a better deal for staff and passengers but I think it is fair to say that workers who have been forced into industrial action have proven this simply hasn’t been the case. In actual fact the better deal is being delivered to the people of the Netherlands who are benefitting from the profit our already expensive railways are generating which is free to be spent on their public services.
‘By bringing our railways back into public ownership we send out a clear message of our intent to do things differently in Scotland so that we can become one of the fairest most progressive countries in the world with public services to be proud of.”