Now is the time to renationalise rail

When studies show we have one of the most expensive and inefficient railways in Europe, a new fare hike is the last straw: we need public ownership, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

This year is set to see yet another rise in Britain’s rail fares, with an increase of 3.8 per cent being introduced in March.

At this point these hikes in prices have begun to feel as much of a new year tradition as the London fireworks display or Jools Holland’s annual hootenanny, but we should never lose sight of just what a rip-off rail privatisation has been — or just how many opportunities governments have given it to fail us time after time.
Read the full article

Stand with the heroic example of the Honduran people

Amid a difficult time for British progressives, the left’s victory in Honduras shows why we say ‘Don’t mourn, organise!’ writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

Twelve years ago, in 2009, I was part of the organising team of a meeting called by the Emergency Committee Against the Coup in Honduras alongside trade unionists, MPs and representatives of Latin American embassies and community groups.

That summer the Honduran army had forced elected president Manuel Zelaya from office — an outrageous but perhaps unsurprising move when you consider the political direction he sought to take the country in and the long history of attempts to undermine governments in the region that pursued progressive domestic agendas and independent foreign policy approaches.
Read the full article

US Hands Off Latin America!

AS I write this column, news is coming through of a stunning presidential election victory in Honduras for progressive candidate Xiomara Castro.

Overcoming fierce opposition from those with wealth and power is always an impressive feat, but this is a particularly remarkable achievement for the Honduran left in the context of the conditions they have been forced to operate in.

Following the military coup against elected President Manuel Zelaya in 2009, trade unionists and social movements faced over a decade of repression from an illegitimate regime — shamefully assisted by spyware they bought from the British government.
Read the full article

Governing London from the left

They called us the ‘loony left’ but we showed the world what was possible once socialists take power even over one city, from free transport and free festivals to recognising same-sex partnerships — we need that ambition once again, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

It is hard to believe that last year marked 20 years since I became mayor of London and that this year marks 40 years since the Labour left gained the leadership of the Greater London Council (GLC).
Read the full article

Privatisation chickens have come home to roost

The falling apart of the energy market is proof that nationalisation is in the best interests of the British people, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

THERE are countless ways in which the majority of people in Britain are ripped off, and there can be fewer more glaring examples than the scandalous state of the energy sector.

With the most recent government figures from 2019 already showing over three million households living in fuel poverty, we are now faced with soaring gas prices and huge numbers facing uncertainty over the future of their provider — with several having already gone bust and yet more hanging on by a thread.
Read the full article

Bolivia shows us what is possible

Bolivia’s rapid social progress under a left-wing government and ability to suffer a right-wing coup then overcome it through mass mobilisation is a source of hope and optimism for the international left, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

THE politics of the post-cold war period were originally dominated by the famous claim of Francis Fukuyama that we had reached “the end of history” — neoliberalism was now the only game in town and in the words of our own champion of Chicago school economics, there was “no alternative” to letting the market run riot.
Read the full article

Now is the time to step up solidarity with Venezuela

Biden should end Trump’s interventionist policies in Latin America, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

A SIGNIFICANT sense of relief was evident among progressives in the United States and throughout much of the world when Donald Trump was defeated in his re-election bid last year.

Given his catastrophic approach to Covid-19, alliances with extreme-right elements in US society, and further steps towards war on Iran, this was entirely understandable.

Having lived through the tenure of numerous US presidents (from both major parties), though, there are some policy agendas which have been constant: notably their approach to Latin America.
Read the full article

Universal credit shows all you need to know about the ‘Nasty Party’

The Tories’ £20 cut to universal credit will be a social and economic catastrophe, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

MEDIA reports late this week highlighted a private memo showing that the Tories’ £20 universal credit cut at the end of this month will be a “catastrophe” and “disaster of autumn.”

A government insider noted that analysis shows poverty, foodbank use and homelessness will spiral when the cut takes place — in a situation where it should be remembered we already have grotesque levels of all three.
Read the full article

Castillo plans a leftward course for Peru

The new president faces a coronavirus-ravaged economy and deeply entrenched political opposition, but his ambitious social programmes are a cause for celebration, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

PEDRO CASTILLO, a rural schoolteacher representing the left-wing party Peru Libre (Free Peru), scored a stunning victory in this year’s presidential election, but the struggle against powerful right-wing forces is now entering a new stage.

Castillo’s success was unexpected. Back in March he was at 5 per cent in the opinion polls but performed well in the candidates’ debates and secured 19 per cent in the first round of the election in April, topping 17 other candidates.
Read the full article

Divide and rule set to continue in N Ireland

Tories sink to a new low with their manipulative and incendiary tactics in the province, writes KEN LIVINGSTONE

As Labour MP Dawn Butler has bravely highlighted, telling the truth does not come naturally to Boris Johnson, but it is the best way to ensure that past mistakes are not repeated. Unfortunately, recent actions by the government, from its approach to the legacies of the Troubles to more recent issues arising from its own Brexit deal, signal its intention to do the opposite.
Read the full article