Labour is striking a nerve with its latest campaign

Protester in a Chris Grayling mask and a chicken suit during the Labour rail campaign day
Steve Topple

Labour just scored possibly its first social media trend of the summer – and some of the contributions were delicious.

“Rail Mayhem”

The Labour Party organised a #RailMayhem day of action on Monday 25 June. It was highlighting the chaos on our rail network, the ineptitude of transport secretary Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling and the need for the renationalisation of the network. It caused quite a stir on Twitter.

#RailMayhem coincided with the controversial East Coast Mainline being partly and temporarily taken back under government control. As The Canary previously reported, the franchise has been dogged by controversy, being nationalised in 2009, then privatised in 2015, then placed under a public/private partnership operation this May. The government still plans to give it back to the private sector; something the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) branded “government-sponsored racketeering”.

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Social media reacts

So, Labour took to the train stations, and to social media, to call on ‘Failing Grayling’ to resign and for the renationalisation of the rail network:

The party’s Twitter account called on people who had been ‘unlucky with their commute’ to share their experience on social media. And share people did:

Labour MP Emily Thornberry blew up the irony meter with her tweet:

One social media user highlighted another chaotic rail franchise that’s rarely away from the headlines: Southern Rail:

Southern is failing while Labour is derailing Grayling

As The Canary has documented, the never-ending chaos on Southern Rail has been staggering. From disabled people, passengers groups and unions accusing the operator of disability discrimination, to multi-million pound ‘get out of jail free cards’ gifted by the government, ‘Southern Fail’ as it’s come to be known has won itself an extraordinary reputation. And it’s not a good one, with the latest fiasco being its new timetable.

Grayling’s handling of both the East Coast and Southern franchises, and of the rail network more broadly, has led Labour to call on him to resign. As Labour’s shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said in a press release:

The rail mayhem that we’ve seen on our railways was caused by one man and that man is Chris Grayling.

Passengers across the country are right to be angry at the way he has handled the latest in a long run of rail fiascos.

Chris Grayling has lost all credibility and it’s time for him to go.

The RMT piled in on Grayling as well:

Clucking furious

Jeremy Corbyn said of the rail network:

The East Coast mainline, and all other lines should be run in the interests of passengers and taxpayers, not private profit.

Passengers, our economy and our environment need affordable fares and reliable services, which Tory policy is failing to deliver.

With public opinion consistently backing renationalisation, the government’s experiment in “zombie privatisation” may soon have run out of track.

Get Involved!

– Read more from The Canary about our rail network and support the Association of British Commuters, fighting for everyone’s transport rights.

Featured image via the RMT

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