On 13 March, the Conservative government launched its ‘millennial railcard’. Announced during the autumn budget, the railcard is for those aged between 26 and 30.
The Conservatives got a bit of a shock during the 2017 general election. The party thought it could ignore young people, who’ve long been ignored and regarded as ambivalent and apathetic to parliamentary politics. Until they voted. In numbers. For Labour. So the Conservatives thought they’d better do something to woo them back.
In response, the Conservative Party launched the ‘millennial railcard’. Chancellor Philip Hammond said the railcard would give:
4.5 million more young people a third off their rail fares
But it didn’t exactly go to plan.
To start with, the government decided to ‘trial’ the railcard by only issuing 10,000 of them. Hardly the 4.5 million Hammond claimed it would help. Unsurprisingly, this led to increased demand. And the website crashed.
People were not impressed:
Phillip Hammond, last year. 26-30 railcard will help 4.5m save money on fares by Spring.
Spring 2018: We're only going to sell 10,000 26-30 railcards, and the website isn't gonna work. #railcard
— Simon Meechan (@SimonMeechan_90) March 13, 2018
I spend about £100 on train tickets a week. This 26-30 #railcard could save me £1000's. When it was announced, I built it into my yearly budget – it makes a huge difference! And then they let everyone down by only 'trialing' 10,000 and letting the buying system crash #railcard
— Catherine Allen (@_CatherineAllen) March 13, 2018
Others had ideas of how the limited number could be rolled out into other areas:
The next time MPs are due to have a pay rise, could we have a national trial where only 1 in 500 (i.e. 1 MP) gets it. Would be fun to watch them compete. And maybe make the website where you apply for it crash repeatedly? #railcard #justanidea
— John Vivian (@jtothevizzle) March 13, 2018
Further people saw it is an a damning indictment of the government:
A sticking plaster
The railcard was only ever a sticking plaster – a nod to the generation that the Conservatives ignored. And gaining a third off train journeys was never going to compensate for those who are saddled with massive student debt, are on zero-hours contracts, or have been priced out of the housing market.
But a railcard? Surely even the Conservatives could launch a railcard without it turning into an unmitigated disaster? Apparently even this was beyond them. And it has to make us all wonder if they could even organise a piss up in a brewery.
– Support The Canary and join our membership scheme.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?