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Railway lessons for democracy

The great advantage of the RailStaff Awards and one which sets it apart from so many other worthy award schemes is the involvement of the people it celebrates.

Railway workers up and down the network and from every part of the industry are free to send in nominations and to vote on the outcome. This is more important than it seems.

The rail industry is now leading the economy by example. Confidence, value for money, emphasis on career development and responsible working practices all have lessons for the wider country which we serve. The railway had to learn the hard way.

This was an industry only a few short years ago slated for managed decline and post-Beeching euthanasia, a sort of Liverpool p-way. Instead by dint of hard work, professionalism and admittedly tremendous strokes of good fortune – the rising importation of Chinese white goods and London’s economic upsurge – the railway fought back.

Ingenuity and initiative

Rail freight continues to grow. Investment and major projects are forging ahead. Trains now carry more passengers than they did in their hey day 70 years ago. That they do so on half the amount of track is in no small part down to the ingenuity and initiative of the people the RailStaff Awards salutes.

New projects including new railways, new stations, electrification and track doubling are delivered on time and on budget. There are lessons here for a country struggling to find stability in a changing world. It is no coincidence that our light hearted Back-to-School theme this year shines a light on rail’s lessons and logarithms. It is important to be involved, to vote.

Public disdain for politics is at an all time high. Many people argue there is scant difference between the three major parties. Throw in the sight of MPs being jailed and the whole profession is debased.

Boldness is not a crime

This is unfair to the many MPs who work long and hard out of conviction. However they fail to take risks to get their message across. Boldness is not a crime and voters respond to it quite well.

Look at the success of Nigel Farrage, even now considering his mistaken stance on HS2. Look too at Bob Crow’s call for a new true socialist party. The sight of the no nonsense secretary of the RMT entering the House of Commons and berating the be-suited ones will be wondrous indeed. Can Bob and Nigel restore confidence in our democracy?

A healthy democracy starts with the people themselves – demos mean people – getting involved, arguing, discussing and then voting. Always remember to vote. Once again the railway, by selecting and voting for its own heroes, demonstrates democracy in action.

The RailStaff Awards is all about the people who do the work. Those that excel are rightly recognised by their friends and colleagues. We look forward to saluting them and celebrating an industry that continues with confidence to light the way ahead.

Voting finishes on 16th August – so take a look now and make your vote count.

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