New line on rail

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what a refreshing change to hear Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont accuse First Minister Alex Salmond of selling out to foreign interests over Abellio getting the train operators’ franchise (your report, 10 October).

It is hard to believe this 
same woman has spent the last two years in bed with the
Tories accusing Alex Salmond of being an inward-looking, 
parochial, narrow-minded ­nationalist who wants to put up barriers to the outside world. I thought that as a Labourite she would have been greatly in ­favour of Abellio getting into ­Scotland.

Her Labour siblings seem to have been happy to award that company a number of franchises in England either as a sole or joint operator: Abellio has a number of lapsed and ­active English franchises, at least two awarded during the Blair/Brown era – Merseyrail in 2003 (for 25 years) and Northern Rail in 2004.

Other foreign companies were awarded rail franchises under Labour and dare we go into general industrial trends of foreign intrusion during that era?

Ms Lamont said: “Scottish taxpayers’ money will now go to subsidise the Dutch railway.”

Well, lucky Dutch, that will be on top of the money already subsidising them from the ­Labour contracts in England.

Perhaps if Labour had been less of a Tory party the whole rail system would be in public ownership now, where it best belongs.

But we can’t have that – it sounds too much like socialism.

Thomas R Burgess

St Catherine’s Square