PRESS RELEASE: 5th JANUARY 2015
THE FOUR QUESTIONS TEST: HOW THE CPO AIMS TO MAKE PUBLIC OWNERSHIP THE NUMBER ONE ELECTION ISSUE IN 2015
Today we have seen major demonstrations at rail stations across in the UK in protest over yet another round of above-inflation fare increases- in a country which already has by far and away the highest rail fares in Europe. The Campaign for Public Ownership welcomes and strongly supports such protests but believes that it's not just the railways we ought to be concentrating on in a general election year. Polls showing sizeable majorities in favour not just of renationalising the railways, but also water (in England where it is privatised) and our energy companies too.It is fair to say that privatisation, launched as an ideological project by the government of Margaret Thatcher thirty-six years ago and carried on by successive British governments since, has never been so unpopular, or so discredited.The problem that we public ownership campaigners have is not convincing people about the failures of privatisation- which are all too apparent, but making the issue of public ownership the election deal breaker. People oppose privatisation and want renationalisation, but none of the leading political parties supports renationalisation: all, to a greater or lesser extent still wedded to a deeply flawed neoliberal model.
CPO director Neil Clark has outlined how he believes things might change- and has formulated a 'Four Questions' strategy which the CPO will be promoting in the weeks before this year's general election. It is our ambition to make Public Ownership the number one issue in the 2015 election.
'The first thing to do is to find out who your parliamentary candidates are. Then email or write to them making it clear that the answers given to four key questions will determine whether or not you will vote for them. The questions are:Do you support the renationalisation of Britain’s railways?Do you support the renationalisation of our bus services?Do you support renationalisation of the energy sector, and in the case of England, water too?Do you support a publicly owned NHS and oppose all privatisation of health services and other public services?Anyone who answers No to all four of these questions is a candidate who supports privatisation and is is not worthy of support. The ideal candidate is the one who answers Yes to all four. Simply vote for the candidate with the highest number of Yes answers — if there’s more than one candidate who passes the public ownership test then check with their party’s manifesto to make sure that these commitments are official policy.Opinion polls show large majorities in favour of renationalisation but, in order to make our vastly superior numbers count, we need to convince those standing for election that we’re going to cast our votes on the basis of this issue. '
The CPO's aim is to put all major candidates at this year's election 'on the spot' on the issue of public ownership in a way that they have never been put 'on the spot' before.We believe that if candidates are asked 'The Four Questions' test, we will get the change that the majority of Britons, fed up with paying over the odds for basic services, would urgently like to see.