4 thoughts on “London Underground terror and Conservative austerity

  1. Saturday 16th September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE terrorist attack on a train at Parsons Green in London was the latest in a series of sickening attempts to take the lives of innocent people going about their business — an attempt that fortunately failed, though many will bear its scars for the rest of their lives.

    As the Morning Star goes to press, it is not clear who was behind the attack. The police who rebuked US President Donald Trump for speculating about it were right: ill-informed guessing games do not keep anyone safe and can easily lead to further harm.

    The stories of panic, of people being injured in the crush to escape, can tell us something, however.

    Passenger Luke O’Connor praises the “superb” work of Tube staff in getting people out of the station safely: the TSSA’s Manuel Cortes is right to salute the “courage and dedication to safety” of London Underground workers. But we also have accounts saying that initially no staff were to be seen: passengers talk of it taking “several minutes” before there was an uncontrolled freefor-all in which people were being trampled as they tried to get out.

    Drawing any link between this and the hundreds of job losses on the Underground that transport unions have campaigned against for years — RMT pointed out in January that axing workers risked turning the Tube into an “understaffed death trap at a time of heightened security alert” — will attract allegations of “politicising” a tragedy.

    Labour was accused of doing just that when it pointed to the Tory police cuts after the terrorist attack in Manchester in May, and again in June for highlighting decades of penny-pinching and ill-treatment of council tenants, an aggressive campaign against “health and safety” and a repeated failure to implement safety recommendations after previous fires as contributing factors to the corporate manslaughter at Grenfell Tower.

    The right-wing cry that raising these issues is somehow disrespectful to the victims of these incidents is simply an attempt to direct attention away from preventive measures which go against their ideological prejudices — or, worse, cost money.

    It is no coincidence that Transport for London and Arriva Trains London cancelled the planned announcement of a London Overground staffing review that was due yesterday — when the proposed changes threatened ticket office closures and have “a striking similarity to the Fit for the Future model rolled out on London Underground stations” which resulted in a “net loss of safety-critical jobs,” in the words of RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

    Since the plans are a response to budget cuts imposed by central government, assurances that they are solely a bid to improve services ring hollow.

    At the very least, bosses must start to listen to the concerns that unions have been raising over the consequences of cuts and stop pretending their decisions do not have real-world consequences.

    The Tories always seek to have it both ways: public-sector workers — like the firefighters who again proved their heroism after yesterday’s incident — are heroes when emergency strikes, but they don’t deserve a pay rise.

    And the world is becoming a more dangerous place because of the threat of terrorism, but we must neither ask what the root causes of an increase in terror attacks might be nor countenance spending money on extra resources for our public services to deal with the growing menace.

    It’s quite simple: cuts to essential services — and this includes the staffing of our public transport systems — render us all less safe. They must be reversed.

    If they are not, it is because, whatever Theresa May and her cronies might say on a day like yesterday, they do not really care about the risk to the public at all.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-1fa0-Transport-cuts-put-everyone-in-danger#.Wb1Bz8ZpEdU

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  2. Monday 18th September 2017

    posted by Will Stone in Britain

    Parsons Green often left ‘without a single member of staff ,’ Morning Star can reveal

    PARSONS Green station was staffed by just one person on the day of last week’s terrorist attack and is sometimes left without any Tube staff at all, according to a union source.

    A single member of staff was signed in at the station in south-west London on Friday when 30 people were left injured after a bomb exploded during rush hour, the source claimed.

    “The station is also unstaffed for large amounts of time,” they told the Star. “At the most there are two members of staff at the station.”

    The source argued that, although they are not required to, all London Underground stations regardless of size should be staffed by a minimum of three people.

    Many of those injured were crushed by panicked passengers during the “uncontrolled evacuation” of Parsons Green station.

    Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said yesterday that it is not possible to keep the British public safe “on the cheap” as she voiced concerns about resources and cuts to police.

    Speaking to BBC Breakfast she said: “It is the f fth attack and it is concerning and there are issues about resources and the sustainability of person power when it comes to responding to these attacks.”

    Home Secretary Amber Rudd accepted there had been cuts to police numbers but insisted that more savings could be made as police have £1.5 billion in reserves.

    However the union source said: “This is not just about cuts to policing but cuts to wider transport staff and emergency services.”

    Train unions RMT and TSSA have led campaigns against huge staff cuts by Transport for London (TfL) which they say have left stations across the capital understaffed and unsafe.

    Police have so far arrested two men following the incident, an 18-year-old man in the departure area of Dover ferry port and a 21-year-old man in Hounslow.

    Ms Rudd said it appeared the bomber was not a lone wolf but it was “too early to reach any final conclusions on that.”

    The terror threat was lowered from critical to severe yesterday following the arrests of the two men.

    However assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, Britain’s top counter-terrorism officer, said armed police will maintain a strong presence across the country into next week.

    Ms Abbott urged passengers not to be alarmed by the extra police at stations because “that’s what the terrorists want to do, they want to scare and disrupt our society.”

    TfL had not responded to requests for comment at the time of going to press.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-45a2-Just-1-Person-On-Duty-When-Bomb-Went-Off#.Wb9k88ZpEdU

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  3. Pingback: Syrian refugee falsely accused of terrorism | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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