Dutch free marketeers want nationalisation

This Dutch video is an animation about the 21 April 2012 train crash in Amsterdam.

The VVD is the most pro-capitalist political party in the Netherlands.

For years, they claimed that all problems in the Netherlands could supposedly be solved by applying the economic quack recipes of Margaret Thatcher, Milton Friedman and his ‘Chicago boys’, etc.

So, privatize public transport, privatize this, privatize that, etc. And cut, cut, and cut again in public services (but … errr… not in “defence”, as the VVD wanted more money for war in Iraq, for war in Afghanistan, for expensive Joint Strike Fighter new warplanes, etc.).

So, together with other parties, the VVD privatised the Dutch railways in the 1990s. This meant that the railways themselves became one private corporation. And that railroad maintenance, which had been part of the government railways, became a separate private corporation, called ProRail.

Like the privatisation of railways in Argentina led to railway disasters, like the privatisation of railways in Britain led to railway disasters, the privatisation of railways in The Netherlands proved to be disastrous in various ways.

While rail transport and rail maintenance used to be in the same hand, now the railway corporation and ProRail started to work separately from, often against, each other.

A fire near Utrecht station wreaked havoc with rail transport all over the country.

In fall, trains could not ride any more. ProRail and the NS railway corporation said that was because of autumn leaves on the tracks. In winter, trains could not ride any more. ProRail and the NS railway corporation said that was because of frost on the tracks.

Recently, the ProRail bosses awarded themselves a 16% rise in income (while most people who are not as rich as ProRail bosses are unable to keep up with rising prices; and the VVD party, represented by Eric van der Burg, wants to cut the salaries of public sector workers, never mind keeping up with inflation.)

Last month, there was a horrible rail disaster near Amsterdam. Two trains collided. One woman died. Over 100 people got terrible injuries.

This morning, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reports that VVD member of parliament Aptroot wants to nationalize ProRail. He wants to make it part of the government Department of Transport and Water.

Mr Aptroot, how about the Thatcherite dogmas of your party (and some other parties) which caused these railway problems in the first place. The Dutch Socialist Party and others had proposed to re-nationalize the railways before; the VVD, now Johnny-come-latelies after the Amsterdam disaster and before the September parliamentary elections, opposed that then.