Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
3 January 2017

Momentum criticised by Stella Creasy for sharing “xenophobic” rail fares hike video

The Labour MP has criticised the video which highlights the fact that European nations can make money from our privatised railways.

By Media Mole

It seems the season of goodwill is over for Labour. Momentum, the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group, have been accused of playing on xenophobic stereotypes and acting like Ukip by the Labour MP Stella Creasy over a video they shared on social media on Tuesday.

The video, made by the TSSA Union, was designed as a protest against the annual 2.3 per cent rise in rail fares which have left some paying 43 per cent more for season tickets than they did seven years ago. But it appears to have backfired — with debate raging on Twitter as to whether the short film plays upon anti-EU sentiment.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy was outspoken in her criticism of the video tweeting: “I want to mutualise our railways not because I demonise other Europeans @PeoplesMomentum but because I think we’ll ALL get a better deal…”.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

She continued: 

In the video, Europeans from France, Germany and the Netherlands discuss the hike in UK rail fares, and point out that their countries can make money from our privatised railways.  

EU citizens are filmed saying: “So when you buy a ticket…the profits go to make our railways cheaper. In 2012, we got £3 million just from Greater Anglia.

“Not only that, the British taxpayers pay our franchises massive subsidies, without which we could never make a profit. So even if you catch a train, you’re still sending us money!”

One scene features two Germans football fans watching England lose a match to their nation and saying “thank you” to the British people. 

The video ends by asking if the public want to “take back control” of their railways and end the “great rail rip off”. The first part of which, sounds to the mole, rather similar to the Leave campaign’s famous Brexit slogan.

A Momentum spokesperson told the Telegraph: “The video is a tongue in cheek comment on the absurdity of Britain’s privatised railways.

The mole agrees that it is certainly absurd, but is unsure why this aspect of the problem was highlighted instead of focusing the attack firmly on the Tories for continuing with privatisation.

The hashtag #RailFail, used to promote the video, seems rather appropriate.