Satirist pens musical lament over Southern rail dispute
Mark Brailsford was joined by members of the Association of British Commuters (ABC) when he sang the protest song at Brighton railway station.
A spoof version of John Lennon’s classic Imagine song, which pokes fun at Southern Rail, is proving a massive online hit.
Political satirist Mark Brailsford rewrote the song to include the phrase Imagine There’s No Southern, to mark the first anniversary of the bitter dispute over staffing and the role of conductors.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union have staged 31 days of strike action over the past year which have caused travel misery for Southern’s 300,000 passengers.
Other problems such as staff shortages have added to the misery.
Mr Brailsford was joined by members of the Association of British Commuters (ABC) when he sang the protest song at Brighton railway station.
The commuter group said there had been an overwhelming response on social media to the song, saying it captured the mood of passengers’ anger with the company and the Department for Transport.
The group has attacked a decision to delay publication of a report into Southern for the Government by Network Rail director Chris Gibb until after the General Election.
ABC campaigner Emily Yates said: “We’ve been seeking transparency from the Government over Southern Rail for an entire year now, and yet the details of their unhealthily close relationship with Govia remain under lock and key at the Department for Transport.
“For the DfT to now be holding back a vital report on the true responsibility for the Southern Rail crisis is an insult to the thousands of people who’ve suffered through 18 months of collapsing service.
“Why are the Government holding the Gibb report back until after the election unless they have something to hide?”
Summer Dean, another ABC campaigner, said: “Our collaborations with Mark at recent protests are part of a fantastic trend of Southern Rail satire, created by people who went through the outrageously bad service of 2016. This is not just an expression of our anger at Southern Rail and the Department of Transport.
“Political satire exists to give a voice to the disempowered, and in the case of Southern Rail, the needs of commuters, and especially disabled passengers, have been ignored.”