Monday 15 August 2022

Fully Costed

Freezing the bitterly misnamed energy cap at its present level would assume that that level were acceptable. Keir Starmer's scheme would cost £29 billion and last a mere six months, while renationalistion would cost a mere £2.8 billion, less than one tenth as much, and last forever. Its huge popularity gives the lie to any suggestion that Starmer's refusal to consider it was in the interests of electability.

Spain has half England's rainfall, and no hosepipe ban. But Spain has publicly owned water. The debate that will be forced by the coming postal strike will bring home to the public that it was as right about mail as it was about water, energy and rail. The case for the public ownership of the Big Four is unanswerable, as most people accept.

Sadly, the only people who are paid not to accept it are the only people in any position to put it into effect. They know full well that if a company cannot provide an essential public service at an affordable price without going bust, then it ought not to be in the private sector at all. But those companies are paying them out of the public money that our rulers therefore keep flowing into those coffers.

Pension funds hold about two per cent of quoted equities in the United Kingdom. No pension fund invests only in privatised utilities. No trade union would advocate a policy that was bad for pensions. What pensioners need is cheaper energy. Aided and abetted by governmental corruption and incompetence, the root causes of inflation are out of control dividend payments, which few pensioners will have noticed, and out of control remuneration at the top. 

Not anything to do with Covid-19, whatever monomaniacal windbags are going to be bellowing down the pub for evermore. Nor primarily our masochistic sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, although those are certainly making matters a great deal worse. But plain, old-fashioned greed. Against that, we either act now, or we shall soon end up living and working in privatised towns.

Designated "freeports" or "charter cities", those would be owned and run beyond the law of this land by transnational corporations, or even by foreign states if the privatisations that we had already endured were anything to go by. All members of the Conservative Party could fit into one, there to pursue Liz Truss's Minfordian nightmare to their hearts' content, and all holders of the British National (Overseas) passport in Hong Kong could fit into one or two more. But we should be so lucky.

Take Back Control, or wake up and find that the laws to which you were subject were made and enforced, and the taxes that you paid were set and collected, by the transnational corporations and the foreign states that, in a colossal threat to national security, you had allowed to keep control of your key national infrastructure, in return for their bankrolling of all the political parties that you were allowed to know existed as anything other than objects of vilification, if at all.

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