Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Renationalisation in the UK?

In the UK, successive governments under Thatcher and Blair privatised everything they possibly could, hocking off public assets at bargain-basement prices to donors and cronies. Those privatisations were (naturally) a disaster, with railways, water companies, and even the royal mail gutted and falling into ruin as the new owners looted them for dividends rather than providing the services they were supposed to. And now, UK Labour has had enough, with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promising to take it all back:

The Shadow Chancellor also vowed to press ahead with Labour’s nationalisation programme, saying: “Rail, water, energy, Royal Mail – we’re taking them back.”

Earlier, he hinted Labour would deny shareholders full compensation if the private firms currently running key utilities have behaved badly.

Politicians would decide if full market value would be awarded when were taken back into public ownership, with the price affected by “perceived behaviour”.

They're also promising to unravel corrupt PFI (public-private partnership) contracts as well, to cut the bankers and looters out of government services.

We need to do the same here with the strategic assets that National has stolen from us (or at least the ones worth keeping). Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Air New Zealand, we need them back in public ownership (fossil-fuel-powered Genesis OTOH can simply be regulated into oblivion with the rest of that industry). Our electricity sector is too important to be left to private sector mismanagement.