The polls show that the majority, and nearly double the number of people, think that the State should actually do more than it does now, than think it should do less – does that surprise us all then?
If we look at the political parties then, those in favour of doing LESS include the Conservatives, the LibDems and certainly UKIP. The only major party really expressing any wish to do MORE is Labour – how the hell does that gell then with public opinion for goodness sake?
The facts are that we are heading into a situation whereby our public spending, it is said, will have fallen back to the levels of the nineteen-thirties, no less. How have we got there then? When mainly really by privatisation – the Thatcher driven ideology of course. There has also been quite a bit of outsoucing on the way though, as well as drastic cuts of forty percent in the past five years.
Perhaps we might dwell on the impact of all that then? Britain is now ownerless of, or has none of our previous major public sector functions like a Steel industry, Coal mining, Car manufacturing, Shipbuilding yards, Train builders, Water companies, Airways, Bus operators, Gas industry, Electricity industry, Energy generators, Railway operators, Airports, Telecoms industries, Fuel industry, Football clubs, Electronic industries, Channel Tunnel, Banks, Cruise liners, Freight industry National Lottery, North Sea Oil Rigs, Gambling, Hotels, or Nuclear sites.
What do the people really want when they say the State should ‘do more’? For a start they want all public transport removed from private ownership, returned to State control, and to provide a reliable, efficient, and cost effective public service that matches what they have in other comparable countries, surely?
Let’s start then with the Buses, which used to be run successfully by our local authorities, but were privatised by the Conservatives in the eighties and were then supposed to provide a subsidy free comprehensive ‘competitive’ service. But it didn’t work at all did it? No, most of the emerging companies were quickly driven out of business (within a decade), and we are left now with the so called Big 5, but also with a large number of foreigners (including French & Singaporeans) now trying to join the British gravy train and get a growing foothold in the market – and the taxpayer is providing massive financial subsidies for them all to provide essential route cover and proper timetables. In a word our current bus services are expensive and ‘crap’, aren’t they?
Second, but perhaps of even of more significance, is our Railways, isn’t it? A rushed ill-considered totally bodged privatisation job by the Tories back twenty years ago, which has left us today in 2015 with a public fortune costing, dysfunctional, incapable, demonstrably dreadful train service, and totally incomparably bad to those of other similar countries. People from all walks of life and all political persuasions want it re-nationalised, don’t they? And damn the cost.
Probably the biggest thing the public want though is the Government to get to grips with the NHS and its critical failure to cope medically as well as its progressively dire financial problems. We as a major developed country HAVE surely to commit a much higher proportion of GDP to our health care and match what other countries are investing in theirs (albeit not through the State)?
Then of course is the possibility re-nationalising Royal Mail which was recently sold-off at an enormous loss to the public purse and consequently is heading down the road to be another privatisation disaster and to be owned by foreign interests who don’t give a toss for our mail services. The general public would certainly support Labour’s ambition to do that – but how will they find the money for that, you may ask?
We also want to get back to the old days when councils built houses and owned them for rental – all stopped by Thatcher who thirty-five years ago introduced ‘right-to-buy’, bur wouldn’t let the councils use the money raised to build replacement homes (madness?) and that is why we don’t have sufficient UK housing stock in 2015. We want a lot more ‘affordable’ housing and not luxury pads, and we want them built in brown field sites and NOT on our remaining Greenbelt countryside, don’t you think?
Oh yes, many other countries have privatised resources but nevertheless have protected themselves at the same time to provent external interests ruling the roost – how comes then that our politicians have never done that? How many German football teams for example are owned & run by foreigners like Arabs, Americans, Asians, Russians, and the likes?
[What do YOU want our next government to do ‘more’ of? Why not tell your candidate MP?].