As we face an impending winter energy crisis, Curtis Daly explains why now is the time to renationalise the energy sector, along with much more.
As our energy prices skyrocket and smaller energy companies go bust, we are in another crisis. The government is looking to give loans to larger companies who expect to see their profits drop, and whilst it’s not exactly like 2008, us taxpayers are still footing the bill while the executives continue to rake in the cash. It’s high time to re-nationalise our energy sector, along with much, much more.
Heading into winter, the country faces another catastrophe, this time with energy.
The UK faces the highest electricity prices in Europe. On top of that, National Insurance will be increased, Universal Credit is due to be cut, and now it seems we must bail out the failing energy suppliers.
Under capitalism, businesses fail if the market deems them unworthy. That’s just the game. Yet when it comes to essential services, it’s not just the business that’s affected. This current crisis shows that millions of people are at risk this winter due to businesses failing. Surely, it’s irresponsible to leave certain sectors up to the whims of the market?
It’s time we stopped running around in circles, trying to ‘fix’ the market in favour of consumers, and instead – we need to renationalise our essential services.
This should include:
Energy, water, transport, broadband, and the end of the privatisation of Royal Mail and the NHS.
But let’s go back….
When did privatisation kick into overdrive? You guessed it.
When Thatcher won for the second time in 1983, the privatisation agenda moved from a small part of the Tories’ manifesto to one of the main cores of her government.
Notably British Telecom was sold off in 1984, followed by British Aerospace and British Gas in 1986. Rolls Royce and British Airways got the same treatment in 1987.
This has been happening ever since, with Royal Mail receiving the cold hand of profiteering in 2013.
Conservatives claim to love capitalism and the free market, yet the market is constantly manipulated by bailing out companies that should be left to fail, if one were to be consistent with their capitalist ideology.
So, what are the benefits of public ownership?
Number 1, it’s cheaper
With the middleman cut out, prices reflect the cost rather than profiteering. Currently, not only are you paying for the service, but you also need to pay extra for the companies’ profits. Without profiteering, you know every penny spent is going towards the service.
Another great aspect of public ownership means it has the potential to be free at the point of use.
A business operates to spend as a little as possible whilst trying to attain its highest possible profits. A good example we have is our railways. Train operating companies historically have had short term contracts, meaning there is little to no incentive to invest.
With public ownership, a budget surplus would either be reinvested into the service or spent on other public services such as the NHS.
Inequality has exploded, but not just income – wealth too. Turning vital services into private enterprises makes the rich richer. Nationalisation helps reduce inequality; it stops corporations ripping off services for profit. This means we could provide services at a reduced cost for people.
Take back control. Our country has been looted by the wealthy for long enough. Public services should be run in the interests of the people, not wealthy fat cats who put profit above all else.
In Labour’s 2017 manifesto, the document talked about ‘Alternative Models of Ownership’. Specifically, I want to talk about municipal ownership.
The idea was popularised at the end of the 19th century, when local services were taken from private hands or from the national level. Locally led services allow for a much more accountable, democratic process. Not only does it include local residents into the process, but it also means that the needs of the local community are more easily met.
Municipal ownership takes our services away from corporate control. But it also takes it away from the bureaucratic nature of national government. It allows for the local community to thrive, as it works as a part of community wealth building without being held hostage by political games from central government.
Make no mistake, privatisation is a scam – a way to move public money into private hands – and it’s time we changed that.
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