Have I understood this right? Is the Royal Mail to be thrown to corporations and investors in the same way as the railways were, as energy was? I don’t know much about the issues involved but this just comes across as a ridiculous decision. The blog Left Foot Forward discusses the problems with the plan well here. The point about railways is particularly pertinent; privatisation is often seen as a solution to economic problems, but what good has it done the railways? We’ve since had to put up with overpriced fares and overcrowding. Will stamps simply rise further as a result of this? I’d like to believe that it’s a decision which has been thought through but I suspect it’s a further part of the government’s agenda to privatise everything. What is perhaps surprising is that this plan is largely being headed by business secretary Vince Cable, a Liberal Democrat. The illusion of the Liberal Democrats being a centre-left party is rapidly fading, and I’m wondering whether I should take back the vague compliment I granted them recently.
If the government does carry through with this, you can be sure this will stick. Sure, Labour whinges now, but I have no doubt they’ll soon accept this as willingly as they accepted Thatcher’s privatisations in the 1980s. I’m beginning to see why Labour’s achievements in power tend to be undone to a greater extent than the Conservatives’; Labour always seem to get dragged into accepting the policies of Conservative governments.
I can’t help wondering, what next? Will the next Conservative government privatise the NHS? Education? That seems ridiculous now but it’s the direction we appear to be heading in. Another economic depression, another right-wing government, and nothing will be seen as too valuable to have spending ‘saved’.
Am I wrong? As I said, I don’t know enough about this to comment with certainty. Please let me know how you feel about this!
(All this said, would privatising it remove the ‘Royal’ from the title? That might almost be worthwhile…)