Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why Northern Rock should stay in public ownership



Widely respected human rights campaigner and Green Party parliamentary candidate Peter Tatchell (above) makes a powerful case for Northern Rock to stay permanently in public ownership in the Guardian:

"Northern Rock should remain permanently in public ownership and should branch out into ethical investment. It could, for example, adjust its investment strategies and carve out a niche market as the high street's leading green and ethical bank.
The Northern Rock saga is not just about the fate of one bank. It is the new frontline in the battle between public versus private ownership, control and accountability.
For the left, greens, liberals and all progressives the nationalisation of Northern Rock cannot be allowed to fail; that would be another defeat for public ownership. Northern Rock must succeed to demonstrate that public ownership can work where free market capitalism has failed."

You can read the rest of Peter Tatchell's excellent article here. And if you agree that public ownership needs to be back at the top of the political agenda, then this is the campaign for you.

5 comments:

Roland Hulme said...

The problem is, it's not 'public' ownership.

It's just 'government' ownership.

And if the Iraq war has shown us anything - it's that the government is not accountable to the people who elect it.

It seems the only effective vote these days is with your money.

slapheads anonymous said...

The problem is, it's not 'public' ownership.

It's just 'government' ownership.


Indeed. And given that Neil is normally only too happy to slag off the government (while proselytising for a utopian vision that involves more state control), why is this a good thing?

It seems the only effective vote these days is with your money.

Absolutely. It's called competition. And the level of accountability that it engenders is far greater (and far more immediate) than any form of state interference.

Anonymous said...

"It's called competition."

So why have prices risen?

Sounds like your "utopian vision" of accountability is a bit detatched from reality, matey.

slapheads anonymous said...

So why have prices risen?

Energy prices have risen because oil and gas prices have massively risen - it's not exactly rocket science, and the upward trend wouldn't have been any different under nationalisation, as the suppliers are generally outside the control of the British government.

On the other hand, telecoms prices have fallen significantly since privatisation - I remember transatlantic calls being so expensive that they were the rarest of luxuries. Similarly, the cost of internet access is the merest fraction of what it was a decade ago, when I was on metered dial-up.

And the reason it's so cheap today is because hundreds of companies are cutting each other's throats to offer the best deals - only the other day I had BT ring me to dangle what sounded like a ridiculously good offer in front of my nose, if only I'd guarantee to sign another 12-month contract.

And I loved the underlying desperation (they're clearly running scared of Virgin's aggressive marketing) because it means that the humble customer is ultimately going to benefit.

Anonymous said...

Well that just about sums up where your head is at: We can't to afford to heat our houses or cook food, but we should rejoice because we can call abroad and write bollocks on the internet.

You're in cloud cuckoo land.