"Even 12 months ago nationalisation seemed a quaint notion from yesteryear - as remote from today's concerns as big band music, ration coupons and nylons. Nobody who wanted to be taken seriously by mainstream opinion could ever champion the self-evidently economically wasteful and amoral act of nationalisation.
But a credit crisis that has forced the reluctant nationalisation of one bank in Britain, Northern Rock, and the socialisation of some £15bn of loans of another in America, Bear Stearns, is forcing mainstream opinion to think the unthinkable."
writes Will Hutton, economics editor of the Observer. Well, Will, some of us have never dropped our belief in nationalisation, however 'untrendy' holding such a belief became in the Thatcherite/New Labour era. As the disastrous consequences of privatisation become more and more apparent- be it our rip-off utility bills, our terrible privately-owned public transport or the fiasco at Terminal 5-, it's good to see 'mainstream' commentators like Hutton now calling for nationalisation to be put back on the agenda. As I've argued before, a progressive agenda in Britain today means turning the clock back, to the days before the neoliberals wreaked their damage on our economic and social fabric. And a programme of renationalisation is the key element in such an agenda.
UPDATE: Incredibly, there are those who think that after 30 years of neoliberalism and disastrous privatisations, Britain 'still needs more Thatcherism'!! Philip Johnston in today's Daily Telegraph, writes:
"Nor were Thatcher's other reforms reversed by Labour. The privatisations that took place under her premiership (railways came later) are all accepted as normal today. There will be many people under 30 who might be amazed to learn that you once had to fly on a state-owned airline."
And equally Philip, after the B.A. Terminal 5 fiasco, there will be many people over 30 who wish that Britain still had a state-owned airline.