"I never thought when I was a mere lad that I would live to see the Bennite vision of the nationalisation of the banks fulfilled, and with the full-throated support of the Tory party."bemoans arch-Thatcherite Simon Heffer in today’s Daily Telegraph.
Well, ok- it's only part-nationalisation, but it is still wonderful news. I am a fairly optimistic person by nature, but if you had told me, when I co-founded the Campaign for Public Ownership earlier this year, that within a few months, the neoconservative administration in Washington would be embarking on the biggest nationalisation programme in America’s history- and that in Britain the 'New Labour' government would be part-nationalising Britain's eight biggest banks, I would have found it very hard to believe. But it’s happened.
2008 has been the year that the twenty-nine year nationalisation taboo has been well and truly broken. Now it‘s time for all of us who believe that extending public ownership should be a key element of economic policy, and not merely an ‘emergency measure’- to rescue failing enterprises- to make the case for the government to renationalise our rip-off utility companies, our airports, the railways and public transport. And of course to halt the creeping privatisation of the National Health Service.
The 1979 Thatcherite neo-liberal counter-revolution has run its course- destroyed by the very greed which it did so much to encourage. And in order for us to go forward again as an economy- and society- we need to turn the clock back to the collectivist days of 1945. Public Ownership is back on the political agenda, and Simon Heffer and his fellow Thatcherite ideologues are very unhappy little bunnies indeed, as their 'free market', greed-driven, turbo-capitalist world collapses before their very eyes.
It really is time to pop the champagne corks!