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As @UKLabour announce free #broadband for all - or "#BroadbandCommunism" as Tory government propaganda service the @BBC prefer to call it, here's a short THREAD on privatisation in the UK.
Privatisation has been central to the neoliberal project for decades. The 'market' goes deep into spheres of society previously insulated from business: private firms, their owners & senior managers profit from services that should be provided publicly, on the basis of need.
The objective of Thatcher's privatization was to turn British people into a nation of shareholders. It failed. Before Thatche, almost 40% of the shares in British companies were held by individuals. By 1981, it was less than 30%. When she died in 2013, it was under 12%.
Thatcher promoted the misleading view that greed on the part of a private executive elite is the chief & sufficient engine of prosperity for all. The concepts of duty & public service have been almost completely denigrated. Work is now all about money.
Our #NHS is hanging in there, but has been commercialised & reorganised, with competition introduced to create a kind of shadowing of an as-yet-unrealised private health insurance system. PFI repayments are crippling. Johnson & Trump will certainly privatise, given the chance.
The privatisation of council housing - 2.5 million council houses sold at - like all privatisations, put more money into the hands of a small number of the wealthiest people, at the expense of the old, sick, jobless & working poor & contributed to the property credit bubble.
All this allowed successive governments to lower taxes for short-term & opportunistic political gain. When the Thatcher came to power, the main VAT rate was 8%. It is now 20%. And the poorer you are, the harder VAT hits you.
In 2010, for the richest fifth of the population, VAT added an extra 4% to their tax bill. But the poorest fifth, often thought by the better off to pay no tax at all, actually paid 8.7% of their income to the Treasury in VAT.
Tax is generally thought of as something that only a government can levy, but this is bullshit that favours the free market belief system. If a payment to an authority, public or private, is compulsory, it's a tax.
We can't do without electricity; the electricity bill is an electricity tax. We can't do without water; the water bill is a water tax. Some people can get by without railways, and some can't; they pay the rail tax. Students pay the university tax.
The 'catastrophic' privatisation of Britain’s railways has cost the taxpayer around £5BILLION/year & driven up fares by 20%. Much more effective state regulation is needed if privatisation is to lead to performance improvements, including lower prices or improved services.
By 2009, 132 of the world’s 500 most valuable corporations were privatised former state enterprises. But within this neoliberal framework, very few countries were actually prepared to go quite so far quite so fast as the UK.
British state assets were sold off at remarkably cheap prices. Shares in BT jumped from 130p at privatisation to £15 by 1999. Revenues from the sale of public assets allowed successive Tory governments to maintain public spending while cutting taxes for short-term electoral gain.
Prior to privatisation, the British public sector outperformed comparable private sector companies: total factor productivity in gas, electricity & water increased by 3.1% between 1950 & 1985 (US privately owned counterparts 2.6% & UK manufacturing 1.8% over the same period).
Evidence from around the world – from Korea & Taiwan to Norway, France & Germany – amply demonstrates that public ownership can be highly efficient & competitive. Many of the world’s best-known companies are significantly publicly owned, as is much of world oil production.
There is also the great irony that many of the companies that have taken over operation of Britain’s privatised utilities, infrastructure, & public services are themselves state owned & operated – but by other countries!
Ask yourself why Sir David Cecil Clementi, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, is currently Chairman of the @BBC, given that prior to that, he advised the Thatcher govt on a number of privatisations - including BT.
Finally, it's all a con. While we all suffered the effects of austerity, Britain's richest 1,000 individuals INCREASED their grotesque wealth by £274 BILLION between 2013 & 2018.

If you STILL vote Tory after this, FUCK YOU.

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