The intention to privatise – or, as I’d prefer to say, piratise – Royal Mail, contrary to manifesto promises, comes as the culmination of a quarter century of laying waste the public services. As to be expected, the postal affairs minister Pat McFadden, when interviewed last Monday on the Today programme dodged all the questions put to him and didn’t even attempt to explain why a private company could do what public resources could not.
A day later at a strategic moment it was declared that a massive deficit exists in the pension fund, and government support will be dependent on acceptance of piratisation.
Ever since the first piratisations went into effect in the 1980s the outcome has been the same – from BT, water, gas, electricity, through municipal bus services, hospital catering and cleaning, etc. etc. to the railways – deteriorating services, price hikes and megaprofits for the pirates. Slowly, bit, by bit, the same is being done to the NHS and education as well.
In spite of its manifest failure what Thatcher began Blair and Brown have continued on the same course with, if anything, even greater enthusiasm. No surprise that the current piratiser-in-chief under Brown is the notorious Mandelson, twice disgraced and sacked for unethical conduct, a dogmatic exponent and promoter of predatory capitalism and all its grisly manifestations.
Meanwhile David Freud, formerly chief adviser to James Purnell, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and author of the latest project for further immiserating the least fortunate members of society, suddenly morphs into a Tory frontbench spokesperson in the Lords. That just about says it all.