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John McDonnell will bankrupt the Tube and there’s no such thing as a free market

No sooner has John McDonnell outlined his ambition to renationalise energy, rail and water than news reaches us of a shortfall. The Guardian notes:

Transport for London (TfL) has insisted it is not facing a financial crisis despite planning for a near £1bn deficit next year after a surprise fall in passenger numbers.

Mr McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today earlier:

“It would be cost free. You borrow to buy an asset and when that asset is producing profits like the water industry does, that will cover your borrowing cost.”

The assets make the profits. The profits pay the bills. What about if people alter their behaviour?

He went on:

“We aren’t going to take back control of these industries in order to put them into the hands of a remote bureaucracy, but to put them into the hands of all of you – so that they can never again be taken away.”

But bureaucrats will still run the entity, albeit ones appointed by the State, right? Who are they accountable to? How does anyone get redress for poor service? Is McDonnell seeking to serve taxpayers best or just tying to give meaning, direction and authority to the State?

“Public ownership is not just a political decision, it’s an economic necessity. We’ll move away from the failed privatisation model of the past, developing new democratic forms of ownership, joining other countries, regions and cities across the world in taking control of our essential services.”

So you take over the London Underground, and budget accordingly. And then there’s a £1bn deficit. Which means..? As Ronald Reagan put it in 1986: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”



But business has never been independent of the State. What of PPI, regulation and subsidies, which rather dampen the idea that immense profits are being made? (In 2006-7, the Government spent £6.8 billion of public money in the the privatised rail industry – around half what it cost to run the entire thing.) What of Government calls for curbs on executive pay and vows to “fix the broken housing market”? So much for the free market.

Tony Blair told us “Stability can be a sexy thing”. Theresa May wants to be “strong and stable”. They seek to maintain the status quo. Doesn’t that add up to the established businesses and their links to Government rolling on and on and not entrepreneurship, the best of which is often triggered by volatility and daring?

McDonnell’s monocular and forgetful call for re-nationalisation has not come out of the blue. It’s just an addendum to current and recent Government policy and a crisis of purpose.

Posted: 15th, February 2018 | In: Broadsheets, Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

After Grenfell: John McDonnell suggests Camden Council is guilty of attempted murder?

John McDonnell says the Grenfell Tower disaster was “murder”. The shadow chancellor says the victims of the horror in west London were “murdered”. He says the dead were “murdered” as a “direct consequence of Tory attitudes to social housing”, cuts to fire brigade numbers and political decisions made over “decades”. As such the guilty should be charged with murder, no? And the likes of Camden Council leader Georgia Gould, where residents have been forcibly evacuated from tower blocks swaddled in flammable cladding similar to that used at Grenfell Tower, should be arrested for attempted murder, right?

Camden Council is run by Labour. The cladding on its estate in Swiss Cottage was installed in 2006, under Tony Blair’s Labour government. It’s good to see that McDonnell is not biased in his call for justice. In his judgement, Tory and Labour members are all guilty of murder. Lock ’em up. And the LibDems, too, after all they formed the coalition government. And let age be no barrier to justice. Go back over those decades when mass murder was fomenting in politicians’ warped hearts, and lock up anyone still alive. Strip honours from the dead.

McDonnell’s judgement that the dead were “murdered” is at least hasty. The deaths of 79 innocent people were not designed and arranged. Georgia Gould’s decision to evacuate the towers in her area was not because she experienced a change of heart about murdering scores of people. Thousands of people who advised and worked on cladding tower blocks with dangerous substances are not part of a huge conspiracy to murder. If they are, they are being remarkable silent.

McDonnell makes get play of speaking up for the victims. But we know how little politicians think of the great unwashed by their attitudes to Brexit. When the working classes and poor voted for change, they were called thick. David Lammy, who lost a friend in the Grenfell fire, wanted the Brexit vote undone by the politicians, you know, those people who knew best about social housing and used their nous to commit “murder” in a decades-long plot. “We can stop this madness’: London MP David Lammy calls on Commons to overrule Brexit vote and ‘end nightmare’,” ran the headline. As one writer notes: “Lammy has pushed himself to the forefront of politicising Grenfell. He wants to be a voice for the voiceless. We must be a society where ‘we care for the poorest and the vulnerable’, he says. This is the same David Lammy who following the first June disturbance, following Brexit, devoted himself to overthrowing the voice of the voiceless.”

Politics matters, but let’s not put too much faith in politicians.

Meanwhile, it turns out that every council block cladding checked since Grenfell has failed fire safety tests. So far 60 of 600 blocks have been tested. And what of the insulation behind the cladding? No news on that.

Posted: 26th, June 2017 | In: News | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0

Man of the Establishment John McDonnell wants mass protest to bring down the Government

We should like it that John McDonnell speaks his mind. The shadow chancellor wants people to “get out on the streets” in support of Labour, to force Theresa May from office and to further the cause for another General Election and with it what he hopes will be victory for his Labour Party.

“We need people doing everything they can to ensure the election comes as early as possible,” says McDonnell. “What we need now is the TUC mobilised, every union mobilised, get out on the streets,” the Shadow Chancellor said in comments reported by the Morning Star. “Just think if the TUC put out that call – that we want a million on the streets of London in two weeks’ time.”


Brexit Labour

Via Private Eye


McDonnell, who went on to talk about his “comrades” in Labour, has much form when it comes to saying what’s in his head. He refused to apologise for calling Esther McVey a “stain on humanity”. “Sometimes it is better to be honest with people about how you feel,” he said. “At times, in parliament in particular, it means using strong language that reflects your honest views.”

I’m no fan of McDonnell, his calls for revolution mask a man steeped in conformity, who wants a society funded on taxation and welfare.

I enjoy his call for protest, a cornerstone of any democracy. But does a raucous protest – Occupy, anyone? – do anything other than gain media attention? The suspicion is that McDonnell, an MP and with that job title a member of the Establishment, would rather the marchers and Left presented themselves as victims of oppression than as active agents in a fight for meaningful change. If you can’t win through political argument – and twitter is wrong; Labour lost – you call for those already on your side and with time on their hands to get together and hope that being there is enough.


Posted: 15th, June 2017 | In: News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0