Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Psst...tell Sid

Do you remember when British Gas belonged to us? When we owned the public utilities? The GPO ran telephony, British Gas supplied gas, the CEGB generated electricity, British Rail ran railways....I hear on the news that British Gas which strangely belongs to a bunch of people called "shareholders", almost none of whom has any serious money worries in the manner that the bulk of ordinary working people do, is raising the cost of buying its product by something like 35%! This is a company which made a profit last year in the billions. Incidentally the wholesale cost of gas has reduced by 50% in the last few days.

If British Gas was still actually a British publicly owned company like it should be, this simply would not, could not, have happened. The organisation which ran it on behalf of the people wouldn't have dared to do such a bare faced and brazen thing. This is because it was the government and we, the people, would have voted them out at the first opportunity.

Exactly the same argument applies to the other privatised utilities and transport services. The rampant drive to privatise everything started by Obergruppenfuhrer Thatcher, continued by Major and, shamefully, continued rather than reversed by this ersatz Labour government has resulted in higher costs to consumers, lower standards of service and unadulterated greed by directors and shareholders. Am I the only one who thinks it's time to cry "stop!"?I doubt I'm the only one to notice, either, that we've all been being encouraged to go green and minimise our use of energy by insulating our houses and using low energy light bulbs etc. This, quite naturally, results in lower energy bills.

The British Gas spokesman during his justification for the outrageous increase admitted that householders are cutting their own bills in this manner. So in order to satisfy huge corporate greed and a malignant political philosophy all our "responsible" efforts to save energy result in higher prices. So heads, they win; tails, we lose.

Capitalism, don't you just love it?

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