At what point did we decide that Government should run like a Business? It’s an idea that’s grown during my lifetime, so I don’t think it was always this way. Sometime, probably in the Eighties, people decided that the corporate business model was the way to go. Efficiency through competition. If something can’t survive in the free market, it deserves to fail. Privatisation of formerly government services took hold. We were told that Business people run them better and the Government got a big sack of cash. Great in the short term.
How’s the Long term working out?
All the so-called ‘Public Services’ are in decay. Energy companies have failed to invest in green energy alternatives, fossil fuels are running out, so now we’re in an energy crisis. Water Companies have failed to invest in their own pipe networks, so every year this rainy little island gets a hosepipe ban, and when it does rain, the water companies flush raw sewage into the sea, because they haven’t built the reservoirs to deals with the overflow. Our railways are falling apart because private companies own the trains, which do make money, while the government owns the tracks, which don’t.
The government lauds the Free Market, but the market they’ve created isn’t free. There is no competition between water companies. The Energy suppliers compete by all charging the same high prices. Public transport prices continue to rise, knowing that people have no choice but to pay if they want to get to work, the shops or anywhere else.
But that’s Business. It’s all about the profit. And that’s why GOVERNMENT is supposed to be something else. Something that protects those things outside the profit motive. by that I mean PEOPLE.
There used to be some competition for workers between the Public sector and the Private sector. The Public sector tended to offer more stability and job security, while the Private sector would offer higher wages, advancement, bonuses, etc. The Private Sector would have to compete with the public sector. However, over the last 12 years, the Tories have consistently given below cost-of-living pay increases, effectively pay cuts, so the private sector didn’t have to offer more. Their competition was a race to see who could squeeze more out of the workers for the least amount of pay.
And boy, howdy was the competition fierce.
With public sector wages stagnant, the private sector followed suit. The Tories aided them further by not increasing the minimum wage, and bringing in zero hours contracts. The average worker is screwed whichever way they turn.
The Government are supposed to be on our side. The Government has a responsibility to protect the Public, from the rampant greed of the free market. But our Tory government are more interested in joining in on the rampant greed. They are not interested in helping the Public.
This has been clearly illustrated in our Year Of Strikes. Rishi Sunak has admitted that, given what the Rail Strikes have cost the British economy, it would have been cheaper to just give the Unions what they wanted. But that would violate Tory Ideology.
The Tories didn’t want to negotiate with the Rail Unions; when talks between the owners and the unions looked close to making a deal, the government would throw in some clause that they knew the unions would never accept. Even the Owners were getting frustrated. But the Tories wanted to intimidate the other unions. They wanted to project the image that they were hard as nails and wouldn’t give an inch. They were all trying to channel the spirit of Maggie Thatcher, and frankly, they didn’t have the Hairstyle or the handbag to pull it off.
The Other Unions were not intimidated. Every Union that has polled it’s members has voted for strike action.
The last three years of lockdowns and restrictions have given the public a fresh understanding of the term ‘Essential Worker.’ And the British Public are solidly behind the Strikers. As the divide between rich and poor grows, with more people falling on the poor side, someone needs to be fighting for the ordinary citizen. It’s supposed to be the Government, but they’re too busy playing ‘Businessman.’
The Tory plan to dismantle and privatise everything (you’re next, NHS) is clear to everyone. They aren’t hiding it under the guise of making things more efficient anymore. It’s all about greed.
This Government has abandoned it’s responsibility to its Citizens. If we don’t get a new government soon, we may as well just abandon government altogether.