Analysis comment

Tories allow energy bills to rise further 12%. Countries with nationalised energy cut

No excuse for Starmer’s unwillingness to nationalise energy – privatisation continues to rip of the UK’s people

Keir Starmer’s refusal to say he will nationalise energy, despite both official conference policy and the massive public popularity of the idea, has been thrown into stark relief with the Tories allowing a further twelve percent increase in energy bills, despite the already-huge burden on millions of struggling families – and by the actions of governments with nationalised energy sectors to ease the burden on their people.

  • Greece has announced a €108 subsidy for 70% of housefholds
  • Italy has commited €3.5 billion to an energy subsidy for 5.5 million struggling people
  • France has given €100 non-repayable grants to six million
  • Spain has announced a windfall tax on energy corporations and a cut in electricity prices

A similar pattern is seen in rail travel prices, where residents of countries with nationalised rail pay a fraction of the gouged prices UK residents face – in part driven by the fact that parts of the privatised rail system here belongs to nationalised energy providers in countries, helping to fund subsidies for their people.

The Tories are in bed with those who make billions off the back of struggling UK people. That’s what they do. But Starmer’s decision to cuddle up to them – especially when he committed to nationalisation to get elected as Labour leader – is an outright betrayal of the millions facing hardship and even ‘heat or eat’ decisions in this country.

It’s not complicated: nationalising energy – and other key national infrastructure – is hugely popular with voters. But even more importantly, it’s the right thing to do.

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  1. He’s fucking clueless, isn’t he? The perfect storm: end of furlough, loss of UC uplift, energy prices up (I hope we don’t get a bad winter), shelves empty, panic buying, ‘the best conference ever’ and he’s still behind the Tories.

  2. He is less than totally useless, as a newer member to Labour, I joined because I liked the Corbyn policies and resigned because of Party moving to close to the Tories. Who in their right mind would oppose nationalisation of the energy and rail services. You never hear them complain of their nationalised public services in Europe!
    We should be miles ahead in the polls yet this right wing leader keeps dragging us towards the right. Time for the Unions to set up a real alternative and bring back into the fold the 150,000 members lost during Starmer’s reign! Can you believe that, we have LOST more members than the Conservatives have in their Party, and yet Starmer and his cronies think that they have now the right policies to win an election, yes the RIGHT policies!
    It’s sad to watch the demise of the real Labour Party and at the same time lose democracy within the Party

    1. The Labour Party has literally been hijacked lock stock and barrel by a bunch of criminals. It didn’t happen overnight, it happened slowly in front of everyone’s eyes. Yet instead of fighting back, those whom we trusted to watch out for the takeover were too busy suspending/expelling members from their own side!

      Are we going to give in and let the right wing have a Party built up by working people over decades, to which the hijackers have no right, or are we going to fight back?

      1. If only we could. They have control of everything, the economy, religion, education and history. I notice that Tony Robinson is narrating a series of “forgotten wars”, tonight it’s the turn of “Bosnia”. Dear old Baldrick will be spinning like a top but won’t mention the jihadi massacres or the EU/American efforts to destabilise Yugoslavia through sanctions and support for nationalist groups. However, I digress. In terms of politics, defence and foreign policy, we are a managed democracy. This also applies to mainstream media and the establishment. Spectacle and nostalgia are used to promote patriotism but also very successfully to promote cynicism and detachment so people like us will have no incentive to take part. There is very little investigative reporting and the security forces monitor everything. Up till recently ‘free speech’ was, with a few exceptions mostly allowed. This is no longer true, particularly in the Labour party.
        A managed democracy requires a managed opposition and that broke down fleetingly under Corbyn. The response was the ongoing expulsion of anyone considered a threat. It won’t be allowed to happen again. The only opportunity I see for change is if an economic crash were sufficiently severe that it destroyed the middle class. Untill then it’s business as usual.

  3. Yes Lundiel he is useless Starmer is taking orders from past the old Blairites mandy etal they are his backers he has to obey or else. He is more concerned about his own career such as it is. We need a leader who can inspire address the real problems rather than try to go back to the past. The centralists just fiddled around with the edges never brought any radical change from Thatcherism and her neoliberal ideology, which is at the centre of the mess we are in.

  4. Surely the point of BREXIT was that the rest of the EU would NOT own our railways, buses, energy etc.

  5. MR ANDREW JENKINSON. Yes, that was one of the many lines spun by the Brexiteers but it was false. Brexit was a right wing concept to which unfortunately some on the left bought into.

    They used the ploy of concentrating on the less well off areas of the UK and telling them it was those nasty people over there in the EU who are responsible for your problems, when in reality it was right wing governments here who were exploiting them.

    It was designed, as most right wing ideas are, to divide and weaken and give the right even greater ability to trample upon our rights so that we could be exploited. Unfortunately many ordinary working people fell for the con and are now reaping the ‘rewards’, Those who foisted Brexit upon us will not suffer of course, it is they who will profit.

    “Have you been involved in a car-crash which wasn’t your fault? – Yes, BREXIT.”

    1. In Germany gas and electricity are provided by regional publicly owned entities. Prices are about 50% higher than in the UK. The problem with nationalisation as those over the age of 50 will recall is lack of investement leading to poor service and high prices because the nationalised providers are stuffed with inept, here today gone tomorrow, political appointees, useless quangos etc and money is diverted to useless centrally planned projects. Think of the tens of billions wasted in the UK on government IT programmes and reorganisations in the last 20 years. Think British Rail, BEA and BOAC etc etc. Nationalisation doesn’t work. Ordinary working people (not you wine bar socialists) know it.

      1. Your argument against public ownership dates from the age of BOAC. A time largely before computers when staff levels were so much higher and there was a strict delineation of power. It bears no resemblance to how business runs today. The NHS would have imploded long ago in your false reality. Instead, the only thing that has hindered the NHS was its marketisation. Modern public ownership, if run properly, will have a dearth of investors, particularly pension funds. Anyone other than an ideologue like you realises the benefits of removing the middle man and ‘ordinary working people’ aren’t all doffing their caps to the great and the good. Nor do they believe those people know best or have their interests at heart.

      2. Plain Citizen Prior to privatisation, British Rail was one of the most efficient railway operators in Europe, if not the most efficient. Tories such as yourself want us to forget that it is Tories, because they cannot use them themselves to reward their cronies, deliberately underfund and mismanage nationalised services, just as they are doing now with the NHS and the police.

      3. Mr citizen forgot to mention that the high cost of energy, easily the highest in Europe, is due to the country’s transition from fossil fuels and atomic energy to renewables.

      4. And yet again, like a broken record, plain citizen talks a load of bollocks!

      5. Plain Citizen, you are talking a load of horsesh*t. I’m 73 and of course I remember the days when we had what was described as a “mixed” economy. This meant that the state sector was a very significant part of the economy. State ownership was used to control prices and to provide a good measure of support to the low-waged and vulnerable by the direct provision of housing, gas and electricity, public transport and healthcare. Post and telecommunications were also nationalised, as was a good part of the leading industries of the economy, such as coal and steel.

        I can remember that as a working-class child, I lived in a home that was always warm in winter because my parents paid a reasonable, affordable price for heating. We did not have to suffer cold shocks as we moved from room to room because the whole house was heated. It was something that, as a beneficiary of the welfare state, I took for granted. Nationalisation sure worked for me, and many others in my situation. At the moment, as a pensioner with a part-time job, I have suffered fire and rehire, as a result of which, my wages have been cut by 26.2%. Today I received an e-mail from my dual-fuel provider, informing me that their prices were “changing”, and stating that they were planning to take another £40 a month from my bank account to meet their ‘needs’. What “high prices” under nationalisation are you talking about? I am being asked to pay £2,004 per year for gas and electricity from 1st November. My parents would literally be turning in their graves at the mere mention of such a vast sum for the simple human need to keep a normal body temperature in the coldest season of the year.

        As I see it “ordinary working people” are being cheated, victimised and abused by capitalist conglomerates who care nothing for their most basic needs. It doesn’t need to be like that, of course. We can organise and fight back. But we can no longer have illusions in the Labour Party. We have to build a new party, by and for working people that will lend solidarity, not only to those fighting for fair pay and conditions at work, but also those in the community struggling for decent housing, pensions and benefits set at a realisic level, defence of the NHS as a socialised healthcare provider and many others.

        Why, Plain Citizen, are you skulking around a socialist website, with your right-wing prattling. Just naff off to the Sun, Mail or Telegraph websites. I’m sure you will find more kindred spirits there.

      6. Plain Citizen: Perhaps if you understood why those Nationalised industries were deliberately sabotaged by the Tories you might just understand what is happening to the NHS today.

        Here is the document in 1977 where the Tories outlined how they would undermine the Nationalised industries, make then make profits, then hand them over to the treasury where the money simply disappears rather than reinvested. It also highlights how the sought to undermine unions and indeed use the arms of the state to suppress them.

        Everything that has happened over the last 40 odd years has not happened by accident, but planned, just as it appears the Tory Plant Starmer is.

  6. The problem, Jack, with your argument is that under the EU’s neo-liberal rules, imposed against the wishes of most Europeans, no Labour government would be allowed to renationalise industries.
    There is a great deal wrong with the way that Brexit was handled- the devil really is in the details- but a decent Socialist government would have been able to negotiate a decent deal which would have allowed the UK not only to regain sovereignty but to use it to make the country independent of both Brussels and Washington.

    1. Bevin, I am afraid you are wrong and your argument was one which some on the left persuaded others on the left to go along with. The EU regulations say competition should not be prevented. There would be nothing to prevent any private company trying to compete against a nationalised utility. For example, even when we were in the EU, Scottish Water was still a nationalised utility. In Holland, water, electricity and gas networks are all nationalised and it is illegal to privatise them. There are many other examples.

      Surely, even the most avid Brexiteers must accept that Brexit has been of zero benefit to the UK and has brought many downsides. It is the greatest example of self inlicted harm Britain has ever committed.

      1. Jack T, you are right but at the same time wrong. Correos the Spanish Post Office still a public company but due to EU legislation right now it provides services under a contract that will run out on 2025 and will have to be renegotiated.
        Renfe the equivalent to British Rail was in 2003 split into two companies. On paper they still nationalised companies but the one that provide the services is able to enter into contracts to provide services with the private sector. Spain been Spain, we have managed to keep the private sector somehow at bay, but the provision is there.
        Bevin is right when he states that under EU legislation already privatised companies, cannot be re-nationalised. However, I believe Bevin is wrong when he makes the argument of the UK regaining sovereignty after Brexit, that of course it did is a desirable thing, it isn’t.
        I would ask sovereignty to do what? To pass the Covert Human Intelligence (sources) Bill? or the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill? When socialist that supported Brexit are going to realise that they were sold Brexit on the premises of regaining sovereignty and transfer of legislative powers from Brussels back to Westminster, but what socialist wanted Brexit forgot to ask was: sovereignty to do what?
        The EU isn’t perfect and it needs to be more accountable to its people, but had the UK remain in the EU neither of these two pieces of legislation that limit our freedoms or would allow agents of the State to commit crimes in absolute impunity would have been passed.
        Corbyn’s proposal of a Brexit that will keep us on the custom union and still very close to the EU’s institutions could have provided the best frame work to honour the Referendum’s result and made something good out of it.
        On the one hand, we would have been in a stronger position to bring the railway franchises under public control by cutting State subsidies and forcing the private companies to give up on their contracts earlier and regulating the energy companies, this eventually forcing them to give up and renationalise.
        On the other hand, the UK keeping its close ties to Europe, it would have prevented Westminster passing legislation that will be used against Trade Unions or grass roots campaigns promoting Environmental objectives or campaigning against the privatisation of the NHS. These two pieces of legislation would have never made to laws as it would contravene EU’s legislation.
        Socialist on both sides (Brexit and Remain) believed the tales the neo-liberal were spinning without realising that what Corbyn was offering was the best solution and a compromise that both sides as socialist would have been able to live with.
        What socialists that supported Brexit or Remain have to show for it right now? Are anyone of you happy with the Tory’s implementation of Brexit?

      2. Jack T: Perhaps you also fail to see that the there is no way other a rigged market system that any privatised entity could compete with a nationalised organisation. Just look at the NHS before it was privatised, prior to 2001, it was the cheapest , most efficient, most comprehensive system in the world, with overheads averaging between 4% & 6% running costs, today with private intervention those costs are around 13% to 14%.

        Not only that but in order to make the private sector viable they deliberately created shortages and ration care to force very sick people to go private.

    2. Well said. The problem was that Labour never advanced the “Lexit” line due to a certain right-wing ‘blanker’, who influenced policy to embrace what was largely seen as a treacherous ‘second referendum’ line. Labour seemed hesitant and indecisive over the whole Brexit issue, which Johnson immediately cut through with his ‘oven ready’ version of Brexit. This, above all else, carried the election. It seemed that what May could not achieve through years of negotiation, he had achieved with breathtaking ease….. And who on the Labour side was the author of this disastrous move? Yes, you guessed it. dear old Keefie!

      1. “This, above all else, carried the election. It seemed that what May could not achieve through years of negotiation, he had achieved with breathtaking ease…..”
        Incredible wasn’t it. Everyone said it’d take 10 years etc and why would the EU give us anything. Just goes to show how everything is spun for a purpose.

  7. Dont talk to me about the way Brexit was handled in the UK! Granted this
    was mostly ERGs fault with their doctrinaire Xenophobic policies but the
    Labour Party’s inept cluelessness became increasingly obvious.

    In those innocent days “we”*** did not know Starmer and thought him
    a safe pair of hands to handle Brexit. AS has been pointed out on this
    Forum it was HIM who was undecided and responsible for “Constructive
    Ambiguity” for he is absolutely no politico ..

    It was rapidly made obvious that May’s “red lines” were extremely problematic
    and not consistent with the Belfast agreement and it was reasonable to insist
    on something that was – eg Single Market membership. I was absolutely
    against a second vote except as a last resort and this was indeed the policy of the LP as voted at 2018 Conference. However this was not made clear – a complicated algorithm was presented instead with a second vote as the best thing since sliced bread …So – a bad policy – badly presented

    *** ordinary Labour Party members such as myself. An awful lot of people
    are kicking themselves ..

  8. Holby, Corbyn was leader and it was he who prevaricated. He was being hammered by both the pro EU left, the anti EU left and the right wing of the Party which included the Israel lobby.

    1. Jack T, I agree as soon as 2017 after the General Election, Corbyn should have put his food down and withdraw the Labour whip from Chukka Umuna for daring to put forward a motion to be considered during the opening of Parliament in flagrant contradiction to a Labour Manifesto pledge to honour the Referendum’s result and implement Brexit.
      It was Corbyn’s indecision that allowed socialist on both sides of the argument to carry on arguing their cases in the hope of persuading Corbyn to their side.

      1. Maria: I agree with most of what you so eloquently say, but feel what is forgotten is that the ultimate threat to Jeremy Corbyn came from all those MPs on the right 172 of them, that threatened to break away and form another party, not just the TINGE group, that eventually did.

        They could have then put Labour into a very small group of about 30 MPs which would have been pilloried from all sides as extremists etc.

        Having said that, and that was in fact Jeremy’s big mistake, it must be understood that it would have completely changed the chances of winning an election in the short term, but I would have preferred that break then than the coming debacle which may in fact end up happening; because the left will be driven out in such numbers to make it inevitable.

  9. The Tories have cut £80 per month (£6b nationally) from those on Universal Credit but hey they have given Councils £500m to give the poor grants.
    So on UC you lose £1,000 plus a year but hey if you are lucky you will get £76.40 oh and if you are on a meter your utility bill will be up £139 per annum!
    Take Wakefield as an example, there are 10,000 on UC and these citizens spend the extra £80 in local shops so it brought £11m to the Wakefield Pound.
    These grants will bring in £764,000 so only a cut of £10,0236,00! It’s called Tory levelling Up!

  10. It’s almost as if they are taking turns to gauge us, rip us off, take us to the cleaners
    Spivs and thieves running the casino economy

  11. As a PS to my post above, you don’t have to read the whole document to see the real intent, just go to the confidential annex which outlines what they actually did in practice. Then look at the miners strike, where it has been reported how they used soldiers dressed up as policemen, without number tags on their uniform.

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