If Cameron has ruled out nationalising Tata steel, he’s NOT doing everything he can

Walking away: Will steel production end in Port Talbot and other sites across the UK?

Walking away: Will steel production end in Port Talbot and other sites across the UK?

Steel production in the UK could disappear because David Cameron doesn’t want to nationalise it.

His ideological opposition to state ownership of anything could end the jobs of 40,000 skilled steel workers, but that’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make – it seems – because he won’t be affected.

Of course, if he can find a buyer, then he might escape the wrath of most UK voters when the May elections take place.

What’s the betting he’ll turn to the Chinese?

David Cameron has said the government is “doing everything it can” to resolve the steel crisis, but said nationalisation is not the right answer.

The prime minister was speaking after a meeting of ministers at Downing Street over the crisis surrounding Tata Steel’s British operations.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had called on the government to “get a grip” after Cameron began emergency discussions on the issue.

McDonnell reiterated Labour’s call for a temporary nationalisation of the Indian-owned company’s UK plants and said Cameron should swiftly come up with a plan to save an estimated 40,000 jobs, one on which he could get cross-party consensus.

“The prime minister could take a lead in this. The government’s been in a bit of disarray over the last 48 hours,” McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, noting that the junior business minister Anna Soubry had hinted at possible nationalisation before the business secretary, Sajid Javid, ruled it out.

Cameron returned from holiday in Lanzarote on Wednesday, while Javid was flying back from Australia after Tata announced it would be selling off British plants including the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales as well as sites at Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Corby in Northamptonshire and Shotton in Deeside.

The company said it was losing £1m a day, with a source claiming that the government’s failure to back calls in Europe for higher tariffs against cheap Chinese imports was the last straw.

Source: Nationalisation not the answer to steel crisis, says David Cameron | Business | The Guardian

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21 thoughts on “If Cameron has ruled out nationalising Tata steel, he’s NOT doing everything he can

  1. NMac

    I don’t suppose for one minute Cameron cares a hoot for the thousands of people who will lose their livelihoods. For him and his equally unpleasant cronies political ideological dogma outweighs everything. If he really cared about this he would have got to grips with it weeks ago. I suspect he will shed a few crocodile tears just for the press and cameras, and then get back to the business of oppressing the sick, the poor and the disabled.

    1. Stephen Mellor

      It’s not Cameron’s job to “care a hoot” about the steel workers (and others) who will lose their jobs. “Car[ing] a hoot” is both ineffective and irrelevant.

      The economic reality is that they’re not profitable. They need to find jobs where they are a net positive to themselves and the country.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        You need to read the Paul Mason article I’ve just posted up. It provides clear evidence to show why your argument is bilge.

  2. Stephen Mellor


    He’s not applying a short-term palliative to satisfy the bleaters, only to lead to long-term losses and control of the country by trades-union thugs.

    For which we can all be grateful.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Nobody calling for nationalisation of the Tata plants is asking for a relaxation of the UK’s ridiculously strict trade union laws. That’s a separate issue.
      As for your claims about Cameron – you may have a point if he finds a buyer. What if he doesn’t and our steel industry collapses?
      Think about the long-term losses that will signify!

      1. Stephen Mellor

        ¶1: They don’t need to. WE know exactly what they have in mind.

        ¶2: If he doesn’t find a buyer, the UK steel industry will be no more. So? There’s plenty of steel out there.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The WE you mention must be paranoid and in need of mental healthcare, then.
        That’s right – and it will cost the UK a hell of a lot more than it does now, once we don’t have the ability to make our own.

      3. Stephen Mellor

        This argument could be made about agriculture (and was, a century ago), shipbuilding (and was, 50 years ago) and car making too.

        And the old protectionist and state-supported industry arguments were made there too–but guess what? We got the tribal culture out, cut costs, improved productivity and now we have a car industry again.

        In short, the evidence of past protectionist and state-supported industry policies show them to be a losing strategy–short, medium ad long term.

      4. Mike Sivier Post author

        We’re not living in the past, Stephen.
        Today, the UK industry will go under because of US and Chinese protectionism. So clearly, today, protectionist and state-supported industry arguments win.
        Or are the US and Chinese steel industries about to collapse and the UK industry take over all their markets, and I just can’t see it?

      5. Jan Van der Graf

        Mike, you are arguing with a paid astroturfer. Anybody that populates a discussion with so many negative comments is working for somebody with an agenda. Ive seen so much of this and sadly, with our failing government its on the increase. They have to make it seem like somebody in the public actually likes what they are doing

      6. Mike Sivier Post author

        Would you not agree that this makes it more important to shut down his silly arguments?

  3. David

    Nationalisation of the steel industry is one of the more obvious choices open to Cameron. And an added bonus of this is that the government would have some control over it, or it would be a bonus if we had a Labour government.

    Cameron should think of the history of rail nationalisation. In 1948 the railways were in a severely run down state desperately in need of new motive power and rolling stock. The track was also in a bad state of repair causing slow journey times. None of the great companies, which had done sterling service until that time could possibly afford to renovate and develop the system which would have gone under had that great Attlee government had not stepped in to do the right thing.

    We now have a privatised rail system which takes money from the public and redistributes much of it among its shareholders. We do not want that. The East Coast Main Line, profitable and very efficient under nationalisation and paying all of its taxes was sold off to, er, you might not believe it, but nationalised railways in Germany and France which take their British profits back to their countries. We get very little from this privatisation. When this was pointed out to the hapless and useless minister of transport he had nothing to say.

    All of this reminds me that Nye Bevan said the ‘commanding heights of the economy should be under public control.’ That remains as true as it did when he said it.

    Brown’s nationalisation of some of the banks paid off after the great crash. Interestingly, as soon as the banks moved into healthy profit again they were privatised, thus diverting much taxable revenue into the private sector – a sector which will avoid paying tax wherever it can.

    So, come on Cameron. Shake off a bit that lethargy and do something in the public interest for a change. Nationalise steel.

    If Cameron wants to be remembered just as a lazy, feckless, but ideologically driven PM in charge of a corrupt and feckless government, as he probably will be, he should follow his instincts and do nothing unless it affects the pockets of his friends, his buddies in the media and those who keep conservative party coffers brimful. The steel situation needs quick, but intelligent action. Sadly, those qualities seem not to exist in the Cameron government.

    1. Stephen Mellor

      “All of this reminds me that Nye Bevan said the ‘commanding heights of the economy should be under public control.’ That remains as true as it did when he said it.”

      Indeed it does.

      Which is to say: not true at all.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        While we all stand as much in awe of your powers of argument as ever – which is to say: not at all – there seems to be something missing from it.
        What could it be?
        Ah, yes:
        An argument.

      2. Stephen Mellor

        An assertion made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

        Get over it.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        But the comment you quoted was part of a much larger comment that supported it.
        Now that we’ve sorted that out: If you haven’t got an argument to make, then your comment is just wasting space on my site.
        Should I delete it? Or will you find something substantive to say?

  4. David

    So, Anna Soubry is now in charge of steel? It must indeed be a small industry if such a small minister has been sent to look after it.

  5. anon

    If there’s a good chance of a cross-party concensus to resolve this crisis, then there should be a similar chance of concensus in a vote of no confidence – since that’s what it will apparently take to get there!

  6. mrmarcpc

    He won’t nationalise it, tories hate nationalisation, it’s too much of a good idea, plus they don’t get any major kickbacks from it, so the steel industry’s doomed!

  7. Terry Davies

    Have advocated a vote of No confidence in the government ( tories) and that the election dystem needs radical changes. more cooperation in politics will never happen because the left wing party is diametrically opposed to right wing parties.Cameron has probably got plans to let the chinese companies take over the steel industry as part of the deal for building the nuclear power station. he wont prioritise the safety of the public. just that the tory party receives funding from the company who builds it.

  8. Dez

    If they were useless overpaid gambling banker suits the money and support would be there in an instant…..we need more productive manufacturing not gamblers. When you think of all the public cash that was used to bail out the city tossers against this potential outlay one can see where political loyalty is found. Once its gone its gone like many industries before and to rely on China shows the Govs short sighted vision…..

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