Category Archives: Privatisation

Labour ‘for sale’ as it cosies up to big business

Angela Rayner: she once denounced lobbyists acting as advisers to Tory government ministers; now her own electoral ‘battle bus’ is sponsored by a lobbyist and Labour is riddled with lobbyists advising shadow ministers on behalf of their clients.

Those of you who still think voting for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is a good idea need to ask yourselves: who will this party be working for – you, or the big businesses that are buying influence over Labour in advance of the general election?

Solomon Hughes has exposed the increasing influence of some of the worst big businesses on Labour, in Tribune magazine, writing:

Keir Starmer says he wants to clean up politics. Instead, he has facilitated a lobbyist takeover of the Labour Party, where predatory gambling firms, big oil and gig economy giants are buying influence at our expense.

In 2020 the Labour Party issued a press release in which its deputy leader, Angela Rayner, ripped into the Conservative government over ‘reports that lobbyists have been secretly serving as advisers to government ministers and departments’ and other revelations of ‘cronyism’ around ‘businesses and individuals with close links to the Conservative Party’. Rayner said it showed there was ‘one rule for lobbyists and their paying clients and another rule for the rest of us’.

This press release has been deleted from Labour’s website, along with all other pre-2022 notices. But Rayner’s own ‘battle bus’ is now ‘sponsored’ and part-funded by a Labour-connected lobbyist.

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According to the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, Pentland Communications, a lobbying firm set up in 2018 by Barrie Cunning, paid Labour HQ £6,000 to fund Rayner’s ‘campaigning’, including ‘the provision of a branded vehicle’, a camper van with the slogan ‘Rayner on the Road’. Since August, Labour’s deputy leader has been using it for campaigning.

Pentland represents big housebuilders like Barratt. Rayner’s responsibilities include Labour housing policy. Pentland says it can help firms achieve ‘commercial objectives’ using its ‘good political relationships’. Paying for Rayner’s battle bus can’t hurt those ‘relationships’.

Pentland says other political events are also business opportunities. It tells clients that each party conference also ‘provides a good opportunity’ to meet politicians ‘in both formal and informal settings and have those important conversations’.

Rayner’s apparent reversal shows how Labour has fully embraced the corporate lobbying it denounced as ‘cronyism’ when it applied to the Conservatives. Concerns about corruption have disappeared as Labour pursues the intense lobbying that has come along with its lead in the polls.

The article goes on to suggest that “‘centrist’ politicians denouncing corporate corruption when in the opposition wallow in it when in government”. And it says:

Cameron highlighted how the ‘revolving door’ of ex-ministers and ex-advisers ‘for hire’ is key to lobbying. Labour has gone further, accepting lobbyists as its current officials. Abdi Duale was elected to Labour’s National Executive last September on the ‘moderate’ slate. The same month Duale became a director at FTI, a lobbying firm. FTI also employs former Labour MP Gemma Doyle, a director of key Labour ‘moderate’ group Progressive Britain. FTI offer clients ‘direct advocacy’ with ‘elected and appointed policymakers’. FTI’s recent clients include Palantir, the American spy-tech firm that is chasing contracts in the NHS.

The list goes on and on:

At the last Labour conference, Alice Perry won a seat on the Conference Arrangements Committee (CAC). Typically for Labour, this dull-sounding body has significant power: it decides what debates Labour conferences hear. Perry, who was backed by both ‘moderate’ and ‘soft left’ factions, is also a public affairs director for the lobbying firm Cicero. The company tells clients she will be ‘advising on Labour Party engagement strategies’. Among Cicero’s clients are financial firms like Barclays and Blackrock, ‘buy-now-pay-later’ outfit Klarna, and privatisers like Serco.

In 2021 Rachel Reeves attacked the government over public services ‘being outsourced to a large private company like Serco, which has a poor track record and known links to the Conservative Party’. Now Serco hires Labour-linked lobbying firms. Serco executives shared platforms with shadow ministers at Labour’s 2023 conference. Perhaps we all misunderstood, and Reeves really objected to Serco’s ‘known links to the Conservative Party’ because she thought they should have known links to the Labour Party instead.

There are others, but we’ll skip those because the article goes on to state:

Corporations want to take big money contracts from the government while reducing any regulation or tax on their businesses. They want to shape the policy agenda and have turned to the consultants — as well as their own in-house lobbyists — to do so. Lobbying firms that spent years relying on their links with the Tories are adapting to a likely Labour government.

But – and this is important:

Something big is happening inside Labour as well. The party is welcoming lobbyists as the proof of, and route to, its ‘business engagement’. Under Starmer, Labour takes corporate support as a vote of confidence. If ‘business’ supports ‘labour’, then the party must be doing the right thing — and can hope for friendlier treatment by the corporate-run press.

And it could lead to scandal (again):

Labour is, in effect, using lobbyists to run much of its ‘business engagement’.

The last Labour government ran into a ‘cash for access’ scandal in 1998, when The Observer exposed lobbyists with New Labour links helping their clients get close to the new government. This was the first big blemish on Blair’s government. We are very likely to see a re-run of this scandal.

Worst of all is the possibility that the firms and lobbyists cosying up to Labour will use the connections (if the party wins the next election) to suck up government contracts, siphon off the cash and produce poor work.

This happened before, under Tony Blair’s New Labour:

We might end up with firms that suck money out of the public sector for poor work, giving another generation of future/former ministers jobs. The current wave of junior Labour officials taking corporate lobbying jobs acts as a kind of human promise, showing future ministers that they too can look forward to corporate jobs with a Labour government. This isn’t a theoretical risk: it is exactly what happened when the last Labour government embraced PFI and outsourcing. The lobbying and the jobs-for-the-boys-and-girls sweetened a bitter pill — although the former ministers got the sweeteners; we just got the bitterness.

Is that really what you want?

This Writer can’t see any difference between Starmer’s plan for a Labour government and what we already have under the Tories – apart from the possibility that the names of some of the ex-ministers taking jobs with big business will be different.

It seems clear that under a Starmer Labour government, public money will still be thrown away at private businesses who’ll provide no useful service to the public but will give jobs to the ministers who helped them.

So – please – do yourself and all the rest of us a favour.

Get yourself a list of all the candidates in your constituency and their manifestos, and educate yourself about what they are offering.

Then choose to vote for the candidate who offers the best deal for you.

I wrote the following in another article but it fits perfectly here, too:

Do not consider how other people will vote, either in your constituency or the other 649 around the UK. That is not your concern.

It is not for you to worry about which party will get enough votes to actually enact its policies. This will lead you down the usual garden path to voting in a government that won’t do anything at all for the good of the country, like the one we’ve had since 2010.

BE SELFISH. Bizarrely, it might be the only way to get the kind of government that all of us need.


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The Conservatives’ health service failure – summed up in a single graph

Trolley wait: this was almost unheard-of in 2011 but after 13 years of Tory rule, the number of people waiting 12 hours or more on a trolley in a corridor for NHS attention has increased by more than 3,000 per cent.

This Channel 4 News report speaks for itself – almost.

Take a look, then I’ll spill the beans:

There’s just one element missing – the fact that these massive, and increasing, failures are due in their entirety to Conservative government interference in our healthcare, in order to create a false case for privatisation.

The Tories have been obsessed with ending the National Health Service as a means to keep the people of the UK healthy, and focussed on turning it into a means of creating a profit for greedy fatcat health company shareholders and executives.

The fact that your health – or the health of people you know – has suffered as a result is of no concern to them at all.

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And with Labour under Keir Starmer and Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting promising also to increase privatisation, there seems to be no end in sight for the agony.

So, who are you planning to support at the general election this year?


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Water boss bonuses show privatisation is a gravy train for the greedy

Rivers of Shit: Boris Johnson couldn’t be bothered to think about the details of his Brexit, and now the UK is suffering shortages of materials including those used to clean sewage. So partially-cleaned and harmful crap is going directly into our rivers.

This is the second half of the privatisation scam.

Back on January 25, This Site explained how privatising governments like the Tories give themselves an excuse to sell national assets like water, electricity and railways into private hands.

They do this by de-funding the service to ensure that it cannot employ the right people, buy the right equipment and/or accommodate demand.

The aim is to make people angry at the public service, so they demand privatisation – or at least accept it when it is proposed.

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But what happens after a service is privatised?

This:

Water company bosses have received over £25m in bonuses and incentives since the last general election, according to analysis by Labour.

The analysis found that nine water chief executives were paid £10m in bonuses, £14m in incentives and £603,580 in benefits since 2019.

It comes amid outrage over illegal sewage dumping, with water firms in England seeking to hike customers’ bills by an extra £156 a year to invest in Britain’s Victorian infrastructure.

The blatant greed is staggering in the flagrancy of the insult to bill-payers.

Instead of using the money paid for the service to provide it, shareholders and executives take it for themselves and then (in the case of water firms, literally) flush that service down the drain.

And then they demand more money, under the pretence that they’ll use it to fix the problems they have created.

You’d have to be a fool to believe that one. So what do you think the Tories are planning to do?

And, come to think of it…

What do you think of the plan by both Tories and Labour to increase privatisation of the health service?

Source: Water bosses have received £25m in bonuses since last election, Labour says | Politics News | Sky News


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The UK supports public ownership of utilities. Why do none of our politicians agree?

Privatisation of public services and utilities has failed dismally. Why do both the Conservatives and the Labour Party under Keir Starmer support it?

Why are they determined to ram it down our throats?

We all know the problems with privatisation:

And we all know the tricks our politicians use to support privatisation:

So we all know that privatisation doesn’t work as a way of providing water, energy, healthcare, rail and bus services and the mail.

And when I say all of us, the polling is conclusive:

Here’s the problem:

At the next general election, neither of the main UK political parties are going to offer public ownership to the people.

You will not be allowed the chance to vote for it.

Don’t you think that’s, well… wrong?

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Your politicians should be seeking election on platforms that have public support, shouldn’t they?

They should have consulted with the electorate and they should be putting forward policies that we feel we can get behind – shouldn’t they?

Has any politician asked you if you support public ownership?

Have any of them asked if you support privatisation?

I’m guessing the answer is no.

Then, why on Earth would you vote for any of them? If they’re not offering what you want – and they very clearly aren’t – you need to find someone else.


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Home Office to use £36m private boats to patrol Channel for migrant crossings

Border Force: this boat has probably been taken out of service by now.

This is funny.

Not because of the story…

The Home Office is to use private vessels at a cost of £36 million a year to patrol the Channel for small boats amid a further delay in plans to upgrade the Border Force fleet.

A “procurement pipeline” document published on the department’s website shows it has tendered a contract for “charter of vessel(s) to support small boats operations in the Dover Straits”.

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The contract is due to run from April 1 2024 to March 31 2025, with the service provider listed as “not set”.

The Home Office has been forced to pay for boats from the private sector as its plans to replace ageing Border Force cutters faces another two-year setback, the Times reported.

… but for the response:

Source: Home Office to use £36m private boats to patrol Channel for migrant crossings


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Less-trained ‘physician associates’ are taking over from doctors – because they’re cheaper

Physician associate: training for these not-doctors is cropping up all over the place (this is at Chester University).

If you fall ill or are injured, would you like to be treated by a proper doctor – or would you accept treatment by a so-called ‘physician associate’ who is far less well-trained, but cheaper, and whose employment is intended to make a bigger profit for private health companies?

Here’s Damo to explain what this latest healthcare nightmare is all about:

Already two deaths have been linked to PAs. This means the Tories have intended to make those deaths possible.

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And Labour too – because PAs appear to be part of Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting’s plan for the NHS. They certainly didn’t lift a finger to stop them becoming part of your future – if you have a future at all under the ministrations of these not-doctors.

Don’t just take Damo’s word on this. Here’s an actual doctor:

You have your instructions!

Please tell your MP you want the NHS to be staffed with proper doctors – and if private companies don’t want to spend the money, they shouldn’t be part of the service. You can find out how to get in touch here.


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Privatising profit, nationalising loss: the secret policy of the Tory liars

Hard hat, soft head: but Michael Gove must think we’ve gone soft in the head if he thinks we don’t understand that he is privatising profit and nationalising loss in the housebuilding industry.

The decision to lift the cost of mitigating the harmful effects on rivers of housebuilding near them and force it on the public is more proof of a secret Conservative government policy: privatising profit and nationalising loss.

It’s a very simple tactic: if a private business or a privatised utility is in danger of losing profit (not of going out of business, notice) because of statutory rules it must observe, then the government passes the cost of those rules on to the public purse in order to allow shareholders to enjoy profit without responsibility.

It makes a nonsense of the primary reason the Tories gave for electing them into office in the first place, back in 2010. They had claimed that they would reduce the UK’s national debt by cutting spending – but partly because they kept piling the costs incurred by failing privatised utilities onto the Treasury, they have more than doubled that debt.

We have seen it in action multiple times – and now we are seeing it brought to housebuilding:

Taxpayers will pick up the bill for pollution by housebuilders, government officials have admitted, as rules on chemical releases into waterways are scrapped.

The government has said it will double Natural England’s wetland funding to £280m in order to show it is trying to meet the requirements of its legally binding Environment Act.

This extra £140m will come from the public purse, the government confirmed. When asked by the Guardian whether this meant the taxpayer was now picking up the bill for pollution caused by developers, a government official responded “yes”

It is Tory policy. They make the rich richer by making the poor poorer. And they are doing it by forcing the hardworking many to shoulder the responsibilities that should be borne by the idle few.

That is, privatising profit and nationalising loss.


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The rhyming guide to NHS privatisation (from the social media) [VIDEO]


This is terrific:

Of course, if you watch it and just click on to something else – even if you enjoy it, then you’re supporting the destruction of the NHS, the ruination of your health and everybody else’s and ultimately, the early ending of your life.

I’m just mentioning that in passing, to encourage you to share this, at the very least.


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Triathlon championship contestants fall ill after swimming in polluted water. Who pays?

A prediction that has come true: water discharged into rivers and seas isn’t expected to be drunk. But it has been – and it was full of raw, untreated sewage because the government has allowed privatised water firms to avoid the expense of purifying this water. Will that decision come back to haunt the politicians and the water tycoons now people have become ill?

This should be self-explanatory:

The allegation is clear: people participating in the World Triathlon Championship Series in Sunderland have fallen ill after swimming in waters that have been found unexpectedly to have been polluted.

Swimmers complained that they were swimming “in shit”.

The local privatised water firm has denied any responsibility – but who else would have been capable of doing it?

This could be a crucial test case, regarding the continued – government-supported – pollution of the UK’s waterways with raw sewage.

It seems the UK’s Tory government, by allowing the privatised water firms to avoid their responsibility to purify water before releasing it back into the environment, has actively supported the infection of the nation’s citizens with disease.

It occurs to This Writer that, if evidence can be found linking the swimmers’ illnesses with the release of contaminated water by the company, then the organisers of the event – and the individual swimmers – would have a strong case for compensation against both the firm and the UK’s government.

Taking it further – if such a case is won, the Tory MPs who supported dumping raw sewage into the UK’s waterways won’t be too badly inconvenienced; it will be the public – those their decision has harmed – who will pay the legal bill and any fines.

But we should all remember it at election time. Right?

Oh look – here’s visual evidence of what’s happening all around our coasts right now:


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Isn’t it time we treated the pollution of our rivers by private water firms as government policy?

Rivers of Shit: isn’t it time we admitted to ourselves that it is government policy to let privatised water company shareholders pump untreated sewage into our rivers and seas and take the money saved from not treating it – along with money that should have been used to modernise the water and sewage infrastructure – as profit, while blinding the regulators that are supposed to monitor and penalise these transgressions so that we cannot know the extent of the harm?

This Site has been quiet about the ongoing crisis of the UK’s waterways being polluted with thousands of tonnes of untreated sewage lately. The reason is simply that individual stories – snapshots – don’t give you a chance to appreciate the full horror of what is happening.

The following video clip might help, though.

In it, Professor Jamie Woodward points out that not only has the government allowed privatised water firms to dump all that toxic waste into the local ecosystem, but it has slashed the budget of the regulator that is supposed to monitor any such pollution, down to one-third of what it used to be – and some may say that this wasn’t enough in the first place:

With only limited means of monitoring pollution by water companies, the regulator has no way of knowing the level of harm being done. This could then be flung in all our faces by the government if we try to complain that we’re being pelted with you-know-what so that these firms can make a profit. It could be used as an excuse to do nothing.

In fact, the following suggests that it is currently being used as such an excuse:

But with no meaningful enforcement from the Environment Agency or the government, there is no reason for the water companies to stop polluting the UK.

It’s a lot more profitable than actually doing their job, which is to treat our sewage so that nothing harmful escapes into the environment at all.

The upshot of all this is that we get warnings like this:

Also this:

One water company – Thames Water – seemed to be facing re-nationalisation because its business plan was not only harmful to the environment but had brought it to the brink of bankruptcy…

And what happened?

That’s right – shareholders promised to invest, in order to keep the money flowing to them and the crap flowing at us.

And it seems that while we’ve been gagging on the crap they’re pumping at us, Thames Water bosses have been gagging their own employees:

Then we discovered that the firm is planning to increase its bills, to save itself from collapse. There is not even the slightest hint that any of that money will be used to purify the water it pumps into our rivers.

And what use is purified water when the pipes through which it runs are made of lead – and are therefore toxic – because the water companies haven’t replaced the infrastructure, as they were expected to?

The infrastructure is also leaking around 1.1 TRILLION litres of water out of the system every year, according to Ofwat. Then the water companies tell us we have to have hosepipe bans. They are telling us to go without the service we deserve so they can have the profit they don’t.

The following report actually states in black-and-white that this is what is happening:

Here are a few more barmy ideas – appropriately from the boss of Thames Water – along with appropriate commentary from our friend Feargal Sharkey:

Piling even more insult on top of all this injury, one of the worst-performing water companies was named company of the year at the Water Industry Awards, 2023:

Remember that you have a human right to water, meaning that if one of the privatised companies fails, the state has to pick up the bill to put it right via renationalisation.

So, far from being the salvation of this vital national utility – as it has been described recently by ministers pointing out that investment in water was a very low priority when it was privatised – the sale of water to private shareholders has destroyed our system while the people causing the damage have extracted huge fortunes from it.

And the government that should have been safeguarding the interests of customers who are forced to rely on these large monopoly businesses has deliberately blinded the watchdog organisations.

That is enemy action. Your government – and the water firms – are your enemies; they are charging you a fortune to let them poison you.


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

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