At last the UK’s Conservative government report genuine, exponential growth!
Needless to say, it’s not the kind of growth that any of us would want. Here’s Feargal Sharkey:
This is an E. coli sample from the River Deben in Suffolk. Taken 1 month ago. There should be no more than 9 blue dots on the whole dish.
How many can you count? https://t.co/gGfBbQQDEi
— Feargal Sharkey (@Feargal_Sharkey) May 12, 2023
And the pollution that gives rise to such disease is still taking place, despite the penalties that are being applied to the private water companies responsible:
"South West Water fined £2.1m for pollution offences."
That is the 161st time @SouthWestWaterhas been fined over the last 10 years, a total of £4,573,634. Fines don't work, something else needs to done.@NickFerrariLBC was right, time for jail.https://t.co/rRBFrsTN7s
— Feargal Sharkey (@Feargal_Sharkey) May 14, 2023
This is the reason Brian May, bless him, was mistaken in his own recent intervention. Here it is:
Sir Brian May says 'it's bloody obvious' what needs to be done to save UK rivers https://t.co/a92j1xVpqE
— Samuel Miller (@Hephaestus7) May 13, 2023
He reckons regulation needs to be properly applied to the private water companies – but this misses the point: it is.
The problem is that the companies’ bosses have realised that it is cheaper to keep polluting and pay the fines than it is to implement system improvements that will allow the full processing of sewage and thereby the purification of our waterways.
They have also realised that the government is unlikely to increase those fines to such a degree that it would be wiser to carry out the work. Either the privatised companies would simply pass on the cost to their customers, or they would dare the government to put them out of business – because what would happen then?
Water companies are monopolies, whether the government admits it or not – operating on a geographical basis. And no matter what happens, someone has to provide the service.
So these businesspeople have us all over a barrel.
The only other alternative is for the government to pay for improvements with public money. But part of the point of privatisation was for improvements and modernisation to be funded from private investment.
So we come to the only logical solution: re-nationalisation.
And the problem with that is, nobody in charge of either of the UK’s two main parties wants to bring water back under public control.
It isn’t too expensive – governments can create the money to pay off the executives and shareholders. There’s no inflationary pressure either, if the government doing it taxes the cost back from, say, the rich (who took £700 billion for nothing during the pandemic, remember).
But, again, nobody in charge of the UK’s two main parties wants that cash back.
That’s all it is – a matter of will.
We simply need to put somebody in government who is willing to do what is needed.
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