Nationalisation Without Compensation 1600

When slavery was abolished in the British Empire, taxpayers paid huge sums in compensation to slave owners for the loss of their “property”. No compensation was ever paid to the slaves for the loss of their freedom.

The problem with that approach is, of course, that the state did not take into account that the “property” of which it was relieving the landowners was acquired as part of an inhuman and immoral situation.

I was considering the same question in relation to the constitutional moves of South Africa to redistribute land without compensation. It seems to me this is plainly morally justified. The only question marks I can see are of practicality, in terms of making sure those taking over the land are trained to keep it properly in production, and that redistribution is not corrupt. Those are not insuperable problems, and I support the South African government in its endeavours.

But I wish to apply the same principle, of the state acting to right historic injustice on behalf of the people, much more widely and in the UK.

I apply precisely the same argument to the great landed estates, particularly but not only in Scotland. I believe the fundamental answer to land reform is confiscation by the state of large estates, and that social justice can never be redressed by the taxpayer simply handing over money to the ultra-wealthy. We have already been doing far too much of that through the bankers’ bailouts.

I have no moral qualms at all about simply taking back the land, whether it be from the Dukes of Sutherland, Buccleuch and Atholl, from a Dutch businessman or from a sheikh. In England the Grosvenor estate, the lands of the Duchy of Cornwall, and similar holdings could be confiscated. I do not see this as harm to the “owners”. Let them work for a living, or try their luck with the benefits claim system. Residential properties in large estates might become council homes, while tenants of commercial properties might pay rents to the council rather than to the Duke of Westminster, and the council use a large portion of that money for homebuilding.

Agricultural land from vast estates might perhaps best be given to the tenant farmers who have rented it. In the Highland glens, there are vast tracts which were once cattle rearing and arable. We have been lied to for generations that these are only fit for moorland for grouse and deer hunting – despite the fact that they are studded with the croft foundations of the cleared populations they once supported, who reared cattle and grew crops. These unfarmed lands should be given free to communities to develop; with assistance for the expensive task of bringing them back into production. That assistance would be a better use of state money than paying “compensation” to the ultra-wealthy.

But it is not only land. I favour nationalisation without compensation of all PFI projects, and of all railways and utilities. The owners have milked the public and the taxpayer far too long. Any business investment carries risk, including political risk. If you misjudge the political risk, your business fails. These businesses have made a misjudgement of political risk in the view they could profiteer, that it is possible to rip off the people forever without blowback. That is a business miscalculation, and such businesses deserve to fail.

The Labour Party’s renationalisation proposals have been carefully calculated within the existing framework of “legitimate” property rights. Therefore John McDonnell has framed rail nationalisation in terms of the expiration of franchises, and talked of PFI projects in terms of buyouts. I reject this approach in favour of the more radical approach of confiscation.

Yes, I realise that some percentage of the investments removed will belong to pension funds and insurance companies and even foreign states, and to small investors. Still more will belong to hedge funds and plutocrats, and the stake of ordinary people in wealth through pension funds had been – deliberately – tumbling for two decades. The less wealthy individuals with a stake in pension funds will lose a little, but gain from the wider public good, and for them there might be a compensation mechanism.

I also realise the markets will not like confiscation, and there will be an increase in bond yields; but this will pass. There is no measure to redress social injustice the markets will like. The City of London is our enemy and will naturally attempt to resist or punish any attack on its continued ability to be the conduit for the hoovering dry of the national wealth.

The fact is, that the extreme injustice and inequalities of society have now become so very glaring that there is no way to make any impression on wealth disparity without changes that may be rightly considered revolutionary. Either we are content to live in a society where the wealthiest one per cent will within two decades own ninety per cent of all wealth in the UK and the rest of us be helots, or we make changes to the fabric of the economy and government which are truly radical.

The economic system has tilted beyond correction by tinkering.

What is immorally owned ought not to be compensated on expropriation by the community.

As with the owners of slaves, the owners of “property” would be likely to attempt to defend their riches through the courts. This is where the doctrine of the sovereignty of parliament might for once be put to good rather than evil use, in passing law making such state confiscation unequivocally legal. Both the UK and Scotland appear set for at least a period outside the EU; I cannot think of a better use for any window of legal autonomy.

I am fully aware that I am proposing very radical measures very unlikely to be adopted by the current political Establishment. But the most telling fact of recent western society, itself a natural and predictable result of that galloping wealth inequality, is that the political Establishment has its coat on a very shoogly peg.

1,600 thoughts on “Nationalisation Without Compensation

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  • Isa

    Carole Cadwalladr attacking RT, Assange and Wikileaks . Apparently she was also following integrity initiative in twitter. She seems to have unfollowed since the daily record wrote about the integrity initiative leaked documents . She seems to think it’s ok that the U.K. meddled in European countries like Spain or organises an anti Russia campaign with tax payers money for two years in s row .

    • Molloy


      Borderline Personality Disorder (or a mix of PD’s)? For which no cure, sadly.

      Goodness me! CC thrives on the oxygen of any publicity for her. Favourable or not.

      Duplicitous feckers.


  • Clark

    Institute for Statecraft’s Integrity Initiative; associated with the Prevent programme and NATO Public Diplomacy: The Graun and the Mirror have articles:

    Their base in Fife appears derelict. More info, company details and key personnel in my earlier comment on the previous page:

    Though operating out of Scotland, the main connections seem to be at 2 Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD, with an outpost at Flat D, High Hundhowe, Burneside, Near Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 9AB.

    • Isa

      But the attacks are not only against corbyn . This group of aberrations – I can find no other name for journalists and academics that embark in this – have been interfering in European countries democratic process and creating anti Russia hysteria with their fake narratives that account to pure xenophobia . All this funded by the U.K. government ! It’s an absolute disgrace and I’m amazed this story took long to break and I see that the interference abroad is not getting coverage .

    • flatulence'

      Again, nice one Clark. For passers by, this is about the revelations of evidence of domestic psyops in the UK. Possibly being covered up at this very moment. Certainly not televised as far as I’ve seen. Where are the raids? If someone has the power, do the right thing, don’t let them cover this up and carry on making it worse. We can come back stronger with this fixed. This is not democracy.

      • Molloy


        F –

        The psyops criminal sociopaths. . . . A R E (apologies for caps!) the ones in power. They don’t even think and are unable to think about doing the right thing!!!

        Exactly why $traw and Bliar remain at liberty (for crimes against humanity).

        Elite want you to imagine that someone is there to put it right and lock them up. (There’s no one there!!)

        Probably realistically describes $hitty little AlbionElite for the last 800 years.

        Go well.


    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Reach media have performed admirably on this but much of the ground work has been covered on Wings over Scotland and others. This should be the big story of the day but suspect that it will die in the shade of Theresa’s Brexit clusterfuck.
      Strongly suspect that the derelict mill near Auchtermuchty and the story uncovered to date is the tip of an iceberg. Think the run up to Indyref I. We already know about the astroturf “grassroots” Unionists groups and their dark money funding.
      Cast your mind back to the tame media pundits on BBC discussing Russian troll farms and earnestly assuring listeners that “of course the British government would never indulge in such activity”. Come to think of it, David Leask was probably one of the pundits.

    • Republicofscotland

      According to a report by a Scottish newspaper the Sunday Mail, they are using public money to push political propaganda. Apparently they’ve received over £2 million pounds from the FCO.

      The real crime here is that they’re using public cash to push anti-Corbyn propaganda attempting to link him to the Russians etc.

      Although I’m no fan of Corbyn, I find this kind of statecraft disgraceful and disgusting. The FCO will probably deny any responsibility and claim they just fund it, however the institutue is run by military intelligence specialists, so in my opinion it’s likely that the FCO knew what was/is going on.

      • Molloy


        RoS –

        Sorry. Criminal behaviour (max. term of life) can never be construed as “statecraft” !!

        Yes, of course, the R’sWipes want everybody to think that it’s “statecraft” !!

        But. It’s not “statecraft”. Is it?!!!



        • Johny Conspiranoid

          “But. It’s not “statecraft”. Is it?!!!”
          Depends on how you think states really work.

      • Clark

        Do you know of any relevant articles by David Miller?

        Chris N Donnelly seems to write a lot about Russia and be well in with NATO. Here he is explaining to the UK government that they must turn the entire economy towards offensive capability:

        – Defence Committee – Written evidence from Christopher Donnelly
        Acquisition—Fundamental Principles
        – Introduction

        – 1. Acquisition is fundamental to our national security. It contributes to advancing UK Interests as an important means of both deterring and countering threats and creating or exploiting opportunities. It underpins our defence and deterrence postures and, through this, much of our leading-edge industrial and commercial competitiveness.

        – 2. Acquisition is not just about the process of buying military hardware. Acquiring capabilities and capacities involves all aspects of our national political economic and social systems. Acquisition is one of the principal competencies of government, experienced by the public in the delivery of the products and services they expect from their MPs.


        – 9. Today, our conventional forces (supplemented perhaps by our unconventional abilities, such as the ability to track down and seize financial assets) are arguably a more important deterrent against most threats than our nuclear weapons. If we assess that the capacity to make equipment is very important, then restoring this capacity (or creating it in the case of new types of equipment needed to counter new threats) must not only become a priority for the Defence & National Security budget. It should be reflected in the Education budget, the business and innovation budget, indeed in the economy generally.

        – Security cannot be generated unless there is an adequate and appropriate source of supply.

  • Sharp Ears

    There was an excellent drama on BBC 1 last night. ‘Care’ which showed how two sisters, one more caring than the other, dealt with their mother’s deterioration following her stroke and the then onset of dementia. There was little or no help from the social services and in the end the sisters took the decision not to provide ‘continuing care’ for their mother to be looked after in a nursing home to a tribunal and won.

    Sheridan Smith played the most caring of the sisters and Alison Steadman the mother. It was extremely moving and was timed to coincide with the expected release of the government’s policy statement on the NHS and care for dependent relatives. The statements were due this month but Brexit has all the attention.

    Back in the late 80s, after I had looked after my mother with deteriorating health for 8 years at home with us and finding the nursing more than I was capable of, we were offered no help so she spent her last year or so in a nursing home paid from her remaining savings before she died. Similarly, four years ago, after surgery as an patient in a hospital and six weeks of radiotherapy as an O/P, I could find no help at all from the state via my GP so paid for a carer. I was fortunate enough to have been able to pay. I live on my own.

    In the play last night, the mother was asked to show a member of the ‘Occupational Health’ team that she was able to live independently by making a cup of tea for herself. That brought back a memory of being asked to do the same before I was discharged as an inpatient! In the play, the mother tried to eat the teabag. A very poignant moment and one that might be familiar to carers.
    I object to Jimmy McGovern, the co-author of the play with Gillian Juckes with her own experiences, being described as the ‘Merseyside Michelangelo of misery’ in that review. McGovern is too political for Mr Lebedev.

    • BrianFujisan

      Sharp Ears

      that is a sad tale.. And I followed your Own Ilness.. Stay safe ..all the best from Scotland

    • Trowbridge H. Ford

      Think everyone has an obligation to make plans about how they should be treated while they are still sane. My sister recently did this, and went off with minimum disruption of the rest of us, dying at home with most of the survivors around her.

    • Tatyana

      Sharp Ears,
      I’ve seen your earlier comments. Please take proper care of yourself and stay strong. The very very best wishes to you from Russia.

    • Dungroanin

      You are not alone SE and hopefully help is not far off now.

      From personal experience of a parent post stroke at home for 8 years – it was very lucky they didn’t get a Right to Buy their 50 year council house – else the home support would not have been available. Even with the maximum package it was punishing for the family as it amounted to 24 hour attention.

      We were LUCKY.

      A friend, a only child with a coronary condition, has been forced to look after BOTH parents in their family home – deprived of the care packages, because of the misfortune of them having bought their modest home decades ago.
      It is evil pure and simple.

      The only beneficiaries seem to be care company owners – who just collect profit and then shutdown; and suppliers of ‘care’ goods.

      I have said from before the brexshit bs – there are a lot more important things to worry about and sort in the country, than free-movement!

      It is desperate that we get a genuine social democratic government in place to rip the NHS from disappearing down the jaws of the absentee profiteers.

      A rebalancing to local community health provision by well trained well rewarded nursing and care staff available 24/365 is the only humane and civilised solution to the needs of all affected by individuals care needs.

      Trezza should call a general election today.
      She can’t carry her deal over the line and no deal is her only other option ( i say that was always their ONLY plan). Instead of wasting any more time on the centrists desire to hang onto their gains of the last 40 years – where they have sold everyones granny while getting filthy rich and not paying their fair taxes, while protecting their off-shoring chums and bankers – we must demand the election.

      This time with enough time to campaign,without terrorist incidents, with enough registration and high turnout – a super majority can allow all the legislation to pass super quick.

    • Garth Carthy

      I think Jimmy McGovern is one of the finest of modern writers. His fairly recent series “Broken” was brilliant and very moving.
      As you say, he is too political for some but I say it “Bring it on” – we need more plays that reflect austerity Britain and if that means being political, then so be it. It is impossible to avoid politics if we wish to make honest comments on society and counter all the fake news, fake politicians and journalists.

  • N_

    Theresa May is to make a statement in the Commons at 3.30pm today.

    The rumour is being spread that she will cancel tomorrow’s Commons vote on her “deal”. If that’s true then the interesting question is what on earth she will propose or say she is going to do instead.

    Yesterday there was the rumour that she would postpone the vote for a week. That was obviously bullshit, but when “experts” channel a rumour they act as a herd. Today’s rumour may either be bullshit or accurate.

    Will she go all Frank Spencer and say she couldn’t manage to agree a “deal” with EU27?

    One big problem is that there is no way around the fact that leaving the customs union means a hard border in Ireland. The maniacs of the DUP can’t look that fact in the face and recognise their own responsibility in relation to it. Why? Because they are such a bunch of bluenoses, that’s why. That’s why they are so rabidly pro-Brexit – because they think the EU27 is Papist run. Nobody in the GB political class has the nous or guts to recognise that. Perhaps someone some day will tell the DUP that whilst they are down-to-earth when it comes to pocketing money they are also a bunch of crazy bigoted nutcases who manage to believe two totally contradictory things simultaneously. That the mix doesn’t get put into their heads by priests is neither here nor there. It might as well be.

    • giyane

      If it’s any consolation it says in the Qur’an that the Christians will never stop fighting eachother until the day of Judgement, at which point , over the cliff’s edge, no amount of leg-peddling will bring them back from their arguing, and it will be explained to them the stupidity and pointlessness of their argument , and pointed towards hell.
      God is One and He didn’t have a son, and the son didn’t get crucified. What we can unite upon is the fact that Jesus pbuh was born to the Virgin Mary and he spent his short life preaching the Oneness of God, and was lifted up into the Heaven, hopefully soon to return again in Syria before too long. Trouble is I’m not sure it was December when he was born.

    • Sharp Ears

      The MPs are a bit slow on the uptake. That was common knowledge about the so called Integrity Initiative some days back, and on here.

      • isa

        I know, it has been out since November . I am Amazed this took such a long time to break and that it did break at all . Not surprised to see that the media is relegating Integrity Initiative interference in foreign countries (Spain the most blatant example as well as the Russophobia common denominator) to a mini footnote though.

    • giyane

      Chris Williamson is spot-on. He should lead the Labour Party when the prophet Jeremiah moves on.

  • Sharp Ears

    From Radio 4 Today this morning, ref Interserve going belly up like Carillion

    Listen to this glib contributor (Stephen Rawlinson*) above. Private sector good Public sector bad.

    He was not questioned in any depth by the BBC ‘financial expert’ who is Dominic O’Connell. PFI is great for them of course – all singing, all dancing. Our children and grandchildren will be paying the multi £billion PFI debts for decades hence.

  • nevermind

    Pm cancels Eu summit by running away from democrstic accountability.

    Now to the referendum
    Do you want economic hardship and a groundswell of violence returning to Ni?
    Do you want to stay in the EU?

    • Loony

      Yes of course – it makes sense to stay in the EU in order to avoid violence. Just look at how peaceful everything is in France. So peaceful is France that someone deployed armored vehicles against the people. I say someone as the armored vehicles were displaying the EU logo as opposed to the French tricolor – so presumably the EU deployed armor against the people.

      Or maybe the great British liberal classes want to stay in the EU so that they can feel as one with Vox – the first fascist group to win any election in Spain since the demise of El Caudillo. Surely people like Craig Murray should step forward and take a bow after working so tirelessly to ensure this very outcome.

      You can stick your EU and the “peace” that it brings somewhere where the sun does not shine.

      • Ken Kenn

        ” Well I can’t understand why they called in The National Guard ”

        ” When Uncle Sam is the one who belongs in the exercise yard ”

        Rubber Bullets – 10CC.

        Pot -kettle and black loony

      • Iain Stewart

        “I say someone as the armored vehicles were displaying the EU logo as opposed to the French tricolor – so presumably the EU deployed armor against the people.”

        According to Libération’s investigation ( there was indeed one solitary police vehicle with the EU flag present in Paris on Saturday, used normally for international training in the Dordogne. To extrapolate (or insinuate) that the EU was crushing demonstrators beneath tanks is to get a little confused with Budapest in 1956, presumably.

  • Tatyana

    Meanwhile in Ukraine, Poroshenko signed the law on the termination of the Friendship Cooperation and Partnership Treaty with Russia.

    Moscow called Kiev’s decision a destructive step and expressed regret.
    The Ukrainian opposition also opposed, saying that such a move is contrary to national interests, and also creates a dangerous legal vacuum and complicates relations with Moscow.
    The Treaty ends on April 1, 2019.

  • bob

    by what constitutional right does treasonmay cancel parliament’s vote??? sky estimate she will lose 187for deal v 418against deal – who the fk does she think she is??????????????????????? someone’s going to have to take her on/out

  • Republicofscotland

    Well Theresa May has decided to delay her parliamentary Brexit deal vote, he who fights and runs away lives to cause mayhem another day.

    Of course the PM might have had Jim Callaghan on her mind when she decided to delay the vote. Callaghan’s 1976 Labour government lost a vote by 259 votes to nothing, though even May’s shambolic deal probably wouldn’t lose by that much, if it ever hapoens that is.

    Of course the wolves are circling May, they sense a weakness, one of many, BoJo on Marr wouldn’t rule out a crack as PM, Esther McVile when also said that if she was asked she might stand as leader, Dominic Raab however was giving nothing away in a Sky interview.

    However Scottish Governor General who has no real redlines on resignation, David Mundell, remained loyal to the PM, by saying the vote would go ahead on Tuesday. Bless his wee cotton socks.

  • Republicofscotland

    I find it quite incredible that Labour aren’t running away with it at the polls. Especially as Theresa May’s completely inept government is also in dissary. You’ve got to ask yourself what does that say about Labour?

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 38% (-2)
    LAB: 37% (-1)
    LDEM: 10% (+1)
    GRN: 4% (-)
    UKIP: 3% (-1)

    , 06 – 07 Dec

    • Sharp Ears

      ‘Just you wait Enry Iggins’ as the song in My Fair Lady goes.

      You should listen to McCoy on BBC 1’s Afternoon Live. The BBC is almost in mourning

      • michael norton

        Theresa May’s prodigy Amber Rudd was Home Secretary, then she had to stand down, then she was stood up again, in remarkably little time.
        They are both Hard Remainers.
        Rudd has been brought back to ditch Brexit, after May resigns, saying ” I done me best”

    • Nick

      Hi RoS. I guess I’ve seen a different side to that argument. For a lot of people Labour is the party of immigration, heavy taxes, big government, wasteful spending. That’s not my position, but I hear it a lot where I am.

      Anecdotal for sure, but you can’t deny it’s there.

      The problem is the country (world) is split more profoundly over globalism v nationalism than it is v left-right.

    • Dom

      It says they have no support at all in the corporate media that frames every story to the advantage of the establishment. Nevertheless, I believe Labour were 25% behind at the beginning of the last election campaign in 2017. Maybe too long ago to be remembered.

    • MJ

      I think it says that Labour lacks clarity over Brexit, just like the Tories, because it is deeply divided on the issue, also just like the Tories.

    • Mary Paul

      I think it probably reflects the fact that England (with Wales) voted to leave the EU in the Referendum and, if London were excluded, did so by a large majority. I was in Suffolk a couple of weeks ago for the annual Christmas Fayre in Bury St Edmonds. I was in Bury for two days running and the city was rammed. There were an estimated 125,000 people there over the Fayre. I saw only two people who did not appear to be of white European origin. Suffolk as a country voted around 60% for Brexit. In regions with low immigrant populations, there seems to have been a strong pro Brexit vote which, according to the polls, is holding up.

  • isa

    Typical BBC manipulation to make a group meddling abroad sound like a fact checking charity! : Admit this aberration for what it is . The UK government funded interference in other countries, spreading of russophobia as well as Labour Party attacks .

    “The Foreign Office is investigating claims a government-funded campaign group countering Russian disinformation retweeted articles critical of Labour.”

  • julian_n

    Farms in SA – many have been bought with bank loans. Does anyone seriously think farmers who are booted off their land will continue, or even be able to continue, repayments. Any thoughts on what such defaults would do to the SA banks?

    Estates in UK – confiscation won’t wash, but why just make them liable to IHT like everything else? End the farmland exemptions and trust funds. Furthermore, for those bought with loans, the threats to UK banks are the same as SA ones

  • Sharp Ears
    15.11 in

    It’s incredible but I have just heard that May has been speaking at a Conservative Friends of Israel lunch. You can see where her priorities lie and where the power lies. 80% of the Tory party are said to be CFoI members.

    Mark Wallace of Conservative Home was also at the lunch. V cosy. (his transcript of her speech)


    • Sharp Ears

      Theresa May makes last ditch plea for Brexit deal at Conservative Friends of Israel lunch
      On a perilous day for her leadership, she jokes: ‘Is there something else happening?’
      10 December 2018

      Theresa May joked about being at a packed Conservative Friends of Israel lunch – amid a perilous day for her leadership after she delayed the crunch vote on her Brexit deal she seemed destined to lose – saying: “Is there something else happening?”

      As her political survival hung in the balance, the prime minister received a one-minute standing ovation on Monday from more than 800 people at the annual lunch at the Westminster Plaza hotel.

      She spoke of the “friendship” between “two great democracies – the United Kingdom and Israel.”‘
      ‘But speaking in front an audience that included Chancellor Philip Hammond, Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, she also spoke of “complex” negotiations with the EU over her much criticised Brexit deal.’

    • Captain Bluntschli

      It’s your hatred of Israel that is sickening; and the constant venom you spew.

      wrt her lunch engagement, it does make one think–is anyone running this country?

      • Sharp Ears

        My dislike of Israel not hatred, is that they are supported in OUR Parliament by MPs who pledge themselves to a foreign country in the Friends of Israel lobby grouos.

    • Sharp Ears

      Sorry to hear that Brian. His death is a great loss to us and to our understanding. He was born in 1933 in the middle of America’s Great Depression, 1929 -1939.

      This was the very last of his Anti Empire Reports.

      The Anti-Empire Report #159
      By William Blum – Published August 17th, 2018
      The mind of the mass media: Email exchange between myself and a leading Washington Post foreign policy reporter:

    • pete

      Blum managed to get a book of his reviewed by bin Laden, translated, in part, it says:

      “And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book ‘Rogue State,’ which states in its introduction: ‘If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First, I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all.’ ”
      A map of US military intervention since World War 2, based on the information in Blum’s Killing Hope is here:
      He also had advice about global warming too, raised in the comments earlier:
      “Well, we can proceed in one of two ways:
      1. We can do our best to limit the greenhouse effect by curtailing greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) into the atmosphere, and if it turns out that these emissions were not in fact a significant cause of the widespread extreme weather phenomena, then we’ve wasted a lot of time, effort and money (although other benefits to the ecosystem would still accrue).
      2. We can do nothing at all to curtail the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and if it turns out that these emissions were in fact the leading cause of all the extreme weather phenomena, then we’ve lost the earth and life as we know it.”
      Links to some of Blum’s articles here:

  • Molloy


    On the topic of Property Including Money Including Status Including FWB’s

    . . . . . . .Carillion and Other Parasites

    (from LRB; Lorna Finlayson blog; 17 January 2018)

    Until very recently, most of us hadn’t heard of Carillion. Not having heard of a particular company wouldn’t usually be surprising or unsettling. But this is more like not having heard of the people who have been making alterations to your house, building your neighbour’s and – in an odd display of versatility – delivering lunches to your children. Because it turns out that Carillion is – or was, until its sudden but entirely predictable liquidation on Monday – pretty much everywhere. As a result, several projects, including the building of two hospitals, a high-speed railway and a bypass in Aberdeen, now hang in the balance, along with the jobs of around 20,000 UK workers.
    A certain subterfuge was always a built-in feature of the ‘public-private partnerships’ (PPPs) and ‘private finance initiatives’ (PFIs) of which Tony Blair was so enthusiastic a pioneer. In classic Third Way fudgethink, these initiatives were presented not as all-out privatisation but as a ‘best of both worlds’ solution, a series of discreet injections of what a creaking public sector badly needed: the fabled private-sector virtue of ‘efficiency’, and hard cash (which would come out of the public purse sooner or later, but could be kept off the public balance sheet in the meantime). Companies such as Carillion are not like supermarket chains, loudly competing for customers. They snaffle up public-sector contracts on the quiet, and the public hears about it only when things go so badly wrong that the government can no longer mop up the mess.
    In Carillion’s case, the government tried to save the struggling firm by awarding £2 billion worth of new contracts to it even as a series of profit warnings were issued. That didn’t work; and now we hear about it. At this point, however, why the government continued to award contracts to a high risk outfit may not be the first question to ask (the answer may or may not have anything to do with the fact that Carillion’s chairman is a prominent adviser to and supporter of the Conservative Party). It may also be beside the point to focus on the various instances of Carillion’s unsavoury corporate behaviour, such as tweaking the rules to protect bosses’ bonuses, or blacklisting employees who raised concerns about safety. In so doing, we fail to question the principle of private-sector ‘delivery’ of public services, despite the abundant and mounting evidence – from the NHS to academy chains – that the relationship of these companies to their host institutions in the public sector is not symbiosis but parasitism, and that this is no accident but part of the essential nature of the profit-making beast.


    • Molloy


      forgot to add. . .

      Little bird tells me that Krapita and G4S are soon to follow carrion Carillion.

      All shafting the 99%.
      Worthy of mention in passing.


    • giyane

      LRB “blacklisting employees who raised concerns about safety”

      No tea-breaks on the night shift in -4 C. Some might say it is healthy for the body and soul to bare your bum in -4 on the verge of Derby bypass. Such is life in construction.

      Today the Grenfell Whitewash machine sprang into action when the nasty clever clogs little barrister acting for the victims tried to divert blame from the Council’s reckless disregard for Health & Safety towards the Fire Brigade. Of course they were not prepared for the event of a tower block fire because the building had only been inspected and passed by third party private contractor advisors on Health and Safety. And why did the council use private contractors? Because they know which side their bread is buttered on.

      I decided at a very young age not to be a professional person, like a solicitor , because they are all bent as hairpins.. At least my poo will manure the grass, while this bastard barrister, working for the victims of council negligence is trying to blame public services who are completely innocent of any blame.

  • Loony

    hey lo

    Dontcha all remember the outpouring of fake outrage and fake solidarity over fake pictures of the Guardia Civil “beating up innocent Catalans”

    What’s happened cat got your collective tongue when it comes to French riot police tossing a disabled man out of his wheelchair

    This is it. This is your beloved EU in action. This is how liberals and progressives treat the weak. You must be so proud.

      • giyane

        Loony darling.
        You don’t like foreigners but you tolerate them doing their own thing in foreign lands.
        Why shouldn’t wog police/army units beat the shit out of wog disabled people in their own lands?
        It appears that English people lock English mentally disabled people in the dark.
        Cat got your tongue? or does your racism extend to disabled people who don’t display the proper stiff upper lip of all good Englishmen?
        Well this particular Englishman cannot understand why the French voted for a Zionist banker, unless their indifference to anything outside their own comfort prevented them from seeing the reality of our corporate Thatcherism. They should have seen the light when moped Romeo forcibly closed down the jungle in spite of the fact that all the jungle-dwellers only wanted to come to England.

        My mother’s family left France 100 years ago because of Catholic persecution of Protestants , followed by secular persecution of them. Any state which has abolished religion is going to disintegrate into chaos. Europe is fortunate in attracting large numbers of Muslims who will put it back again.

        • Loony

          I don’t like the EU.

          People in France have been dispossessed by the EU. When they object to this dispossession they have been beaten by the EU. How else do you explain the deployment against the people of armored vehicles displaying the EU logo.

    • Sharp Ears

      You seem to have forgotten about the British police tossing a disabled man out of his wheelchair on to the road.

      ‘Student protests video allegedly shows police pulling man out of wheelchair
      Jody McIntyre claims he was twice removed from his wheelchair by officers during Thursday’s student fees demonstration
      Matthew Taylor

      Mon 13 Dec 2010 19.55 EST
      This article is over 7 years old
      Police launched an internal investigation last night after footage emerged of a man allegedly being pulled out of his wheelchair and dragged across the road by an officer during Thursday’s demonstration.’

  • Tatyana

    “Israel can start gas supplies to Europe, said Francis Fannon.”

    If you don’t want it from US you will buy it from Israel.

    Now tell me, why russian South stream was stopped? Yes, because Bulgaria refused to finish the pipeline under EU pressure.
    Why Turkish Stream was delayed? Because russian ambassador was shot dead and russian plane shot down.
    What about Nord Stream 2? Ukraine, Poland, Baltic states…

  • Sharp Ears

    Peerage for Oliver!

    ‘Sir Oliver Letwin (West Dorset) (Con)
    I very much hope for the sake of this country that the Prime Minister will prevail in the difficult negotiations that lie ahead. I hope that as she enters those negotiations she will be sustained by the widespread admiration—not just on these Benches, not just among Conservatives, but in the country as a whole—for the dignity and the perseverance she has shown.’

    From the Exiting the EU debate which started at 3.30 and is still ongoing, Words. words.

    Letwin with Redwood published a pamphlet in 1988 (in Thatcher’s time as PM) proposing privatising the health service.

  • roddy

    I hope you and your family are well and you are able to keep your work going, but it will have to be without my continuing subscription I’m afraid. Although my monthly subs are very moderate, I just cannot go on paying for a political blog that, through the most amazing, interesting, horrific and historic political times, has only published one article this month. I admire your work very much but cannot quite understand why you don’t seem to be able to find something to write about at this momentous political time. Again I would apologize if there are family or illness issues that are stopping you from producing blogs and wish you, your family and all your followers a merry xmas and happy new year.

    • BrianFujisan

      Hi Roddy

      Even if Craig has issues that prevent him from writing here, the blog’s Commenters have a continuous Wealth of debate, Knowledge, links to yet more Knowledge.. Plenty Humour too. I think Craig is a Clever dude, and aware of this fact.. If it were my Blog I would be Humbled by the Community here… then there is Doune the Rabbit hole Festival to boot.. All the best anyhoo.

  • GrigoryZinoviev

    As comments on the articles from Augst pertaining to Mark Urban’s book are closed I raise this here. I don’t know if it has been noted previously. There is an excellent analysis here of how words of Putin meaning that traitors who suffer miserable deaths without anyone needing to kill them were stripped from their context and retranslated to become a specific death threat against Skripal as ‘traitors will kick the bucket, believe me’. The source of this distortion appears to be a Mark Urban Newsnight broadcast of 5th March last year, the very day that Mark Urban informed his bosses in detail that he was working on a book about the Skripal. It was even quoted in the UN Security Council. One might even wonder if it influenced British government reaction to the events in Salisbury. It seems that the BBC have accepted criticism of the translation because in the recent Panorama they are translated ‘I can assure you they will fall off the perch themsleves.’ But surely Urban shouldn’t have been working on that piece if he had a book in preparation because he then had a vested interested in sensationalising the matter as much as possible. The footage of Putin wasn’t relevant in such a short clip because it referred to those who betrayed the Russian agents in the USA who were then swopped for Skripal and others, rather than Skripal himself, although itinsrtion in a story about Skripal might easily have led the reader to assume they were about Skripal which is what happened. it was such an incidental detail it shouldn’t have been included, it took up 20% of a two minute report. I take this from BBC guidelines “A conflict of interest may arise when the external activities of anyone involved in making our content affects the BBC’s reputation for integrity, independence and high standards, or may be reasonably perceived to do so. … There is a danger of conflict of interest in every area of programme or content making.” Maybe you have been through this before, but Craig’s previous questions were about Mark Urban’s links to Pablo Miller, this is about a conflict of interest leading him to make a sensationalised report.

    • Glasshopper

      Remain would likely win a second ref. Then it’s Brexit 2 and a 3rd ref when the EU is pissing off even more people than before.

      The Fraudian is fizzing with “People’s Vote” groupies, convinced a second ref win would sort out the mess once and for all.

      It is pure delusion.

      • giyane

        As Corbyn so rightly tells us, the only person who is responsible for this Brexit fiasco is Mrs May’s interpretation of Brexit as meaning wogs out Britain. What can you do with the stupidity of Tories who want a racist agenda in a global world? It’s so self-contradictory it would never have got this far if it had been subjected to any kind of real media balanced discussion.

        It reminds me of the song by Flanders and Swann:

        Said the right-handed honeysuckle to the left-handed bindweed,
        “Oh, let us get married, if our parents don’t mind, we’d
        Be loving and inseparable, inextricably entwined, we’d
        Live happily ever after” said the honeysuckle to the bindweed.

        To the honeysuckle’s parents it came as a shock.
        “The bindweeds,” they cried, “are inferior stock!
        They’re uncultivated, of breeding bereft,
        We twine to the right and they twine to the left.”

        Said the anti-clockwise bindweed to the clockwise honeysuckle,
        “We’d better start saving, many a mickle macks a muckle,
        Then run away for a honeymoon and hope that our luck’ll
        Take a turn for the better” said the bindweed to the honeysuckle.

        A bee who was passing remarked to them then,
        “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,
        Consider your offshoots, if offshoots there be,
        They’ll never receive any blessing from me”.

        “Poor little sucker, how will it learn,
        When it is climbing, which way to turn?
        Right, left, what a disgrace,
        Or it may go straight up and fall flat on its face!”

        The dividers and rulers have played us perfectly so they can carry asset stripping our nation.

        • Molloy


          G — Yes Yes Yes.

          What is really baffling is why a ‘supposedly democratic’ UK State chooses, time after time, so-called leaders who are obviously bigots and racists (to my utter disgust).

          May is 200% racist (I watched the vans. I meet the corrupt Immigration ‘judges’.)

          For consideration:

          a/ The usual DS suspects (May is the monkey DS the organ grinder, the offshore psychopaths).

          b/ The toxic, neo-feudal, very divisive class system (step forward jug eared retards, apologies to retards sorry!).

          c/ The Entirely Grasping and Greedy residual s$cum of ‘Empire’ tyranny.

          d/ UK war criminals and all collaborators, we know who, protected by DS ‘offshore-criminals’ pretence of a fit for purpose legal system.

          All very distressing.
          Go well, my friend.


  • Sharp Ears

    ‘Rubber bullets’ again. This time fired by the IDF at ISM volunteers (International Solidarity Movement)

    Diary entry by an ISM volunteer in the Northern Jordan Valley
    December 9, 2018
    Kristin Foss is an ISM volunteer who was shot twice in one week with rubber-coated steel bullets by Israeli soldiers in Kafr Qaddum. The first time with her hands raised, along with another female ISM volunteer from Iceland, and the second time while standing up against the wall of a shop’.

    Kristin relates the daily atrocities perpetrated on a noble people by the Occupiers.

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