Richard Tice Calls for the Partial Renationalisation of the Water and Power Companies

Reform posted this short video, just over two minutes long, on their YouTube channel. In it, their current fuehrer calls for the partial, and rather half-hearted renationalisation of the water and power companies. He tries to connect this with Brexit, and has a dig at Starmer for initially backing it and then dropping it, saying he was no longer interested. Tice begins by stating that we are being badly served by the water companies, who are foreign-owned and so use various dodges to avoid paying tax. No other country allows vital parts of their infrastructure to be owned by foreigners. This is quite true, and Mike has been pointing this out on Vox Political since forever and day. This has been the case since they were privatised by the Tories great, molten idol of private enterprise, Maggie Thatcher, in the 1980s. He wants them partly renationalised – 50 per cent owned by the state, 50 per cent owned by pension funds, and placed under private management. This, he feels, will bring it the best of both state and private enterprise.

He’s wrong, of course. There is no magic solution behind private industry. When they’ve been handed state enterprises or institutions, their policy has always been the same: sack people and make those who remain work for less in poorer conditions in order to deliver profits and shareholder dividends. This has been done in the NHS, when hospitals and doctors’ surgeries have been handed over to private companies. In the case of GPs, this has also resulted in unprofitable patients being dumped and their surgeries closed. It also reminds me slightly of the restructuring of industry under the Nazis. Companies were linked together in a series of industrial associations, set up as private companies but membership of whom was mandatory under the Nazi regime. These associations were under the direction of the state planning apparatus running the economy. And the head of these industrial associations always came from private industry, even when the companies under him were state-owned. Obviously Tice isn’t calling for an extension of this system to British industry as a whole or its transformation into a centrally-planned economy. But he makes the same assumptions that Hitler and the Nazis, as well as the Italian fascists did, about the superiority of private industry. And as a true-blue Brexiteer he tries to link it to Brexit by saying that, as with the departure from the EU, this is all part of Britain taking back control.

Still, Tice has got something right, even though I think his speech is partly influenced by a BBC report today that Oxford Council has called for the end of water privatisation, as well as the outrage of the massive profits the private power companies have been making while energy bills have rocketed.. He’s clearly looking around for policies which he thinks will resonate with the public, and so has recognised, albeit grudgingly from the half-hearted way he wants it done, that the majority of the British public want the renationalisation of the public services. Of course, he’s still extremely right-wing in demanding more cuts to the welfare state, which he’s justified with the bogus explanation that British people need to move into low paid jobs in order to stop the British state importing more foreigners to do them. I posted a piece yesterday rubbishing that, and you should also read the comments on the piece left by the greater people reading this blog, who have added much more relevant information. But it is interesting that in this area of policy, Reform has moved left of Labour.

Not that I’ll believe they’ll keep their promises, anymore than I believe Starmer will.


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6 Responses to “Richard Tice Calls for the Partial Renationalisation of the Water and Power Companies”

  1. Mark Pattie Says:

    Interesting. For some reason, I can’t see him wanting to re-nationalise the railways or housing (to stop Redrow making massive profits on building £600-grand monstrosities!). Unlike the SDP. He’s trying to appeal to an extension of the Red Wall voter demographic that supported Alexander Boris von der Conman’s Tories in 2019, whilst retaining as much of the wretched free-market-y Trussite ghoulishness as possible!

    • beastrabban Says:

      That’s interesting – I hadn’t thought of him trying to appeal to the Tory Red Wall voters, but I’m sure you’re right. And I don’t see him wanting to renationalise the railways or bring back council housing either.

      • Mark Pattie Says:

        I feel as though his solution to the housing crisis would be to keep net migration below 50,000 (because that will supposedly help “patriots” get on the housing ladder?). Presumably b/c he thinks the inevitable forthcoming Labour govt will fling open the borders or summat? Bullshit. It was Johnson’s Tories that flung open our borders to all and sundry. Hence why so many 2019 Tories are jumping ship to his party in the first place!

      • beastrabban Says:

        That sounds about right. And they’re always blaming mass migration on Labour. I know people who were really afraid of Corbyn getting in because they thought he would remove all the migration controls.

  2. Jim Round Says:

    Tice is trying to appeal to “disenfranchised Labour voters” who may like the the thought of his idea.
    Strangely, if you can bear to read it, the 2010 BNP manifesto had so called policies that they thought would appeal to those same voters.
    In an alternate universe where Reform are elected, I doubt very much that Tice would put in place any of these types of policies, he is a rentier, and as other commenters have pointed out, he allegedly has dealings both offshore and in property.
    He tries to hide that he is a capitalist and neo liberal, like his mate Farage, I can see him wheeling out Marxist tropes, knowing that none of his followers have ever read, and more than likely never will, have read any Marx.

    • Mark Pattie Says:

      Tice does seem to be appealing to that demographic of the Northern types who voted Ukip in 2015 (40-64, slightly left economically, but socially conservative), but also to possibly a similar demographic to my own? IE voted Labour in 2019, but sceptical of both Johnson and Starmer, living up North, 20s/30s?

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