Thursday, February 01, 2018

Maybe Bill and Justin Should Read This Before They Get Carried Away with Themselves.

The Guardian's  Lefty Luddite, Polly Toynbee, offers an entertainingly morbid look at the devastation privatisation has brought to Britain. Perhaps our prime minister What Me Worry? and his finance minister, Bill Churn Baby, Churn Morneau, or, as I like to call them, the Kids Without a Clue, should have a read.

Toynbee blames much of the toxic pollution that now befouls London as the inevitable side effect of privatization of utilities, transportation and even the mail service.

The second month of the year begins with London having already reached its legal air pollution limit for the whole of 2018. The city’s limit of 18 breaches of air quality regulations was used up in January.

As with most of the gravest problems facing Britain, the solutions are relatively easy to find: the problem, as ever, in this fractured and fractious country, is summoning up the collective political will to take action.

Take the explosion of van deliveries as the Amazon I–want-it-now impulse is followed by every company that wants to stay in business. Be it Argos or John Lewis, everyone delivers it to your doorstep fast, multiple vans criss-crossing each other and knocking on the same doors over and over. Van traffic has grown faster than any other vehicle type since 2005.

Why? Royal Mail visits every household once a day, these days delivering mostly junk mail at ever-rising stamp prices for lack of volume business. As predicted, private companies cherrypick easy deliveries, leaving Royal Mail to take single letters to every remote farm.

After Carillion and the shock suggestion Capita and others might be wobbling, the reality of the destruction caused by privatisation is beginning to dawn even on true believers, such as the infamous Barnet council. Labour is right to plan taking back control of utilities, mail and transport, though they have yet to make that case sound not just ideological but pressingly practical. They need to spell out the daily reality of the harm privatisation and illusory “choice” has done over the last decades, not least in the poisoned air we breathe.

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