Monday, 7 March 2011

More Tory councils to privatise everything

So, the cat is out of the bag. Whether it is the Republicans in America, or the Tory Party in the UK, both parties are increasingly acknowledging, in a manner that Naomi Klein would recognise, that the crisis brought about by a failure of unregulated capitalism gives the perfect opportunity to undertake an ideological experiment that would be unthinkable in normal times.

"If you look back to Margaret Thatcher, it was always envisaged that councils would become enablers."

These are the words of  Bob Bibby, Conservative leader of Bury Council, which has recently proposed that every single service it provides - up to and including social care - will be jettisoned or privatised. They will divest themselves of providing anything. Its public services, in the truest sense of the word, will cease to exist.

Selby district council is proposing a similar model, following in the footsteps of Suffolk.

These plans, coupled with the far-reaching changes the government has launched in other areas - from the NHS and Social Care Bill to the equally dramatic privatisation plans for central government functions - begs a question: at what point does a government, which chose not to mention any of this pre-election (let alone one that failed to win a majority) lose its democratic legitimacy? At what point do the British people deserve the right to recall their a government acting far beyond the mandate it was given?

To plead that this period of time is a 'special case' and therefore makes reforms like these a necessity, rather than av political choice, is both disingenuous and undemocratic. If this government wishes to undertake to do away with state-delivered public services, then it should put it to the vote.

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