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This cannot be happening… June 25, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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…according to Lexiteer rhetoric… this being the news that:

Emmanuel Macron’s plan for the biggest wave of French privatisations in a decade is under threat after opposition politicians took the unusual step of joining ranks to push for a referendum on the sale of Paris airports.
The centrist French president wants to sell the state’s controlling stake in Aéroports de Paris, the profitable operator of Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports, which are used by more than 100 million passengers each year. It would be among the biggest privatisation operations in French history, alongside Macron’s plans to sell other stakes in the national lottery as well as the gas and power group ENGIE.

Now there’s two aspects to this that strike me forcefully. First that the airports remain in public ownership and secondly that Macron appears possessed of the idea that somehow privatisation will alter things for the better. Is there any serious evidence for the latter. And as to the former, this blog has long championed the point that in Europe social and public forms of ownership – state, municipal, federal, co-operative and so on – are vastly more prevalent than in the UK (which is where the Lexit view – and the IreLexit view – seems to take its cues from). And this dislocation between a continent where there such ownership is conspicuous by its reality as against a UK where it isn’t points up the ignorance of much Lexit thinking. This isn’t to argue all is perfect on the continent, anything but, but there are solid achievements in the public sphere that need to be defended and losing a potentially more radical Britain from those discussions is bad in itself (though it is going to happen) and secondly to pretend they don’t exist is worse again.

As to the second, would entirely agree with the following:

But political opponents accuse Macron of ‘Flogging the family silver’ and letting go of strategic state infrastructure. They say the UK with its privatised Heathrow airport and privatised railways, illustrate a potential nightmare scenario of key transport infrastructure run for profit.

Again the irony is almost too much. Lexit proponents do not see how the state they are in is shown up as what not to do in Europe as against states that are remaining in the UK which have greater degrees of public ownership.

That issue of strategic state infrastructure is a key one. That should be an irreducible core of within a state around which there are then overlapping areas of state, municipal and co-operative forms of social ownership, the latter forms pushing into the broader private sector to provide social alternatives to private business. In other words a truly mixed economy, one where private enterprise continues to exist, albeit socialised in key respects with worker directors, unionised workplaces and so forth, but that those social alternatives provide…well, an alternative.

There’s a third aspect to this, that public forms are under threat as always, and they need to be defended. To me the struggle in France is one that all workers should be engaged in in whatever manner is possible to ensure that the social core remains extant. But what are the best mechanisms to do that pan-EU? Any suggestions?

Comments»

1. EWI - June 25, 2019

Macron appears possessed of the idea that somehow privatisation will alter things for the better. Is there any serious evidence for the latter.

Needless to say, it’ll alter things for the better for ex-finance creature Macron and his buddies, who will (a) make out like bandits and (b) rid themselves of union representatives of the smelly lower classes.

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2. tafkaGW - June 25, 2019

Macron is the last attempt of the neoliberal order in Europe to paint itself as somehow ‘progressive’. But we’ve seen it all many times before. Macron is not so much Weltgeist (World-spirit) as the fading spectre of a nostalgia for an dissolving order.

And yes, when a large and/or cunning country exerts itself then many of the strictures even of the Eurozone can be worked around to a much greater extent than the Lexiteers tell us. The EU was ever the figleaf for national political choices. This Lexiteer story is another fading ghost.

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3. Joe - June 25, 2019

Apparently the new majority alliance on Dublin City Council, made up of FF, the Social Democrats, the Greens and Labour, has agreed something called the Dublin Agreement. Which, apparently, includes a wish for the ‘municipalisation’ of waste management services. Exactly what that means and what powers the democratically-elected majority on the Council might actually have to make their wishes come true, I don’t actually know.

Also, isn’t Jez in favour of the re-nationalization of the railways and other stuff in the UK?

So, Macron is coming late to the privatisation table. Hopefully, the French will be able to stop him.

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WorldbyStorm - June 25, 2019

It just shows how far back the UK has been beaten compared to much of Europe, and in a sense how it has allowed itself to. It’s genuinely abysmal that three consecutive LP terms didn’t see renationalisation of railways etc.

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WorldbyStorm - June 25, 2019

I’m looking for the doc online re municipalisation of waste services in Dublin but this suggests taking it back into public control (but does that mean ownership of the service or still subcontracting out?). Also interesting is the reference to reports which suggest private waste services are more expensive etc. No surprise there/

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/waste-services-and-public-control-1.3436997

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Joe - June 25, 2019

I heard reference to ‘the Dublin Agreement’ in a video by Labour councillor Marie Sherlock. On facebook. I presume that the text of the agreement will be available some time soon.
The left on the last Council, PbP and WP etc, were vocally in favour of bringing the waste service back into direct Council control. Good to see that they’ve pulled the centre and centre lefts round to that way of thinking too.
Problem is of course that the democratically-elected Council has little or no power to actually make this happen. The control is all in central government, implemented through the Council’s Chief Executive and his staff.

But back to the privatisation/nationalisation thing. The pendulum does seem to be swinging back towards taking stuff back into public ownership.

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WorldbyStorm - June 25, 2019

I think you’re right. And as you say let’s hope pressure can be put on the government to make that a reality.

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EWI - June 25, 2019

The control is all in central government, implemented through the Council’s Chief Executive and his staff.

Should be soon gone (thank Christ).

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Joe - June 27, 2019
Tomboktu - June 25, 2019

Exactly what that means and what powers the democratically-elected majority on the Council might actually have to make their wishes come true, I don’t actually know.

It’s not just the powers the councillors have vis-a-vis the CEO of the council that is in play here. National policy is deeply committed to a market for household waste collection. The shortcomings of that approach are seen not as a reason to abandon a market model but to bring in the Competition Authority to monitor and ‘strengthen’ that market.

https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/waste/plans/Resource_Opportunity2012.pdf

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4. Joe - June 25, 2019
benmadigan - June 26, 2019

burst out laughing at your comment Joe! It’s so nice!

Liked by 1 person

Joe - June 27, 2019

Cheers bm. As I grow older I find I’m reverting to my historical family politics. My internal dialectic is now a mammy/daddy dance. I can’t decide who’s the best – Dev and Jack Lynch (the mammy) or Dev and Charlie (the da).

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5. roddy - June 27, 2019

Tell them not to “stand idly by” this time!

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