ELECTION 2015: Why the Coalition must be defeated
I could choose a thousand stories to make my argument – from the omnishambles budget to tuition fees, from the poor being forced to use food banks to disabled people dying after being declared “fit”, from badgers “moving the goalposts” to Andy Coulson. A thousand sleazy fuck-ups, probably more, lend themselves to the same narrative. But the polls are open and time is short, so I have chosen just one.
The story I have chosen to make my plea is neither the biggest nor the most dramatic. I have chosen it partly because it has gone largely unreported and partly because it encapsulates all the incompetence, cruelty, ruthlessness and ideologically imposed idiocy of this Coalition.
The government is trying to sell our stake in Urenco. Urenco is a joint venture between the UK, Holland and Germany (effectively – E.On, RWE). Each partner holds a third each giving them collective control, but not individually. Urenco is a Uranium enrichment company. It turns hundreds of millions of profit every year and so, not only does it cost the UK nothing, but contributes to state coffers. It has four Uranium enrichment plants in Cheshire.
The monumental stupidity and shortsightedness of this, I cannot even begin to unpick. First, it is profitable. Second, it operates top secret centrifuge technology, which in the wrong hands could allow the nuclear arming of rogue and failed states the world over. Not to mention having four Uranium enrichment plants on home soil under private ownership. Putting it in private hands reads like the beginning of a bad Hollywood script for a formulaic disaster movie. It is as bad an idea as bad ideas get. (Cut to close-up of Cameron: “What could go wrong?”)
And this government is presented as the “safe”, the “fiscally responsible”, the “sensible” choice by the murder of crows who are the non-domicile, millionaires who run the majority of this country’s media.
This would have already happened, completely under the radar, but for the quite legitimate objections of the Dutch Parliament, which fears the security issues outweigh any short term profit. Opposition having been bullied away by Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem (yes, the same man who, as an instrument of the Troika, is forcing Greece to privatise everything including its beaches and archaeological sites) we put out feelers for “indicative bids” late last year. This is going ahead unless we stop it.
You see, whenever the health of the nation’s finances is assessed, I find myself surprised that all focus is on liabilities – debt, deficit, pensions, interest payments – but never on the other side of that equation: the assets. The reason the UK is in such poor financial health is not solely – as the dominant narrative would have us believe – that Labour spent too much on nurses and teachers. It is primarily a systematic asset stripping of the UK’s valuables by every single Conservative (or Conservative controlled, in the latest instance) government since the late 70s.
The last five years have been an unmitigated disaster for the poorest. Not the fact there were cuts during a recession – I’m not a child. But the fact that the cuts were deeper than they needed to be due to ideology and they will last longer than they needed to have due to economic incompetence. Most importantly, they were unfairly distributed and hurt the bottom decile hardest. The bottom decile being the one who could least afford any cuts. Dress it up however you want, but that is what happened. I don’t say this. The Institute of Fiscal Studies says this.
So, we need a change of government. And since two parties were involved in the last one and are therefore jointly and severally culpable, this means voting for the person who can best dislodge the incumbent of either one. That is all.
Questioned about Urenco, senior UK government sources simply said “they considered the uranium group to be next on the list of privatisations.”.
Next on the list of privatisations… Take a moment to absorb that. Take a moment to think what might below it on that list. And then go and vote.