/ What else should Labour Nationalise?

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L bearman68 - on 13 Jun 2017
With the frankly absurd idea that Labour would nationalise the railways I got to thinking about something that would give more benefit..
Put it like this - train operating companies (TOC) profit is an average of 3.4% - piffle in the grand scheme of things, and given that labour can't manage it's way out of a paper bag, the chances of losses if a government run trains is huge. (Let's be fair here, British rail never managed to make a penny - that's why they sold 2/3rd of their branch lines to give people bigger gardens)
So then I hit on a superb idea. Possibly the best one ever. I'm thinking of starting a political party to support it.
We should nationalise the drug research industry.

Think about it - their profits are huge - Pfizer made 22bn US$ in 2013 (I know it's old data, but bear with me here). We could invest that money in the Health service - that would be a wonderful way of providing good funding for our embattled NHS. (We wouldn't need to steal nurses from the Philippians then). Not only that but we could reduce the cost of drugs to the NHS, saving even more. The cost of making these drugs is often very small, so that would really help, and of course we could use all the profit left over to pay back the debts either from the last labour government, or even better, use it to pay the RBS fines.

And another point of synergy is that universities could be encouraged to participate in drugs research. The only problem with that of course,if labour has it's way, there won't be any students able to go, except for the really rich ones - but any spare time could be spent in a spot of drugs research on the side. It really is a win win situation. What could possibly go wrong??
Steve Clark - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

You can't have both.

Cheap drugs = no profit
Big Ger - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:
Labour should nationalise motorway services, they're a license to print money.
Post edited at 00:52
tom_in_edinburgh - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

It should nationalise land and banks, then it should abolish all other taxes. The state should charge for the use of land and the provision of money.
L bearman68 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I see what you did there - how can you charge for the provision of money?
Neil Williams - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

I'm not clear why railway nationalisation is absurd. It's one of the easiest ones to do, because all the TOCs are on short term contracts with no right of renewal, so it can be done at zero cost - wait for them to expire then vest in Network Rail (which is already nationalised).
MonkeyPuzzle - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Lord Buckethead had a raft of sensible policies, one of which was 'Nationalisation of Adele'. That would bring in a few bob.
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:
> And another point of synergy is that universities could be encouraged to participate in drugs research. The only problem with that of course,if labour has it's way, there won't be any students able to go, except for the really rich ones.

Are you sure you don't have your manifestos mixed up?

The could create some form of social housing, that councils could rent out to people needing somewhere to live, the renal income would go directly to the council and save us paying private companies. I've even come up with a name for it "Council Houses"

By the way there's n money in drug research, it's coming up with good results that brings the money in.

You are PEC, and I claim my £5
Post edited at 11:16
Dax H - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> The could create some form of social housing, that councils could rent out to people needing somewhere to live, the renal income would go directly to the council and save us paying private companies. I've even come up with a name for it "Council Houses"

Your just being daft now, that would never work.

Things under public ownership and not profit based should be.
Public transport, both busses and trains.
Energy.
Water and sewerage.
Social housing.
Health care (including the production of medicines).

Social housing should be means tested, I know loads of people on good wages paying buttons for their rent because they got a council place when they were skint but things have improved now. My sister in law has a combined income of over 60k but lives in a council house, she should be paying the local market rate and the extra money goes towards people less well off.

Public transport is not something I use but in Leeds we have 2vbus companies, my last apprentice had to get 2 buses to travel 6 miles to work, both from different companies so both needed their own ticket.

Too much money if filtered out of our pockets in to private consortium's when it could go in to the pot to improve the country.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> I see what you did there - how can you charge for the provision of money?

Ask the banks - they create money from debt and charge for it. Providing a fiat currency is a service from the state but at the moment the banks, rather than the state, make the profit.

Same with land, the country *is* the land and if we took the view that the land belongs to everyone and that using land is a service from the state which should be charged for we could abolish a lot of other taxes.

The taxation system is completely back to front. We hit people and organisations who work to create useful things with income and corporation tax and we hit people when they spend money on useful things with VAT which represses demand. We should be taxing wealth as reflected in land and money rather than income and consumption. It should be much easier to get wealthy by hard work but much harder to stay wealthy without doing anything useful.
Bellie on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

East Coast mainline made a profit whilst in the governments hands recently.

Plenty of the other franchised lines get big government subsidies anyway.

elsewhere on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:
Nationalise the drugs industry - the profits are huge and introducing regulation would bring health benefits.

I'm referring to illegal drugs.


MonkeyPuzzle - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

Not as daft an idea as some would have us believe. Legalisation of marijuana in the US has been very profitable.
Coel Hellier - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> The cost of making these drugs is often very small, ...

Though the cost of the research, development and bringing them to market can be half a *billion* or so per drug.
Toerag - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

> Social housing should be means tested, I know loads of people on good wages paying buttons for their rent because they got a council place when they were skint but things have improved now. My sister in law has a combined income of over 60k but lives in a council house, she should be paying the local market rate and the extra money goes towards people less well off.

That's entirely doable, because it's what's done here. The more you earn the more they up your rent until a point where they evict you into the private sector . An old colleague of mine continually turned down overtime because he was so scared of being evicted.
L bearman68 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

I posted a similar provocative post on a different forum, and I'm still being slated for it (and will be for a while I think), and that's why this is a great forum.
To be fair, nationalising the railways is not absurd, just simply not sensible. My reason for saying this, is that public ownership away from a 'competitive' market results in a starvation of investment, and poor management practices. We saw this consistently with public industry in the 1970's, and the problem was less down to the individuals involved, and much more to do with the political implications of making the necessary and required management decisions. It's a fatally attractive idea - it just seems like it SHOULD work - there's no reason for it not to - except there is.
My gut feel is a similar thing is currently happening in the NHS, a starvation of investment, and poor management practices are resulting in us all driving the Austin Allegro of health provision.
L bearman68 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I'm a little confused I confess. Not so much by manifesto's (though I might be), but by PEC. What does this mean, why would you think you can claim £5?

Anyway, aside from that, yes Labour is intending to limit student places, and only allowing the rich to go to university. Of course, it doesn't say this in the manifesto as such, but it nearly does. It says it will abolish student tuition fees.

Now you might think, (as I previously did), that these are not the same - but they are. When labour brought in tuition fees, the number of places went up, and has continued to go up. Near me, huge building works have been going on to house the masses of students. It's great. I like students, they are good for the economy and society.
On the other hand the SNP has given Scottish student free places, and the number of Scots in Universities has gone down. The number of Scotts missing university doubled last year, and Scotlands universities are trouble. So it's ironic, tuition fees increase the number of students,and make education more democratic. Something I would never have supported when I was in Uni, (tuition free, and with a maintenance grant I'm afraid), and another law of unintended consequences.
JLS on 14 Jun 2017
L bearman68 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to JLS:

Not sure of the point you are trying to make, but the SBB is not government owned.

According to your article:-

It used to be a government institution, but since 1999 it has been a special stock corporation whose shares are held by the Swiss Confederation or the Swiss cantons.

And to be fair, I'm not saying our railway is the optimum ownership option, just that I think it will be worse under government ownership.
JLS on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

>"Fully state-owned limited company (AG) regulated by public law"

The point is, that just because uk.gov haven't run nationalised industries well in the past, it doesn't mean it can't be done. Other seem to manage it.
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

I think your cause and effect might be mixed up a bit I'm afraid. I don't think starting students off in life with £30K+ of debt, is either useful or productive.

From a parents point of view I'd be happier with my children receiving free education than having to pay for it.



L bearman68 - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Agree with you, I'm a parent, and I'm completely with you. But that's not the option I'm afraid.

The options are:-

Do you want 5% of the population to have university education and have no debt,
OR
Do you want 50% of the population to have university education, and each have 30k debt.

As a nation we have broadly plumped for the later, despite me being one of the lucky 5%. Do you remember what university used to be like? - it was the ultimate accolade of doing well, rather than the mass event it is today.
I wonder if there is a middle way, and if we should make exceptions for Drs, engineers and MP's, but I haven't thought deeply enough about that yet.
And of course student debt just makes the rental housing market more likely. (Is that fundamental a bad idea I wonder?)
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Where do you get your 5% from?

there was no restriction on me going to uni. and it was free then, I' wasn't rich either so I don't get it?

Is the gist of your argument that standards have slipped and "degrees" are pretty much worthless nowadays?
Rob Parsons on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> Do you want 50% of the population to have university education ...

It's frequently misunderstood, but achieving a bald figure of 50% was never the actual aspiration.

The realisation of Blair's government, and what it intended to correct, was that whilst about 50% of middle-class children went to University, a much smaller percentage of working class children did so. And that, despite the fact that there would be no innate difference in ability, just a difference in opportunity.

So the intention was to balance that out. At what actual percentage it all ends up being balanced is another question entirely.




BnB - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I assume 5% represents the most academic pupils who, pre Blair, ended up at a Russell Group university doing one of the "serious" subjects, like English or History or Maths. It's not so much that standards have slipped but that universities accommodate a taller range of talents, and reach lower for their intake. And for the not particularly academic they still charge £27,000 for a degree to which no employer attaches any value. All so the recipient can go work in a call centre.

I'm all for helping people make the most of themselves but there needs to be a payback to society. To pick a much criticised qualification, what wider benefit is accrued by paying someone £27,000 to watch TV? Or how about business studies? You're a businessman. Do you agree with me that when anyone comes to you with a degree in business studies it's a sign that they're not very academic, suited for repetitive admin, but not exactly MBA material, and unlikely to make CEO. The qualification just seems a waste of time.

So I'm dead against anyone pissing my taxes away on pointless qualifications for youngsters who'd learn and earn more in a decent apprenticeship/starter job. And I think this policy, if repeated at the next election, will bite Corbyn badly if the Tories can get away from sloganising and stick to the numbers.
Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to BnB:





> So I'm dead against anyone pissing my taxes away on pointless qualifications for youngsters who'd learn and earn more in a decent apprenticeship/starter job. And I think this policy, if repeated at the next election, will bite Corbyn badly if the Tories can get away from sloganising and stick to the numbers.

It's no longer that straightforward though. If you want to be a nurse ,police officer or paramedic , you require (or will by next year) a degree that will cost you just shy of 30 grand. You then start your career, on very ordinary wages, saddled with debt.
L bearman68 - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Firstly I'm estimating the 5% based on my experience - it may well be wrong in absolute terms, so apologies about that - it's illustrative not absolute.

I'm not suggesting 50% of people should go to university, or that standards are slipping or in fact anything else.
I'm just being a bit provocative, and showing the numbers and trends are exactly opposite to the stated ambition. (I'm guessing JC doesn't really want low student numbers)

I spent many years working with numbers and statistics on a professional level. One thing I learnt is that if the stats don't support your theory, it's because the theory is wrong. Even (or especially), if it's your pet one.
I personally find it frustrating that the spirit of enquiry and questioning, and perhaps rational critique is missing from the blind assumptions. There's many out there at the mo:-
Increasing Corporation tax increases tax take - No it doesn't - decreasing corporation tax tends to result in increased tax take.
Abolishing student fees will result in more students in Uni, and a fairer society. No it doesn't - parity of higher education is more likely with a bigger university 'industry' taking more students.
Nationalising the trains will make them run better - No, it's not likely to. Nationalising trains will more likely see poorer management and more political interference resulting in less investment and poorer services. (OK, this is not so clear).

I'm not having a go at anyone at all on this rather excellent forum. The posts here are excellent and thought provoking, and I enjoy reading them. I do think the best way for a better country is to understand the past, so maybe this is my way of trying to do just that.
L bearman68 - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?n=665847&v=1#x8580729


Ooooooh, Banks charge for the time aspect of money, not for the use of money itself. (At least that's how I see it).

If you taxed for land,we would end up with some very expensive food. How would you square farming (big area but low profitability), v a (for example) tax accountant. Low surface area, big profitability)?

Neil Williams - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:
Indeed, I'm not sure I *would* nationalise the railways. There are some quite big advantages to a contracted structure as exists at present. I think those who are too young to remember how insanely crap latter-day BR was (or don't realise how tightly controlled the present structure actually is) tend to have rose tinted glasses about it.
Post edited at 06:01
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summo on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> It's no longer that straightforward though. If you want to be a nurse ,police officer or paramedic , you require (or will by next year) a degree that will cost you just shy of 30 grand. You then start your career, on very ordinary wages, saddled with debt.

Change the system. They don't need degrees it is only because every remotely academic subject renamed themselves. Previously semi vocational training institution suddenly because unis etc..

summo on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Maybe Labour could nationalise indoor climbing walls?

Standardise grading and route setting.
All over zealous floor walkers work to the same union rules.
Regulations on when boulders take tops off?
One national membership and fixed price entry , comrade climbers club?
Three people staffing the reception desk but only one actually doing anything would be compulsory. The same in the 'people's cafe'.
BnB - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Stichtplate:

> It's no longer that straightforward though. If you want to be a nurse ,police officer or paramedic , you require (or will by next year) a degree that will cost you just shy of 30 grand. You then start your career, on very ordinary wages, saddled with debt.

An interesting observation and I guess this is the government's way of getting public sector workers to pay for their own training, while simultaneously arguing that they've raised recruitment standards. "All our recruits are now graduate level".

Would it be so hard to make exceptions for essential vocational degrees and provide bursaries? Who wouldn't subsidise those with their taxes as they already do for the wages?

That doesn't mean we should universally indemnify students against a poor choice of qualification, however.

My son, paying for his studies in Chemistry, seems to have maxed out his university experience, in terms of dedication to his studies alloyed to engagement with university societies, far better than I did with my free degree. I just drank, smoked and tried to get laid for three years.

What evidence is there that paying for your degree increases commitment?
Big Ger - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Maybe Labour could nationalise indoor climbing walls?

"I'm sorry mate, I cannot allow you to unscrew that carabiner, that's got to be done by a level 3 staff member with appropriate training, and we don't have one on shift at the moment. Demarcation and all that, we're a closed shop branch here."


krikoman - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Change the system. They don't need degrees it is only because every remotely academic subject renamed themselves. Previously semi vocational training institution suddenly because unis etc..

Don't they!! Do you know what nurses are asked to do nowadays? They don't just wipe peoples arses.

If we had more doctors , then maybe we could have less well trained nurses, but I doubt that will happen.
Big Ger - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Don't they!! Do you know what nurses are asked to do nowadays? They don't just wipe peoples arses.

They don't even do that, there are ancillary staff for that.

summo on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Don't they!! Do you know what nurses are asked to do nowadays? They don't just wipe peoples arses.

> If we had more doctors , then maybe we could have less well trained nurses, but I doubt that will happen.

Just because a job is often hands on doesn't mean you don't also need academic knowledge though. Look at electrical or other trade skill apprenticeships. Neither need degrees level pieces of paper though.
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think those who are too young to remember how insanely crap latter-day BR was (or don't realise how tightly controlled the present structure actually is) tend to have rose tinted glasses about it.

There are many valid arguments against nationalisation, but this ain't one of'em. The appropriate example for reference is a *current* nationalised system elsewhere in the world. That's blindingly obvious, isn't it?
BnB - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:

> There are many valid arguments against nationalisation, but this ain't one of'em. The appropriate example for reference is a *current* nationalised system elsewhere in the world. That's blindingly obvious, isn't it?

I don't think you can take cultural factors out of the equation, which would be the impact of your comparison. The UK has a terrible history of conflict between workers and management, particularly in the public sector. A nationalisation programme sponsored by the trade unions could do good, but it might also entrench divisions that would affect service and profitability.
L DanielByrd - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Why not nationalise everything, then we could all live like it was in the forties/fifties
Neil Williams - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> There are many valid arguments against nationalisation, but this ain't one of'em. The appropriate example for reference is a *current* nationalised system elsewhere in the world. That's blindingly obvious, isn't it?

No, it isn't, because the UK has a uniquely sloppy and wasteful culture in many parts of the public sector that, for example, the Germans or Swiss would never stand for.

What we *don't* seem to have in the public sector (other than the NHS[1], teaching and emergency services) is the overriding culture of working for the greater good.

FWIW, though, SBB is not all it's cracked up to be - it's actually a very basic low-speed railway and not half as punctual as people claim. And SNCF is rubbish when you get off the TGVs, their regional services are not a patch on ours. DB is broadly decent but is suffering a bit of a bad time in punctuality terms, and like SBB is based on much lower frequency bases than the UK system is.

[1] Though the NHS is an utterly archaic organisation that needs kicking into the 21st century. Every time I encounter it I just see waste after waste while treatments and services are cut rather than bureaucracy.
Post edited at 10:03
tom_in_edinburgh - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

> If you taxed for land,we would end up with some very expensive food. How would you square farming (big area but low profitability), v a (for example) tax accountant. Low surface area, big profitability)?

Obviously, the state would charge far more per unit area for the use of land in the middle of London than agricultural land - just the same as with privately owned land.

Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> No, it isn't, because the UK has a uniquely sloppy and wasteful culture in many parts of the public sector that, for example, the Germans or Swiss would never stand for.

> What we *don't* seem to have in the public sector (other than the NHS[1], teaching and emergency services) is the overriding culture of working for the greater good.

I've worked in both public sector and private and in my experience you're just spouting total crap without any argument or evidence to justify it. Care to provide any?
Neil Williams - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> I've worked in both public sector and private and in my experience you're just spouting total crap without any argument or evidence to justify it. Care to provide any?

The NHS is a huge piece of evidence on its own other than the (wonderful) staff at the coalface. If you don't see that without me laying out the whole process from start to finish and why it was inefficient, I think we will fundamentally differ. I was recently treated for DVT, over several appointments, and the entire process was archaic and inefficient.

Everyone in every business (nationalised or private) needs to spend money (and staff time *is* money) as if it were their own.
Post edited at 12:46
Jon Stewart - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:
> The NHS is a huge piece of evidence on its own other than the (wonderful) staff at the coalface.

No it isn't. It doesn't matter how inefficient the NHS is, to justify your argument you must show that this is *because* it is in public ownership. The obvious reason for inefficiency in the NHS is that it's large and complex, not because it's funded through taxation.

If you like you could give an example of private health provision that's more efficient. But unless it's actually doing the same thing as the NHS, it proves nothing. Anyone can do a few knee operations for rich and otherwise healthy pensioners without hideous waste and bureaucracy - it's not much of a logistical challenge. But that's not what the NHS does.

> Everyone in every business (nationalised or private) needs to spend money (and staff time *is* money) as if it were their own.

Naked platitude. This stuff just doesn't mean anything. If I spent my employers money as if it was my own, I'd spend it on wine and holidays.

Organisations need to be designed so that the right incentives exist at every level. This is so much more than the profit motive, and/or rewarding people for good financial outcomes. If you focus too much on incentivising one type of outcome, the others go down the toilet. The idea that in the NHS say, the problem is that people aren't sufficiently motivated to be efficient with resources is laughably simplistic. People throughout the NHS are extremely motivated to save money - for many managers it's their whole job purpose - but the complexity of the system means that the obstacles within it are incredibly hard to overcome. The idea that this ineffiecy is because public ownership means that people just don't care, and were it in private hands it would all work more efficiently is, I'm sorry to say, just infuriatingly stupid. And I haven't even touched on the real arguments about the perverse incentives introduced by the profit motive...
Post edited at 21:40
felt - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Adele

Also fox hunter hunting
Big Ger - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

The sex industry.
krikoman - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Big Ger:

> They don't even do that, there are ancillary staff for that.

I do know that , thanks.

The point is nursing has moved on, there a lot more to it than there used to be and when you have people lives in your hands it might be useful to have well trained staff. Having staff trained to a higher level than needed can often give them insights which can be useful in diagnostics and treatment.

I realise that having a degree is meaningless, I was on a course with someone who had absolutely no common sense, yet he beat me in every exam we ever had. He was good at regurgitating information but not it's application to a wider scope.
tripehound - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:
of course we could use all the profit left over to pay back the debts either from the last labour government, or even better, use it to pay the RBS fines.

Labour was not responsible for the financial crisis in 2008. It was a worldwide banking crisis that was created by the banks over lending to every Tom Dick and Harry and selling on Toxic loans to unsuspecting buyers.
The Tories campaigned for less banking controls before the crash, but Gordon Brown insisted on stronger controls.
Had it been left to the Tories the banking crash would have been far worse than it was.
Its a right wing myth that the crash was caused by Labour, quite the opposite in fact.

And as far as fiscal control go's the current administration has borrowed more than the last two put together.
Dave B on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Toll bridges and toll roads
L bearman68 - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to tripehound:

Never heard that one before. Thanks for mentioning it.
I did hear about the note that said " Sorry, there's no more money" though, and I did just casually add up around £1*10^12 of spending in the labour manifesto. That's such a big number, it's a bit like space. So big you can't get your head around it.
Deadeye - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Dave B:

> Troll bridges and troll roads

Fixed
Dave B on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Deadeye:

Grin.
Big Ger - on 17 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

The baking industry, that way they'd make a load of bread...
jondo - on 17 Jun 2017
In reply to bearman68:

Belay partners. They should have a database of available ones at any given day , preferably of the opposite gender with data on temper disposition.

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