Thursday, 24 February 2011

Another warning shot

Tony Greaves is one of the founding fathers of the community politics which are the source of the strength of Liberals and Liberal Democrats in local government, and on which foundation the parliamentary party stands. Political opponents depict him as the epitome of the bearded sandal-wearing Liberal, friends as the guru of social liberalism. Liberal Democrat News has been dull since he stopped writing his regular column. Our leaders in government will do well to take note of his letter in yesterday's Guardian regarding the maketisation of social services.

Tony writes:

"..Liberal Democrat policies are for decentralisation and democratisation of public services, not hiving them all off to whichever private companies want to run and shape them for profit, with the inevitable loss of democratic involvement and accountability. Throwing a few high profile crumbs to charities will not mask a policy of wholesale privatisation or make it acceptable to the public. I have little doubt that the Liberal Democrats as a party will refuse to accept this rightwing nonsense - which anyway is not in the coalition agreement..."

On the same letters page a correspondent from Manchester explodes the convenient Tory myth of "public sector bad, private sector good" by asking:

"Where is the evidence that the private sector is better? Heathrow airport? British airways? Network Rail? The cartel that is now our energy companies? And what about the whole financial sector? Didn't their greed, short-termism and incompetent management almost bring about the collapse of the western world's financial systems(saved by public intervention)?..."

The proposed public sector "reforms," as currently constituted, are as ideologically driven as the public sector cuts, are illiberal and should be opposed

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