Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Privatisation's Borodino

Had it not been for the events of September 7 1812, it's likely that the name of the otherwise unremarkable Russian village of Borodino would have been completely forgotten by history; but on that day, in that place, the Grande Armee clashed with the Imperial Russian army - producing the greatest single bloodbath that the world had, to that point, ever seen.
For Bonapartism, it was not the end; it was not even the beginning of the end - but it was perhaps the end of the beginning.
Last night, the Gloucestershire village of Walham might just have become the Borodino of another great ideology, one which, once it had lit a fire in the minds of men, swept the globe - that of so-called 'privatisation'.
If one believes that nationalisation is theft (as I do), then it only takes a very short logical leap to conclude that privatisation is on a par with handling stolen goods - both economic policies demand that a third party, the state, interfere in economic affairs; the state steals businesses; and the state then sells those businesses to third parties, without returning them to their original owners.
Niether policy can exist without an interventionist state.
One of the great failings of 24 hour news media is its inability to control its irrepressible reflexive impulse to collapse up its own backside when there isn't really too much new news to report. It's at this point it starts asking stupid questions about the government's responsibility for flooding.
I know Brown's full of himself and all but I don't believe even he thinks he can go one better than King Canute.
But the actual significance of what happened in Walham last night was most certainly not missed by tonight's 'Channel 4 News'.
The Internet report does not do justice to its television counterpart.
The TV report stated that army, fire and police services worked 34 hour shifts to prevent flood water reaching the switching gear in Walham's electricity sub-station; if it had, then as many as 500,000 people, and the GCHQ listening station, would have been without power.
The really crappy question for its owners is, as a privatised utility, just how much they had invested in flood defences.
The concomitant really crappy question for all of us on the right is whether we can restrain the spastic impulse to run spastically about spastically squawking like spastic chickens and old women at the merest suggestion that in a nation, you know, a country, one of those things whose existence was today denied by the Leader of the Opposition, some things are best left to collective government management - such as the responsibility for telling half a million people that they can't cook their dinners or flush their toilets.
And as an aficionado of the works of Correlli Barnett, it was with very great satisfaction that I saw that the machine that actually pumped the water out of Walham, a big mother that can pump the equivalent of 10 fire-engines' worth, is, by manufacture, German.
As Napoleon might have said- plus ca change...

5 comments:

Fidothedog said...

There was a clip on C4 news earlier, showing how people are helping each other out and well managing to survive.

Seems that we are not yet at the stage of carving spears and hunting down out neighbours pets for food.

Martin said...

Congratulations, Fido.

It's not often one sees an 18 carat non sequitur.

Good dog. Nice dog.

The Remittance Man said...

It's interesting to read the views of an afficianado of Correlli Barnett on a decidedly eu-sceptic blog.

I always thought he was very much in favour of a federal europe and a single european currency.

Roger Thornhill said...

Was it a Unimog?

Also, Hilarious Benn was trundling about in a Swiss-Made amphibious vehicle...

This, in the country that invented the hovercraft!

Martin said...

As the author of this piece, it's only appropriate to note a correction.

'Bonapartism' is a concept invented by Marx in his book 'The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon'. It had nothing at all to do with Napoleon Bonaparte.