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BRADFORD & Bingley's nationalisation raises one big question. If it's OK to bail out the bankers, why couldn't the government intervene to rescue other companies - for example Longbridge or Peugeot car factories whose owners have thrown thousands out of work?
Rover workers demonstrate against closure in 2005, photo Paul Mattsson. But why was the plant not nationalised?
In reality, what has happened is not genuine nationalisation but a form of 'socialism for the rich'. Bad debts and the consequences of unbridled financial greed are being transferred to the state, and the taxpayer, that's you and me, will be passed the bill.
Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley have not been nationalised to protect the small investors - and clearly not the thousands of jobs that are now being shed - but to shore up the capitalist system and in particular the rich shareholders of the wider banking system.
£50 billion or more can be found to bail out the banks - but when I called for the nationalisation of car production at Longbridge or Ryton, or for state intervention to save other manufacturing or industrial jobs, I was told I was "living in the past".
When pensioners and others on fixed low incomes face rocketing fuel costs and falling disposable incomes, they're expected to make do - yet top banking executives in many of the failed and flawed financial companies in America and here have had millions, even tens of millions, in compensation and salaries.
Noticeably however amongst the three big parties there is only one voice - defence of the system and pass the bill to the rest of us. There is no national authoritative voice calling for genuine socialist nationalisation that would allow the economy to be rationally and democratically planned for the benefit of all.
Working people urgently need an independent political party of their own that's not afraid to use the traditional language of socialism against working peoples' traditional enemy - the 'free market' system.
Campaign for a New Workers Party (29)
Article dated 2 October 2008
The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party
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