Modern socialism

A number of sites on social media are focusing on the word ‘socialism’ as if it were a terrible threat and that voting Labour will somehow turn the UK into North Korea, or Russia in the 1930’s. That is like saying that having tea with the Archbishop of Canterbury is agreeing with the torturers of The Inquisition or burning heretics at the stake. Today’s Church of England has nothing to do with what was done in the name of Christianity in other countries or at other times. The same applies to modern socialism in the UK.

The word ‘socialism’

Focus on the word ‘social’, as in social groups. Any individual is part of a group – a family, friendship group, neighbourhood, club or town. They are supported by that group and owe a loyalty to it. The group supports its members and its members support the group. All socialism asks is that we act like that as a country. We don’t base policies on selfishness, greed or the rule of the biggest bully or the strongest self-interest group, but on the idea that we all contribute to helping each other, as a civilised country should.

What belongs to whom?

Tied to this is the idea that we should have control of your own environment. When rain falls on the UK, that water belongs to the people of the UK. It should not be sold back to us by companies whose profits go to America, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Our trains should not be among the most expensive and inefficient in Europe, whilst profits go to shareholders in Germany, Holland and France. Our gas electricity is often owned by the French state or a German company.

UK Mail is part owned by the German government. The biggest shareholder in Royal Mail, with the Queen’s head on its stamps, is a private hedge fund. We are very much in favour of international co-operation and trade, but think decisions about price and quality of basic services should more often be taken by the voters and customers, not foreign investors or those operating only for personal profit. There has been a lot of talk about Taking Back Control with Brexit, but what control do you have if your environment is privately owned? Socialism wants the people to decide how they live and what standards apply, and all we ask is that you think about what you should own as a community and what you should give away.

https://fullfact.org/economy/who-owns-britains-trains-energy-postal/

Paul Eustice

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