Labour Nationalisation Watch

username1450924
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A study by the Centre for Policy Studies puts the cost of Labour nationalisation at £176 billion. That is 10% of the national debt and could be used to build 2.9 million social houses.

How can Labour justify spending this money on a vanity project? Why should they be vote into office when they want to irresponsibly spend our money?

SOURCE: http://www.cps.org.uk/publications/t...ationalisation
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LeapingLucy
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That's a bit of a loaded question - you're making it into a reductio ad absurdum & therefore prohibiting any meaningful debate.

To Labour supporters, it's not a "vanity project" or irresponsible. It's the core of their ideology, and what they believe will most benefit the people/workers of Britain and improve their living standards.

I don't agree with their policies personally, but I believe it's better to try to understand why they believe that and then critique it point by point, than to make childish sweeping generalisations.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by Tommy1boy)
A study by the Centre for Policy Studies puts the cost of Labour nationalisation at £176 billion. That is 10% of the national debt and could be used to build 2.9 million social houses.
Except it won't be used to build 2.9 million social houses. It will be used to allow rich business men to travel from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes. I don't agree with nationalising everything but in the supply of gas and electricity, capitalism has utterly failed as has the privatisation of the railways.
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username1450924
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Except it won't be used to build 2.9 million social houses. It will be used to allow rich business men to travel from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes. I don't agree with nationalising everything but in the supply of gas and electricity, capitalism has utterly failed as has the privatisation of the railways.
The privatisation of the railways has definitely not failed. If you look at what it was like compared to now, its better even if it does not seem like it. I will not pretend the system is perfect and I have always advocated a different system which I will not get into here, but full nationalisation would just not work.

In terms of gas and electricity I am not convinced the benefits outway the costs.
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DJKL
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(Original post by Tommy1boy)
The privatisation of the railways has definitely not failed. If you look at what it was like compared to now, its better even if it does not seem like it. I will not pretend the system is perfect and I have always advocated a different system which I will not get into here, but full nationalisation would just not work.

In terms of gas and electricity I am not convinced the benefits outway the costs.
Frankly I would welcome the old trains if it was cheaper and working out how to travel from A to B was a little easier.

What rail, gas, electric , water etc all omit from the cost/benefit analysis is the number of man hours the public wastes trying to work out the best deal to take, this is a hidden cost thrust onto the public.
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by ByEeek)
Except it won't be used to build 2.9 million social houses. It will be used to allow rich business men to travel from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes. I don't agree with nationalising everything but in the supply of gas and electricity, capitalism has utterly failed as has the privatisation of the railways.
Just going to have to stop you right there; lets talk about the privatisation of the railways.

First and foremost, privateisation can mean a lot of things - can you call the heavily regulated, absolute monopoly driven and overall crap system we have now privatised - sure, but that doesn't mean 'privatisation' as a concept should be discarded.

In fact, privatisation has been tried many time before in the UK for the railways and our most prosperous era in terms of our railways was the 19th century where we had a free market. In less than 3 years, investors were able to build 6000 miles of railways - to put that into context; 200 years later, we only have 5000 miles more. It took us over 2 centuries to build what the free market built in 3 years.

Moreover, in the 19th century, even thought the population was a fraction of what it is now, the average number of yearly passengers getting trains amounted to 1.4 billion.

Now let's fast forward to just after WW1. Turns out the free market was too competitive and drove prices down the consumers too much, so the government wasn't making any money out of it, so the PM of the day decided to idiotically merge all the companies to make 4 big ones. The number of yearly average passengers fell to 1.2 billion. Still decent I suppose.

Fast forward to after WW2. The PM, in a pungent stoke of idiocy, decides to combine the 4 large companies and small companies into 1 national monopoly - Network Rail. Now even though the population has absolutely exploded by this point compared to the 19th century, the number of yearly passenger fell to 750 million...HALF of what it was in a free market.

Now I'm not saying a free market can work in the 21st century, however, one thing is crystal clear as laid out by the course of history of the railways, privatisation is exponentially superior to nationalisation.

Now, before someone mentions the 'HURR DURR WUHH ABUTT EAST COAST MAINLINE', let me counter that point before it's proposed. The East coast mainline is an incredible easy line to run - if you look at the west coast, it is intrumentally much harder, it's not hard for socialist policies e.g. nationalising to do well in running them (at least in the beginning) since it's sustainable. Give it a couple decades and the EC mainline will be awful.


So yeh, TLDR, privatisation > nationalisation
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Davij038
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What? we could invade Syria with that money instead!

[irony]
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username3672344
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(Original post by Tommy1boy)
The privatisation of the railways has definitely not failed. If you look at what it was like compared to now, its better even if it does not seem like it. I will not pretend the system is perfect and I have always advocated a different system which I will not get into here, but full nationalisation would just not work.

In terms of gas and electricity I am not convinced the benefits outway the costs.
The Nationalised European systems are far cheaper and provide a far better service than our privatised system.

The privatisation of public services is illogical. The justification for privatisation is that it provides completion and lowers prices for the consumer. With public services such as the railways, gas, electricity etc, there can be no meaningful competition as they are natural monopolies.
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Dez
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
Just going to have to stop you right there; lets talk about the privatisation of the railways.

First and foremost, privateisation can mean a lot of things - can you call the heavily regulated, absolute monopoly driven and overall crap system we have now privatised - sure, but that doesn't mean 'privatisation' as a concept should be discarded.

In fact, privatisation has been tried many time before in the UK for the railways and our most prosperous era in terms of our railways was the 19th century where we had a free market. In less than 3 years, investors were able to build 6000 miles of railways - to put that into context; 200 years later, we only have 5000 miles more. It took us over 2 centuries to build what the free market built in 3 years.

Moreover, in the 19th century, even thought the population was a fraction of what it is now, the average number of yearly passengers getting trains amounted to 1.4 billion.

Now let's fast forward to just after WW1. Turns out the free market was too competitive and drove prices down the consumers too much, so the government wasn't making any money out of it, so the PM of the day decided to idiotically merge all the companies to make 4 big ones. The number of yearly average passengers fell to 1.2 billion. Still decent I suppose.

Fast forward to after WW2. The PM, in a pungent stoke of idiocy, decides to combine the 4 large companies and small companies into 1 national monopoly - Network Rail. Now even though the population has absolutely exploded by this point compared to the 19th century, the number of yearly passenger fell to 750 million...HALF of what it was in a free market.

Now I'm not saying a free market can work in the 21st century, however, one thing is crystal clear as laid out by the course of history of the railways, privatisation is exponentially superior to nationalisation.

Now, before someone mentions the 'HURR DURR WUHH ABUTT EAST COAST MAINLINE', let me counter that point before it's proposed. The East coast mainline is an incredible easy line to run - if you look at the west coast, it is intrumentally much harder, it's not hard for socialist policies e.g. nationalising to do well in running them (at least in the beginning) since it's sustainable. Give it a couple decades and the EC mainline will be awful.


So yeh, TLDR, privatisation > nationalisation
I love how you completely gloss over the fact that in the time period you're analysing here, we went from horse and carriage being the main competitor to the railways all the way to the first Ferrari cars being built. Talk about correlation vs causation…
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by Dez)
I love how you completely gloss over the fact that in the time period you're analysing here, we went from horse and carriage being the main competitor to the railways all the way to the first Ferrari cars being built. Talk about correlation vs causation…
I knew this was going to come up.

In the 1950s less than 12% of people had cars. In the 1960s it was less than 30%.

If you're trying to suggest that Network Rail somehow managed to lose 750million yearly average uses because of a very limited number of cars at the time, then I'm afraid you'd be wrong. While i'll admit railways would have lost a couple million yearly uses, 750 million is simply too large of a number to blame on 'duh cars'.

Anything else?
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TCA2b
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
Now I'm not saying a free market can work in the 21st century, however, one thing is crystal clear as laid out by the course of history of the railways, privatisation is exponentially superior to nationalisation.
Of course it can. I think it's an unnecessary concession.
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Captain Haddock
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)

In fact, privatisation has been tried many time before in the UK for the railways and our most prosperous era in terms of our railways was the 19th century where we had a free market. In less than 3 years, investors were able to build 6000 miles of railways - to put that into context; 200 years later, we only have 5000 miles more. It took us over 2 centuries to build what the free market built in 3 years.
Oh come on there is no way you don't realise how silly this is.

Now, before someone mentions the 'HURR DURR WUHH ABUTT EAST COAST MAINLINE', let me counter that point before it's proposed. The East coast mainline is an incredible easy line to run - if you look at the west coast, it is intrumentally much harder, it's not hard for socialist policies e.g. nationalising to do well in running them (at least in the beginning) since it's sustainable. Give it a couple decades and the EC mainline will be awful.
If it's so easy how come the private sector is so incapable of running it?
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ByEeek
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(Original post by Tommy1boy)
The privatisation of the railways has definitely not failed. If you look at what it was like compared to now, its better even if it does not seem like it. I will not pretend the system is perfect and I have always advocated a different system which I will not get into here, but full nationalisation would just not work.
But it does work. National Rail is a not-for-profit organisation. And the East Coast Main Line was happily paying a handsome dividend to the government until they decided to award it to Stagecoach who are on the brink of handing it back because they got all their numbers wrong. Meanwhile, Virgin Trains shareholders are making a killing at the cost of the public purse that is subsidising less profitable parts of the network like Northern and don't even get me started on Southern Rail who have absolutely no incentive to do anything about the ongoing strikes because it is the government that picks up the tab every time the rail network is brought to its knees. It is a farce.
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ByEeek
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
In fact, privatisation has been tried many time before in the UK for the railways and our most prosperous era in terms of our railways was the 19th century where we had a free market. In less than 3 years, investors were able to build 6000 miles of railways - to put that into context; 200 years later, we only have 5000 miles more. It took us over 2 centuries to build what the free market built in 3 years.
I take your point, but I don't think this argument holds true. The boom in railways of the 18th Century was a speculative bubble which eventually burst big style. But right now, our country needs railways and as a result, the government has never invested more in the railways. So we have a system where the government is propping up the less profitable parts of the network whilst private companies are skimming huge profits from the profitable parts of the railway. For the tax payer it is a lose lose situation. And the third loss comes from the fact that because of the current franchise system, companies have no obligation to improve their services over and above the level agreed when the agreements was signed. So if a part of the network sees a mini-boom over 2 or 3 years leading to over crowding, the operator is under no obligation to do anything about it. This is why we Northerners are still riding around in 40 year old rolling stock and have just seen our service cut because trains have been relocated elsewhere in the country due to contractual agreements elsewhere. It is a farce.
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Captain Haddock
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
I knew this was going to come up.

In the 1950s less than 12% of people had cars. In the 1960s it was less than 30%.

If you're trying to suggest that Network Rail somehow managed to lose 750million yearly average uses because of a very limited number of cars at the time, then I'm afraid you'd be wrong. While i'll admit railways would have lost a couple million yearly uses, 750 million is simply too large of a number to blame on 'duh cars'.

Anything else?
A couple million? Your stats work out to roughly 6 million car users in 1950 vs over 15 million in 1960. If each of those extra 9 million decided to drive instead of take the train just once in a year, that's 9 million uses. If, implausibly, all of these new drivers had previously been travelling to work on the train and then switched to using cars for their daily commute we get a figure of over 2.3 billion lost fares assuming 260 work days. Let's say, even more implausibly, that they each decided to give three of their workmates a lift on each of these commutes. That's now 9.2 billion fares. Obviously, the reality is somewhere between the extreme low and the extreme high, but what I'm trying to demonstrate is that each of those car users would likely have passed on multiple train journeys a year in favour of driving, and on average would have taken a >0 number of passengers with them on their travels who would no longer need a train ticket either. Perhaps it doesn't account for all 750 million but a 'couple million' is just dishonest.
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by Captain Haddock)
A couple million? Your stats work out to roughly 6 million car users in 1950 vs over 15 million in 1960. If each of those extra 9 million decided to drive instead of take the train just once in a year, that's 9 million uses. If, implausibly, all of these new drivers had previously been travelling to work on the train and then switched to using cars for their daily commute we get a figure of over 2.3 billion lost fares assuming 260 work days. Let's say, even more implausibly, that they each decided to give three of their workmates a lift on each of these commutes. That's now 9.2 billion fares. Obviously, the reality is somewhere between the extreme low and the extreme high, but what I'm trying to demonstrate is that each of those car users would likely have passed on multiple train journeys a year in favour of driving, and on average would have taken a >0 number of passengers with them on their travels who would no longer need a train ticket either. Perhaps it doesn't account for all 750 million but a 'couple million' is just dishonest.
Ok sure, a couple million is dishonest I will agree.

But your numbers are wayy off here, and competely drawn from a hypothetical.

I guess the number would be around 200-300 million, but you're going to hard a seriously hard time convicting me that the number of yearly fares dropped by HALF (750 million) just because 12% of the population had access to cars.

At the time, cars would have been a semi-luxury, and the people buying them would have been quite well off we can see this because in the 1950 only 3% of the population had 2 cars.

I would argue that if the people buying cars were this rich, they would not have bothered to get a train every day to work.

ALSO, let's say that your numbers are largely correct (which I have a hard time believing), how do you explain this bombshell...you ready?

Car ownership now is extremely high. Much higher than the 1950s, and 60s under network rail.

FREE MARKET: 1.4 BILLION USER

THE HIGH FOUR: 1.2 BILLION USERS

NETWORK RAIL (60s & 70s): 750 MILLION

Now, you'd see this number falling and falling if what you say is true, correct? More cars, less uses? Well no. AS SOON as the railways were privatised, we see the 750 million number rising to 1.7 BILLION.

It's funny that the ONLY slump our railways have had - the ONLY time the number of passengers has gone down below a billion yearly...is under network rail, even though currently we have huge car ownership, we have the highest number ever - under privatisation.

I apprieciate your comment though, you did have me doubting my assertions for a second, but again, privatisation > nationalisation.
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by Captain Haddock)
If it's so easy how come the private sector is so incapable of running it?
Overregulation is my guess.

But I don't claim to be an expert on the East Coast line, however, I do know it's much easier than the West coast line.
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by ByEeek)
I take your point, but I don't think this argument holds true. The boom in railways of the 18th Century was a speculative bubble which eventually burst big style. But right now, our country needs railways and as a result, the government has never invested more in the railways. So we have a system where the government is propping up the less profitable parts of the network whilst private companies are skimming huge profits from the profitable parts of the railway. For the tax payer it is a lose lose situation. And the third loss comes from the fact that because of the current franchise system, companies have no obligation to improve their services over and above the level agreed when the agreements was signed. So if a part of the network sees a mini-boom over 2 or 3 years leading to over crowding, the operator is under no obligation to do anything about it. This is why we Northerners are still riding around in 40 year old rolling stock and have just seen our service cut because trains have been relocated elsewhere in the country due to contractual agreements elsewhere. It is a farce.
The thing is, both you and I want the same thing - better railways.

We both recognise, maybe you slightly more than me, that the railways are s**t.

My solution to the problem is getting rid of regulation, and allowing a freer market - call me a idealist, but personally, I believe my conclusion is at least supported by some empiracle evidence.

Your solution is nationalisation. Now, I think this will make the railways worse.

I mean, 18th century we had 1.4 billion users, early 20th century we had 1.2 billion, when nationalisation came we had 750 million, but when privatisation came back we grew to a whopping 1.7 billion. I have no doubt you'd have the best intentions at heart, but I simply and sincerely fail to see the benefits of a nationalised railway :/
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HighOnGoofballs
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(Original post by TCA2b)
Of course it can. I think it's an unnecessary concession.
The thing is, whenever I had discussions IRL about a free market in the railways, it's easy enough to convince people that a privatised railway is better than a national one, but what I struggle with proposing any arguments for why a free market in the railways would be even better.

I'm usually met with the snarky anology of 'oh, so you'd have like 20 tracks running side by side of eachother all from 20 different companies - to which I can't find an answer to.

Could you elaborate on why a free market would be great?
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TCA2b
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(Original post by HighOnGoofballs)
The thing is, whenever I had discussions IRL about a free market in the railways, it's easy enough to convince people that a privatised railway is better than a national one, but what I struggle with proposing any arguments for why a free market in the railways would be even better.

I'm usually met with the snarky anology of 'oh, so you'd have like 20 tracks running side by side of eachother all from 20 different companies - to which I can't find an answer to.

Could you elaborate on why a free market would be great?
Well for one I am not sure what is even meant by a free market, if that is the sort of objection you're hearing. Their approach is fallacious because for there to be a free market in it does not require that there be multiple competing rails, but simply competition for the ownership of the network firm, as absent regulation protecting inefficient management, hostile takeovers are a disincentive for inefficient behaviours. Free market does not mean or require multiple competing firms for one single good/service; just that there are no legal barriers to entry. What's the difference between "privatised" and free market in this case?

I mean you could even turn it into a cooperative style firm and it'd still be compatible with a free market. The other reason the snarkument you have encountered is incorrect is because substitute goods do not need to be rail, they can be any other form of transport, including airplanes.

If anything, the technologies in the 21st century should make it even easier, not harder, for there to be a free market in such an area. So I find the argument bizarre.
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