Public versus Private

So the public sector isn’t the whole answer and the private sector is not the whole answer. And pitting the one against the other, however hard the corporatocracy tries, is not the answer either…

It is not the public sector’s fault if the private sector cannot provide reliable, affordable, decent pensions. It is not the fault of the public sector that the private sector puts profit before service.

If you work in the public sector, you are a public servant: you work for us; for the good of everybody. That should be a noble use of time and skill. It should be worthy of recognition. It should be deserving of decent working hours, pay and conditions. I want my public servants to feel fulfilled, supported and appreciated. I want them to be worthy of this and, in turn, I want to be deemed worthy of the services they administer. At the moment, for various reasons already identified by many, neither is the case.

I also want this concept of nobility in public service extended to ownership and restored to our public utilities. We understand now that although our national industries were not run perfectly, there was also a concerted effort to deliberately run them down in order to sell us the idea that only private investment held the money and solutions. As it turns out, it didn’t – at least not in any ethically sustainable way. Private, capitalist ownership of vital resources and services turned out to be wonderful for those with vested interests but rather detrimental to and very expensive for the nation’s collective needs. To add extra insult those very same corporations get subsidies – way to make a mockery of capitalism…!  Anyway, it turns out we could have just printed the dosh, made the improvements and invested in ourselves…

There is nothing wrong with having a private sector, but it is just that: private. It has notions of independence and exclusivity attached to it. By definition it is not for general public use without exception and should in no way be sold as a panacea for the efficient and egalitarian provision of essential services. Private enterprise already has its appropriate place in the capitalist market and the corporatocracy should get a hasty grip and suck it up.

Dividing the nation by private-good and public-bad is obscene, reckless and unnecessary and everyone should wise up to this and stop allowing themselves to be held to political ransom through a mainstream media mouthpiece. The one is not and should not be the enemy of the other. Workers within the private sector are also deserving of decent working hours, pay and conditions. For both the poor employee of the private sector and the denigrated public servant there is surely nothing about policy and workers’ rights that a creative, caring and courageous government can’t address with integrity. Like pensions, for example: surely we could at least sort out that awful disparity?

How can it possibly be acceptable that the private sector has for so long been so woefully accommodated that most employees have no provision at all? And what of the self-employed? Who will cover this shortfall? Why everyone else, of course! And, just as top-up benefits demonstrate the inefficiency and misery of low wages, so too does the winter fuel allowance reflect the inadequacy of the state pension. We really should do a better job of working out how much a pension needs to be to provide a comfortable retirement.

I would like some kind of automatic enrolment to be considered so that, regardless of public-, private- or self-employment, everyone contributes to their state pension and for that pension to be a realistically adequate sum on which to live; such that any privately sourced extras are a superfluous desire rather than a vital bridge over a shortfall. A proper, responsible pension system: one that does not carelessly allow people to fall through what is essentially a sensible and rational scheme, only to leave the next generation picking up the slack and plugging the gaps of consistently failing, divisive and cowardly government economics.

Both sectors are appropriate but for quite opposite reasons. The desirability in the private sector is that it recognises an individual’s independence and freedom of choice through innovation and competition; the essentiality of the public sector is that it recognises the value of access and consistency over cynicism and expedience. Yes, each can emulate the other with varying degrees of success, but neither does this perfectly nor even very naturally. Both are valuable; both have their place. The powers that be just need to catch up and learn theirs.

17 thoughts on “Public versus Private

  1. As we all know Unfortunately, but not Surprisingly, considering their Financial & Vested Interests in This, That, and Everything, all 3 Main Parties are more pre-disposed to Private and all Marketeers of the NHS. i only vote now for a Non-Extremist Alternative with a Social-Conscience,

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  2. Just like the Sunnis in the first Iraqi elections, we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Voting for a ‘Non-Extremist Alternative with a Social-Conscience’ may be the right thing for your conscience just as it was for the Sunnis. Unfortunately, it produced a Shia-dominated government in Iraq, because its the votes that count not the turn-out, or the independent candidate’s vote.

    Personally, I think that this government is a wrecking one, focused solely on dismantling public services, and locking in their privatisations with long-term contracts (protected by WTO rules). Another 5 years of the same and we will have fewer public services than the US with two-tier system for health and education. In my opinion, everybody regardless of political belief should be opposing this government because it is working to further the interests of the 0.14% and nobody else. The only way to rid ourselves of the Tories is to vote Labour even if it means holding our noses. Whatever deficiencies there may be in Ed Miliband’s Labour, he/they are not the tory-lite New Labour.

    Good post Juli 🙂

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    • I am not into self-humilation or suffer from stockholm syndrome, therefore i will abide by my conscience and principle something that matter not to what you percieve as the lesser of two evils, i take it you are aware of the assault on the weakest by labour, starting with the elderly, vulnerable sheltered housing residents, the removal of the ring-fencing for resident wardens in 2003, a mere 1m vulnerable people as you might say, and the impact that has today, as they proceeded to the next weakest in 2005 it was the disabled, in the form of Freud, blair, prescott, [ you know all those working class millionaires] im both a sheltered housing resident and disabled, then in 2008 the Remploy closures. I could go on but dont want to give you too much of a bad conscience yet, you will get one hopefully if and its a big if labour scrape a majority, i remain in peace , decency and respect to my dead sheltered housing residents and disabled who died in torment and indignity thanks to those you are suggesting i vote for, really!!!

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      • Your reply is quite difficult to engage with, Teddy, due in part, I think, to your erratic punctuation. What does come across is a very emotional stream of consciousness which shows you have a lot to say. Perhaps you could pick up your blogging again as that’s the perfect platform for some cathartic ranting. In the meantime I would appreciate it if you did not use my comment facility to personally attack and abuse the opinions of others who are engaging with my posts in a positive and constructive manner.

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      • Juli thank you for your boring & predictable [ lab never changes when it hasnt an answer] Party political broadcast on behalf of your Labour party, as for my punctuation, perhaps i had less spent on my education than you and maybe its because i am in bed virtualy all the time and in Pain & Discomfort 24/7 . Have a nice day.

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      • I’m sorry that your circumstances are so difficult, Teddy – there’s a lot of it about – but you sure have made a lot of assumptions. It is not my Labour Party and never has been. I am unaffiliated and undecided. My comment on your punctuation was not to belittle you but to explain why I found it tricky to understand your points. I’m sorry if this offended you. You have no idea as to my educative background, nor do you have any idea about the declining state of my own health or any other aspect of my life. You may have every right to be angry at your situation and that of the people around you but that does not give you license to misdirect your rudeness and anger at me or my visitors. I think this is not the blogsite you are looking for and I wish you luck in finding something more to your taste. I also wish you peace, better health and happier times… 🙂

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      • “RUDENESS AND ANGER” one wonders how you restrain yourself when dealing with M.P,s then, oops silly me its , its obedience, or blowing smoke up their arses, familiarise yourself with the saying “when a dog is kicked often enough it bites back” GRRRR LOL

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      • Juli if you only want sycophantic party noddies commenting you really should state that, in the world of politics and life [ for those who have lived ] its not “Neighbours” , perhaps you labour lot are a sensitive bunch when it comes to yourselves but your a nasty bunch when it comes to the vulnerable. Incidentally of your millionaires shadow cabinet , which one of the millionaires do you like most, the tax-dodging, Paedo PIE apologists [ its a who,s who there ] Expenses “cheat” or those with their noses in this, that, and everything trough, quality eh!

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      • Giggle… Which part of ‘I’m unaffiliated’ did you not understand. I have issues with the whole political class. I’m not at all worried about my opinion being challenged or being corrected if I have my facts wrong – that’s why I have a comment facility.

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  3. Good points re: public vs private.
    Some general thoughts as accompaniment.
    1) the nature of the private enterprise has been tweaked so much in favour of the risk-free asset stripping company vehicle that the only way to restore credibility to capitalism is to re-write the basic rules.
    2) Private pensions / pension funds – the purpose of which is essentially to take a small part of a lot of earnings and turn it into capital, with the hope of a steady accumulation. Why the focus since 1980’s? Purely to increase the capital available for the banksters to gample in derivatives. Who loses? Never the banksters – always the pension funds [public or private]. Meanwhile essential & vital capital projects across the globe are starved of funds, standards of living drop, etc. So again, there’s no point in forcing people to take up private pensions if it’s just a chip in the casino. Change the landscape, properly regulate the banks & the fund managers, strictly limit re-hypothecation, and obviously end the state bailout of bad banks. => suddenly pension funds can be worthwhile. Otherwise it’s better for the state to payout from newly “minted” monies.

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  4. No matter how you dress it up, providing for a pension is simply investing some of today’s income in the hope of being able to enjoy it in your twilight years. Yes, that is stating the bleedin’ obvious. But it’s a simple fact that is often overlooked, because we want to believe in a magical pot called ‘pension’ that is not only immune from the risks inherent in all other forms of investment, but also provides a better, guaranteed return.
    The state pension pays today’s pensioners out of the money invested by tomorrow’s pensioners. In essence that’s a ponzi scheme and of course it’s falling apart now that the ‘baby boomer’ generation is looking to a diminishing pool of contributors to fund the pensions it thought it was paying for over the last 30 years or so. And of course private pension schemes are just as risky as any other form of investment.
    In short, there’s no magic wand that the state or anyone else can wave to guarantee that we all have a decent income in retirement. It’s up to each individual to invest as much as he or she is prepared to, and can afford to, out of current income. Whether those investments pay off will depend upon the same factors that govern the success or failure of investments generally. And of course whatever and however we invest, there’s always the question of whether we’ll survive to enjoy the fruits of our prudence.
    So how about living for today and letting tomorrow take care of itself? Oo-er – now there’s ‘iffy’ for you!

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    • Yes, it’s a bit of an investment in hope. I’d be worried about leaving such arrangements to the discretion-only of individuals because the ultimate responsibility still falls to the wider society when their provision is avoided or inadequate. When the playing field is arbitrary, due in great part to the policy decisions of a few, so too are the opportunities. That increases the cost, the burden and the tension on everyone and creates division.
      I appreciate that on ‘higher levels’ of existence we are each responsible for ourselves, our choices and our actions and that spiritually our soul’s journey will be the result of these. However, I also believe we are made manifest to reconcile the paradoxes which exist on all levels of the physical plane. And, because we are not yet evolved to critical mass, this probably includes reconciling the Self with the ‘collective’.
      I live here and now, so what I do here and now is what counts, yes, but for me that includes the balance between living for my today without wrecking my tomorrow – I plan to have one!
      From a mundane perspective, at least with regard to such things as pensions, healthcare, utilities, etc, I think that sometimes an agreed, shared responsibility is more conducive to affordable good service and probably frees us up to other, more important personal freedoms.

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  5. Great post Juli. This government has made an art form of pitching one section of people against another – able v disabled, public v private, rich v poor, police v public etc. I never thought I would see r=this type of government in the UK but it is here with us today and is destroying much of what makes the UK a good place to live.

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