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.