With the government having recently announced a goldplated handout to the directors and shareholders of Northern Rock to ensure the bank is a tempting, subsidised going concern ready for takeover, I thought I would take a look at what Labour MPs had to say on nationalising it. When I looked at what David Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon (where I live) had to say, I was left scratching my head and wondering if he had slipped over from some parallel universe.
In the Commons debate on the Lib Dem motion calling for a temporary nationalisation of Northern Rock in December, Mr Anderson laid into nationalisation and made the most bizarre claim:
“I have a very different ideological view from that of my party's Front Benchers: their view is that public ownership is a good thing and we should have more of it.”
He then went on to attack previous nationalisations as all the state did was to take over failing businesses.
It comes as a bit of a surprise to me that the Labour frontbench are in favour of more nationalisation! Events seem to suggest otherwise.
Mr Anderson's sudden hostility to public ownership also seems to be at odds with so many of his own pronouncements over the years. I have kindly listed a few below for your edification:
4 October 2002: Mr Anderson said, "People who use public services and the workers who deliver those services are united in their opposition of private sector initiatives and to fat cat involvement.” (Evening Chronicle)
20 June 2003: David Anderson at Unison conference - Talked of “strong opposition to PFI and privatisation” and using “our industrial muscle” against privatisation. “There is an ever-reducing core of people in this country who still support the privatisation agenda.” (Unison press release 20 June 03)
10 Mar 2006: Called on the Government to return the train operating companies to public ownership (Early Day Motion 2005/6 1680)
30 March 2006: described privatisation of the National Probation Service in England and Wales as a fundamental misjudgement (Early Day Motion 2005/6 1907)
30 March 2006: attacks the privatisation of South Eastern Trains (Early Day Motion 2005/6 1923)
30 Mar 2006: expresses concern at the increasing trend in Government for the privatisation of public services and calls on the Government to introduce a moratorium on privatisation (Early Day Motion 2005/6 1940)
27 April 2006: opposes privatisation of search and rescue services (Early Day Motion 2005/6 2004)
16 May 2006: in debate in House of Commons, Mr Anderson calls for the renationalisation of the coal industry.
3 July 2006: co sponsor of an amendment to an Early Day Motion calling for Thames Water to be brought into public ownership (Early Day Motion 2005/6 2426A1)
14 July 2006: in House of Commons debate he attacks the privatisation of water industry
26 November 2006: in House of Commons debate he complains about privatisations of utilities by the previous Conservative government
6 December 2006: supports the rail unions and TUC campaign to keep the East London Line wholly in the public sector (Early Day Motion 2006/7 286)
6 December 2006: notes with concern that defence training is being privatised (Early Day Motion 2006/7 297)
8 January 2007: opposes outsourcing or privatisation of civil service jobs (Early Day Motion 2006/7 530)
3 May 2007: attacks the trend in government towards privatisation and wants moratorium on privatisation (Early Day Motion 2006/7 1376)
24 May 2007: co-sponsor of a Parliamentary motion attacking Lib Dem Hull council for selling shares in Kingston Communication (Early Day Motion 2006/7 1571) (the previous Labour administration had already sold off the majority of shares!)
11 June 2007: opposes the concept of privatisation of British Waterways (Early Day Motion 2006/7 1606)
20 November 2007: congratulates trade unionists taking action in opposition to privatisation of public services (Early Day Motion 2007/8 276)
There are more examples of Mr Anderson's foot-in-mouth experiences. Indeed, there are many more. They will probably be making regular appearances on this blog. Watch this space!