Tag Archives: Privatization

Political Thoughts Easter 2024

War in Ukraine, illegal migrants loaded in a boat, Belmonte, Luz de Tavira, Algarve, Portugal

I haven’t written about anything political for ages. Mainly due to being busy with other things and health issues. I feel now is the time I should state my position on various issues.

Privatization

Some privatization of national/government run institutions is a good thing. As it can increase efficiency and reduce costs to the public / o povo. However, privatization of all national assets for the sake of privatization is not a good thing.

There is a difference between the privatization of a national Airline company like TAP and a essential utility like water as in the case of Thames Water in the UK. What we have to remember is this. A privatized company is driven by it’s very nature to return the maximum amount of the profit a company makes to their shareholders - in form of dividends. The citizens of the country and the national interest being of secondary importance.

This is clearly seen in the case of Thames Water in the UK. After the government allowed the privatization of the water company, the water bills immediately doubled and I have no doubt have continued to increase. The company paid out dividends to it’s shareholders while failing to invest the profit made into maintenance and development of the water processing infrastructure. Thames Valley Water now require 18 billion pounds to fix the problems. The company is owned by non UK entities based in China and Abu Dhabi.

It is my belief that companies that provide such basic and essential services in a country should never be privatized , let alone sold to foreign entities.

Ukraine

Putin. You cannot write about Ukraine without doing some sort analysis on Putin. The BBC have a program on Putin which is quite good. I was sceptical at first but now see they were correct this time round. Putin is an able state administrator, a gambler and a splinter in a wound.

His gambit in Ukraine went wrong. Without consultation with the Russian Parliament he diverted troops on a training exercise in Belarus to invade Ukraine. The reason the tank column took so long on the road to Kiev is because Putin had gambled the Ukrainians would be intimidated and throw the gates of Kiev open to him. When that failed, to save face he decided to press on with the war with badly prepared and ill equipped troops. The Ukrainians had been heavily armed by foreign states especially the United Kingdom and the Americans with the latest anti tank weaponry. We know how that went.

This is what happens when you become a dictator the sense of one’s own power and invulnerability becomes detached from reality. Putin should have stopped with Crimea and normalised international relationships. Everyone with the exception of a few, would have accepted that because it felt correct for Crimea to be a part of Russia.

He went about trying to win Ukraine in the completely wrong way. If he was clever he would have used businesses and Russia’s vast energy reserves to bribe and win over the Ukrainians. The Americans do it successfully this way with their companies. Amazon is a good example. Anything, anyone earns on Amazon is taxable first by the Americans. Secondly Amazon have been building the backbone of the internet quietly with secret datacenters all over the world. Amazon now control more than 30% of the global infrastructure that is the internet. A win for American global power.

Putin instead decided to use force like a thug to grab Ukraine. After Putin and the clique that govern Russia, failed to get all of Ukraine they decided to settle for the mineral rich eastern Ukraine. The cost of this will be high for the Russians. Financially and culturally. How can you bomb people and except then to like you let alone love you? Russian businesses will banned from operating in the west and clever Russians will be barred from employment in many countries. War is an evil business and should only be invoked as the very last resort.

Were there / are there, some reasons for Russia launching a war with Ukrane? I would argue , no. The NATO expansion into Ukraine could have been staved off by threats and red lines. As it stands Putin's war has certainly speeded up NATO expansion with Finland and Sweden opting in.

As for Russian speaking Ukrainians being ethnically cleansed by Ukrainian ultranationalists. This while being true, has not been helped by the war except for perhaps those in the annexed regions. How can bombs destroying one’s home and a destroyed economy be of help to a Russian speaking Ukrainian?

Putin has put Russia and Russians in danger. There are many foreign corporations which work in the interest of their political classes of nation states. These include the United Kingdom and the USA. They are jealous that they were not able to benefit from Russia’s energy and mineral wealth as Putin handed it out to his oligarchs and demanded 50% of the profit – (according to the BBC’s Putin program). These organisations can now fight a proxy war against Russia from their armchairs to try and break the Russian Federation. Yevgeny Prighozin was right. Ukraine was not the enemy to go to war with.

Going forward, I would like to see us all working towards a cease-fire and a negotiated peace. Sending armaments to Ukraine only benefits arms manufacturers and people traffickers as Ukraine will remain unstable, with a seriously damaged economy. It will also destabilize the rest of the world. I heard on BBC news (a few weeks ago), some British General being quoted as saying that we should be prepared to go to war with Russia in 10 years time. I am sorry, but that is just barking mad! The Russians will not back down now from the annexed territories. What I suggest is that the Russians be asked to pay war reparations for the death and destruction they unleashed on the Ukrainians. In addition rather than sanctions, all goods imported by Russia should have a heavy war tax for a long period say 20 -25 years. The proceeds of which should go towards rebuilding Ukraine. This would benefits industries in the EU and elsewhere. We should stop pretending that Vlodymyr Zelensky and his cronies represent the definition of democracy.

If Zelenky was half good as a politician he would have been respectful to the Russians and promoted both, the Russian language and culture instead of doing the opposite. He was also in a perfect position to negotiate favourable trade deals with both the EU/UK and Russia without having to join NATO. I have never understood why NATO membership is a prerequisite for joining the EU.

Gaza netanhayu benjamin

Now this is a proper war. The Israelis had no choice but to respond. It is what the Palestinians wanted. Bejamin Netanhayu is weak as a general. Instead of reacting in the Jewish manner of an eye for an eye, he should have waited for a week or more and done nothing. He then should have completely blockaded Gaza and starved them until those in control there released every hostage they had taken. He then could then have taken his time in dealing with Hamas as an entity.

As a politician,I don’t regard Benjamin Netanhayu in high esteem. I think he should have given away something to the Palestinians to maintain the peace. Instead he locked them behind a wall which he not secure adequately. He had undermined Fatah which allowed Hamas to take control of Gaza. He carried on with his hard talk and pandered to Jewish religious extremists. His wall did not protect the Israelis from the ‘martyrs’ that were bred within the Gaza strip for the last two decades.

I don’t see any easy solution going forward. Maybe a corridor to connect Gaza with the other Palestinian territories even if it means moving Jewish settlers. Israel would have to remain in charge of overall security to safeguard it’s existence.

Modern Slavery Theresa May, MP, United KIngdom

The Right Honourable MP Theresa May is to stand down as the Conservative MP for Windsor and Maidenhead. I have every respect for Theresa May as an MP and her efforts at combating modern slavery. It is very difficult. Even in the UK because people want to, for example, eat out at nice restaurants at very reasonable prices. For this you need indentured workers slaving away behind in the kitchens. No one really wants to dig deeply into the work contracts and rock the boat and so affect their good times. The same applies to today's sex industry where vulnerable girls and boys are put under pressure to work for these organisations. They can be for example employed legally as waiters or waitresses but have to provide extra services to clients to keep their jobs. These organizations are multi-national and involve some form of people trafficking or use people in the business of trafficking people. No one cares if they are having a good time. It is very difficult for a single nation state to combat it whilst other nation states turn a blind eye to it to supplement their economies. In such places it is the done thing by fact if not on paper.

One of the reasons that modern slavery is alive and well is that there are too many desperate people who become migrants in search of a better life and will accept any work conditions they are offered. This of’course is linked to illegal migration.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s idea of having more robotics to help with farm work is a very good idea. It will reduce the need of the UK having to rely on migrant labourers who can be exploited and make the UK less attract to illegal migrants. I have seen a 30 hectare vineyard in Alentejo, Portugal where just two guys using intelligent mechanisation brought in the grape harvest for wine. The program did not show who does the pruning and the clearing of the cuttings of the row upon row of vines. 🙂

I end my political rant here.

Sources:

Putin - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/m0015nfd

Faça chuva, faça sol – RTP 2, 2023

Thames Water, BBC News Headlines, 2024