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Democrat May-June 2013 Editorial (Number 135)

The mad European Single Market
and privatisation

The railways have been privatised according to EU Directives and several ‘rail packages’ which is another name for EU legislation that is rubber stamped by parliament. The latest example of the Single Market is the East Coast mainline currently run by the Department of Transport as a not-for-private profit operator after National Express handed the contract back to the Government in 2009. The line has returned a profit of £640m to taxpayers and reinvested a further £40m in new trains.

Street hawkers in India opposing the Free Trade Agreement - an extension of the European Single Market

However, our Con-Dem Government has decided that the single market and Brussels have to be obeyed and the line will be re-privatised in 2015 despite the obvious blatant move in the pure interest of their privateer friends. RMT and the opposition in Parliament have opposed this outrageous scandal. RMT members are in little doubt the real effects of the single market has on their industry.

Royal Mail is to be sold off whilst privateers gobble up the lucrative parts of the service. On 22 May the BBC4 Radio Today programme discussed the privatisation of Royal Mail with the CWU Assistant General Secretary followed by Con-Dem’s Vince Cable. The latter stated that “competition had to be applied” due to the (European) Single Market rules and there was “no way around that”. It is a pity more Ministers are not as honest and that trade union leaders need to make clear to their members what is going on EU wise. Competition means privatisation which is what the free movement of capital, services, goods and labour is all about in the Single Market. We need a government which will ignore Brussels on behalf of the workforce in Britain to protect industries, jobs and lives.

   As well as postal services and railways, other industries and services are subject to not so subtle forms of privatisation and removal of democratic accountability. Education and, as practically everybody knows, the NHS are being handed to privateers. Services previously run by local, regional or national government have been handed over to the private sector. For example the assessment of disabled people to judge whether or not they are entitled to a benefit. That is in addition to refuse collection and street cleaning. Prison and court services are being franchised out and nearly everything else you can think of.

   On top of all that the European Single Market is being extended outside the EU to as far away as India and the American Continent. All this needs to be exposed, opposed, stopped and reversed. If it is not, the social consequences of these policies will be catastrophic. What is required is a tad of explaining so that many more people understand the situation in the first instance and then help our Campaign which will then reach many others.

see also - EU-India Free Trade Agreement - the deals the EU does not want us to know about