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This is fascism, pure and simple

He said: “There is another solution and it’s a power that government has at their disposal. This afternoon they can simply issue enforcement orders… effectively the Government would take control of the management of those companies while leaving them in the private sector and detail exactly what investment needs to be paid down, what debts need to be paid, what investment needs to be made in infrastructure, what executive pay, dividends should be.

“This may cause a lot of pain to the shareholders who put very little money into these companies. It may take five or ten years. But here’s the thing, the outcome of it all [is that] you will end up with debt free, forward looking, profitable businesses.”

Nominally private businesses under the detailed control of the state? Yep, fascism.

24 thoughts on “This is fascism, pure and simple”

  1. I’m actually rather grateful it’s a retired pop star saying this and not a member of the government.

  2. Before we follow fergal on this perhaps we should find out what captain sensible thinks about the matter?

  3. I could whinge on about the absurd levels of immigration which means the growing population needs more water.

    Or perhaps more to the point, the failure to build the desalination plants, and the nukes to power them, needed to supply London with more water.

    As for the repairs, the whole system was built back in the good old days when people weren’t quite so fussy. It really needs to be completely dug up and rebuilt with that super long lasting plastic that we hear people whining about all the time. Once we hear the whingers screeching about how the horrid stuff will be there when London has crumbled to dust, and that even when the sun turns into a red giant, the terrible trash will be unharmed, we’ll know we’re doing it right.

  4. Esteemed commenters on this site may be able to educate me here – Despite many in the media shouting about the ‘billions in dividends’ going to evil, rapacious capitalists shareholders, Thames Waters’ results from 2022 state:
    “No dividends paid to external shareholders for fifth year running”
    and
    “£32.9M to Immediate Parent Company”.

    Who is what here please?

    And I’m assuming there won’t be a divvy this year either?

  5. @ Adolff
    The parent company is the one with umpteen £billions of debt on which it has to pay interest.
    The external shareholders are the mugs who bought shares in the parent company assuming that as Thames Water was a regulated utility it should be able to pay dividends that started at a modest level but thereafter increased in line with inflation

  6. This is hardly a surprise. There have been several years of political attacks on the water companies, demanding they pay billions to clean up, funded by the tooth-fairy.

    So now the chickens are roosting, and the dim-wit politicians are realising that the tooth-fairy is the tax-payer. Good luck at the election, Boyo.

    Keir Stammer is nowhere to be found. But it must be Thatcher’s fault. Won’t it be fun when Labour cuts the salaries of the nationalised water companies workers! And forbids them from resigning!

    And does Spud explain what do do when his ‘controlled’ payments are bounced by the banks?
    Pay from taxes, pay from water bills, or just threaten a few bankers’ families?

    I’m sure I’ve seen the movie – how did it end up?

  7. Addolff https://www.ft.com/content/ee57540b-072c-488e-9eae-8cc11886e2c4

    FT Alphaville on the capital structure. (You might have to register). There’s a reg that below a certain bond rating, the OpCo(s) can’t pay divis to shareholders. At least one of the group companies has issued debt that is reliant on the payment of divis to service that debt. Total operating company secured debt is about £14.5bln, other entities getting on for £1.5Bln.

  8. Thames Water is owned by Kemble Water Holdings. TW pays dividends to KWH, but KWH is not currently paying dividends to its investors.

    The mess seems to be largely the consequence of a leveraged buyout in 2006. Money has been sucked out of TW to pay for its own purchase.

    The poor state of TW’s infrastructure is the result of “decades of underinvestment” according to its recently departed Chief Executive.

    It seems to me that it’s a bad idea to privatise a major monopoly utility then let a series of owners do as they please to extract money from it. I’m sure I’m not a fascist.

  9. John77, thank you. That was my first thought, but only having 5 CSE’s and one ‘O’ Level(none of which relate to anything to do with finance) and after a cursory internet search which yielded nothing that added to my understanding, I thought I’d ask the experts here.

    Ducky, many thanks for the link but I can’t get it to work, and the rest of your comment may just as well be Serbo-Croat to me. But thanks for the effort.

    And, as with products using Liability Driven Investments, the woes have been magnified by the rise in interest rates, yes?

  10. Dennis, Pointing Out The Obvious, Yet Again

    The poor state of TW’s infrastructure is the result of “decades of underinvestment” according to its recently departed Chief Executive.

    If it’s decades then it was going on before 2006, no? Perhaps the problem was a problem prior to the LBO, no?

  11. Worst water pollution event in modern UK history: Camelford, 1988
    Water system was privatised: 1989

    Waiting for the fascists to tell me that state-owned utilities are always better in 3…2…1…

  12. Dennis, Twatty Something or Other

    It needs to be noted that Feargal Sharkey was the worst part of The Undertones, and that band was absolute shit. I needed ear bleach the first time I heard Teenage Kicks.

  13. @ Dennis
    Thanks for that warning: I shall avoid any “nostalgic” renderings of “The Undertones” [I have to admit I was previously unaware of their existence – luckily (for me) they subjected younger people to their “music”.]
    I can add a little information about the current state of the unmelodious person. He is a member, indeed now Chairman, of Amwell Magna, a pretentious and expensive fishing club based in Great Amwell, that claims exclusive rights to fish there, about twenty miles upriver from the Thames itself in a small river that supplies Thames Water with much of the water drunk by its London customers. The prospect of sewage being dumped in the River Lea if the proposed “Harlow North” development ever gets built threatens the value of his membership. Naturally he wants the generality of taxpayers throughout the UK to pay for any work that has to be done by his regional Water Company to protect his local (relatively tiny) environment, despite his significant personal wealth (if you look for houses in great Amwell, you are well down the page before you find one priced at less than £1m, probably onto the next page for one less than $1million.
    Many fascists would feel insulted at the description of him as a fascist.

  14. Tim The Coder,

    “This is hardly a surprise. There have been several years of political attacks on the water companies, demanding they pay billions to clean up, funded by the tooth-fairy.

    So now the chickens are roosting, and the dim-wit politicians are realising that the tooth-fairy is the tax-payer. Good luck at the election, Boyo.”

    The deeper problem is that the voters don’t care. They want the shareholders wiped out and when water is then run by a bunch of useless bureaucrats and completely shit, they won’t then look in the mirror and ask if that was the right thing to do.

    It’s like the number of people who think that their £150 ticket to London is because of privatised rail companies, and when you literally explain how little of their ticket is going to private company profits (about £5 of that) they still aren’t all “fuck me, the bureaucrats are fucking useless”.

    Almost everyone believes in magic, whether it’s the National Lottery, or owning Tesla stonks, or going to yooni, or home owning. They want everything for nothing. They whine about being delayed on a £60 Ryanair flight, rather than just pinching themselves that they can fly to Prague for £60, which feels like a modern miracle to me.

  15. The amusing thing is that over 50% of Thames Water is owned by public sector pension schemes: the Ontario Municipal Retirement Fund has 32%, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme has 20%. Hopefully some teachers and social workers in Canada and some university professors (hello Spud!) in the UK will have poorer retirements as a result……………

    https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/118F4/production/_130242917_optimised-thames-water-owners-nc.png.webp

  16. Yay! Because of course, government control of business always results in debt-free, forward looking, profitable businesses. Why are all those specialists in running water companies working in the government instead of working for the water companies?

  17. Worst water pollution event in modern UK history: Camelford, 1988

    Worst water pollution event in Canadian history: Walkerton, Ontario, May 2000 – 27 severe illnesses, 7 deaths, 22 children with permanent kidney damage.

    The system was run by the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission – a government body – that promoted two untrained incompetents (who happened to be brothers) as manager and supervisor. Said brothers (and others) routinely falsified test results, or simply made them up, having not bothered to perform the required tests, or performed the tests improperly. Of course, the hysteria at the time was about the dangers of private (or privatized) water companies, since some of the provincial testing labs had been privatized some time before the incident.

  18. @ Tim the Coder, June 29, 2023 at 3:08 pm
    “This is hardly a surprise”

    Spot on
    Years of msm & political attacks on the water companies

    Sewage: bath, dish washer, shower, sink, washing machine, toilet: >99% water. Sewage so dangerouss rats, aligatorrs, fish, snakes, spiders… live in swers

    Sewage outflow is like period poverty, Gaza, Food banks – a go to for msm to emote. Emotion Distraction: titanic sub when Hunter Biden in court

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