Yes, I was right. Again.

25 January, 2016 (20:50) | All articles | By: Stuart Fraser

I HAVE banged on about the wretched failure that is British Telecom for years, and as ever, I was right.

A cross-party group of MPs looked into the performance of this corrupt privatised monopoly. As you know, BT includes BT Openreach, which provides our telecoms network – and no matter who you choose to be your broadband supplier, they have to use the network supplied and maintained by this absurdly useless part of the BT behemoth.

The MPs’ report focused on the delivery of broadband which it said, just as I have said, is absolutely central to our economy. I believe it’s central to safety and well-being too.

This week, the group concluded, unequivocally: ‘BT Openreach makes vast profits and finds little reason to invest in the network, install new lines or even fix faults in a properly timely manner.’

‘Fix faults in a properly timely manner’: that goes to the heart of the appalling shambles that is BT Openreach’s excuse for public service, highlighted by the leaked recording of Openreach staff laughing out loud at the criticism and their poor helpless customers. We who’ve had to deal with this shockingly incompetent and unconcerned organisation know exactly how much contempt it and its staff have for us customers, especially those of us who live in the countryside. ‘What can I do to persuade you to fix my broadband?’, I once asked an Openreach engineer. ‘Move to a town,’ he said, thinking himself funny.

The report said: ‘Openreach has so far received £1.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies to connect harder-to-reach areas of the UK to superfast services, but has repeatedly failed to deliver.’

So it called for a ‘bold and comprehensive solution’, just as I always have: but we probably disagree on my idea, which is to take the provision and maintenance of a broadband network into state control. It’s as essential a part of our lives together now as light, heat and water and should be centrally organised for efficiency, not organised by the private sector for profit. Patently, clearly, obviously, incontrovertibly, irrefutably the private sector model has not worked here. Let’s be ‘bold and comprehensive’.

And once we’ve crossed the Rubicon and recognised that certain elements of our society are essential public services, not tradeable commodities, we can get on with re-nationalising power utilities, water supply and the rail network too. These areas are too important to fund the private yachts of the super-rich; they are there to provide the basics of life, simple human rights, to everybody.

To those who say nationalisation doesn’t work: well, neither does your model – in fact, it costs us a fortune. We have sub-standard delivery, maintenance that is a national joke and it’s cost us, the taxpayer, £1.7billion. £1.7 billion. How much worse can state ownership be? To which many will say something along the lines of  ‘it was a shambles in the 70s’, which has nothing to do with it. Don’t you think things change, you lot? Do you drive Austin Allegros? Black-and-white TVs? Flared trousers? Do you actually have computers? Mobile phones?

Or is economics the only field in which you live with your head buried 50 years in the past?

Only when you have a country dedicated to maintaining a level playing field of essential services to everybody, regardless of their residence or their ability to pay, do you have a proper society founded on justice, fairness and opportunity delivered equally to all.

No action will be taken, of course. BT shareholders are far too generous to the Tory Party for that.

In fact, we are now entering a familiar period of any Tory Government, the period in which the party says: ‘Right, we’ve had your votes. Now you can fuck off for the next couple of years until we throw you a couple of tax cuts before the next election. Stand aside while we really set about our work.’

That work is about enriching chums, especially donors, abusing those in need for their weakness, and pursuing dogma-driven policies in the face of all reason, such as the academisation that’s introducing the private sector into education.

Osborne has already ended an enquiry into the culture of banking; we are told that the foul disgustingness that is the lying liar Iain Duncan Smith is set to make more cuts to the most vulnerable in our country, the disabled, rather than being taken to court and charged for the cruelties he’s already perpetrated; Jeremy *unt is taking on junior doctors as the most crucial problem facing the Health Service, because taking on the drug bills paid to private corporations or the failing contracts awarded to firms run by donors to the Conservative Party or the Private Finance Initiatives shackling trusts with unmanageable debt or the collapse in social care caused by austerity cuts to local authorities would mean tackling the riches being delivered by his chums to the filth who paid for this government.

Dear God, even The Sun is capable of being disgusted at the corruption and greed of the wretches. It reported today:

‘Google has agreed to pay £130million in taxes owed since 2005, a move heralded by Chancellor George Osborne as a “really positive step”.

‘But the sum was branded “derisory” as experts revealed the US firm had got away with paying a tax rate of just 2.77 per cent.

‘Companies normally pay corporation tax at 20 per cent.

‘Even after the deal Google is said to have paid just £200million in tax in the past decade, on estimated UK profits of £7.2billion.

‘Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft are among those thought to be trying to strike similar deals.’

I bet they are. I bet George Osborne is on all fours in front of them right now.

These are the dark days that come when Tories are empowered: remember them when the election comes, if you’re able.

A massive enquiry has taken place into the polling preceding the ‘victory’ that enabled a party voted for by just over 20% of this country to inflict its selfish ideology upon the rest of us. I do wish they hadn’t bothered. The opinion polls really don’t matter.

The psephology is very clear: the country is being held to ransom by a minority because of its corrupt electoral system: first past the post is what has delivered this injustice, enabling 100% of the jackpot to be delivered to 20% of the votes. The old, the well-off, the rural: these are the areas which have power beyond any reason.

We are told that Tim Farron of the Liberal Democrats and members of the Labour Party are holding talks about a progressive alliance that would help parties of the left and centre work together to keep the Tories’ grasping claws out of the nation’s tills for ever. Bring it on. Bring it on!

Labour should have got this sorted years ago: nothing, none of their pathetic posturing or internal squabbling, nothing is as important as stopping the Tories from stealing national assets, enriching the few at the cost of the many, driving the sick, elderly and disabled even to their graves. Nothing.

And to those who believe those of us on the far left should never have the reigns of power either – proportional representation would ensure that too. It would require balance and cooperation. It would remove the extremists from power forever – unless, of course, we ever become like Israel, a country of extremists. And it would actually give me a voice in Parliament for the first time in my life. How is it democratic that me and the hundreds of thousands like me have never been able to vote for our beliefs?

Right. You see. You see? You see what happens when somebody mentions British Telecom. 1,354 words later and I’m still fuming. Fuming. Don’t, for God’s sake don’t anybody mention That Fucking Woman.


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