Letter: Labour's plans for privatisation

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a Labour Party supporter and member of 58 years' standing - canvassing, filling envelopes, taking minutes at ward meetings - I was sick at heart to hear Tony Blair and other Labour leaders publicly sponsoring the policy of privatisation and most immediately the idea of privatising the air traffic controllers (election 97; "Privatisation is exposed as Labour's Achilles' heel", 10 April).

When the Tory government hit on the idea of selling publicly owned pounds 10 notes for pounds 5 to those who could lay their hands on enough capital, the justification given was that it would make for more efficient management of those assets; no one in government was honest enough to admit that North Sea oil revenues were being dissipated at an alarming rate and nor, for the most part, did the press ever make this point. In other words, the need to fill the Treasury coffers was the motivating factor.

Mr Blair has explained why he feels he is left with no alternative to taking over the Tories plan to fill a spending gap by selling off public assets, but he must know that private enterprise makes financial successes of public enterprises by sacking workers and reducing the rights and working conditions enjoyed by those who are left.

JOHN PALMLEY

Westbury,

Wiltshire

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