Should major engineering-related industries in the UK be taken into public ownership?
The Labour Party’s manifesto for the upcoming general election includes pledges to take several industries into public ownership; which would represent the largest nationalisation programme since the 1970s. Although in past decades many industries, including car manufacturers, were state-owned, the current manifesto confines itself to service industries and utilities. Jeremy Corbyn’s party proposes nationalising the Royal Mail, rail-operating companies, energy supply networks and water and sewerage companies, plus the eye-catching pledge of creating a state-owned broadband Internet supplier with free full-fibre coverage for all by 2030 by nationalising BT Open Reach.
All of these have something in common: a very large contribution by engineering and engineers. Vast numbers of engineers would effectively become civil servants, and a large part of the current recruitment shortfall would become a problem for the government rather than private industry. In the past, we have found that there is a degree of support among The Engineer readers for nationalisation of industries such as nuclear and rail, but we would like to know about opinions on these more ambitious plans.
Our options allow readers to register their support for the nationalisation programme, their opposition to all nationalisations, their support for some nationalisations (we would be interested to hear which ones are supported and which opposed), and an option for supporting the principle of nationalisation but doubting whether it would be practical or possible (again, we would welcome explanation of your doubts; some that have already been raised include the cost of the programme and the past troubles of nationalised industries in relation to management and trade unions). We would remind readers to familiarise themselves with our guidelines for content of comments, and remind all contributors that comments will be moderated for concision, grammar and sense. We will delete comments which are not confined to the subject of nationalisations and stray into other political arguments. We will publish the results of this poll on 10th December.