To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.
Thus ran the phrase formerly known as Clause IV of the constitution of the Labour Party. That was what dragged us into public ownership of huge chunks of British industry - not always for the better.
Thatcher was renowned for privatising anything that wasn't nailed down - and some things that were - and nobody ever mistook the Tories as being in favour of nationalising industry.
Until now. A comrade of mine - (hat tip to Nathan) - points out that Cllr Nigel Dawkins, who claims to be the Conservative candidate for Selly Oak, has written a massive letter to the Birmingham Post, which cheerfully handed over the letters page to Nige and his Tory mate, Andrew Mitchell.
Nigel's peroration concludes with this dramatic climax
'If this Government had the slightest idea how to support manufacturing in general or the car industry in particular then they should have bought Jaguar Land Rover last Match (sic) from Ford instead of letting it go to TATA. The price tag then was £500 million – that's about £33K for each of its employees. That would have been a bargain. They could have then have put perhaps £3 billion into a development fund to built up the company and then floated it off ten years later ensuring that it remained British. It's not too late. Forget about European rules on state aid, the Germans and the French have. This Government should seek to take a large stake in Jaguar Land Rover, perhaps even purchasing it and be prepared to make the necessary investment to build up the range of models.
Unlike anyone else in the Tory party, Nigel's proposing that the government buys Jaguar Land Rover. I want to know where he got his £500 million price tag for JLR. Ford sold Aston Martin for around £450 million, but all the figures bandied around for the deal were of the order of £1.15 billion. Nigel doesn't explain if he would have expected continued Ford support for dealership financing arrangements or if he thinks that Ford would have paid £600 million into the pension fund if HMG had bought the company instead. Also, I can't find any suggestion from any political party that JLR was ripe for nationalisation.
I'm sure that George Osborne/Ken Clarke will be only too glad to see Nigel flying the red flag for Jaguar/Land Rover. Truly, this will be the people's car.
Or maybe he hasn't quite thought this thing through.