How different would the world be if things operated on the basis of the common good?

Policy would be made according to what was good for the mass of people, not the benefits of a few.

Take the utilities. Thames Water is the first water company to run into trouble, with orbiting debt. 

It has been run for the benefit of shareholders, not customers. Billions have been paid out in dividends to shareholders, since privatisation in 1980s. At the same time it has been running up debts, which the tax payer may now be forced to pick up.

Meanwhile, the underinvested in infrastructure is creaking. Millions of gallons of water are lost every day due to leaks. Restrictions on water use once again loom for Londoners.

Then, there is the problem of sewage being dumped in the rivers. 

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Cllr Paul Donovan wants water taken back under government controlCllr Paul Donovan wants water taken back under government control (Image: Paul Donovan)

And these problems are common to the whole privatised water network. Southern Water were given a record £90 million fine for discharging sewage into the rivers and coastal waters. None of this is for the common good of the population.

As climate change bites deeper, the impact increases. Everyone needs to adapt and pull in the same direction. Water needs to be taken back under government control.

Rail is another area, where funds that should be invested in the infrastructure are channelled off in dividends to shareholders.

Ironically, the shareholders are often the state owned rail companies of other countries. So we effectively subsidise rail travel elsewhere.

It is partly due to the way the railway is run that the ticket prices in this country are the highest in Europe. At a time when we need to get people off the road and onto the trains, the policy skewed toward individual profit is stopping this from happening.

Utilities like water, rail and energy must be run for the common good of all of us, not the benefit of the few.

The climate emergency now upon us is having impacts across the board.

The common good must be the mantra, which means taking some of these services back into public ownership. Then, the country will be more ready to face oncoming threats that confront us.