Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Acceptable in the '80s

If nothing else the last 20 years should have busted the ideological fallacy that privatising public services is always a good thing. Competition means lower prices for consumers? Not if you're a gas and electricty user or need to take the train, it doesn't. The private sector is more skilled than the state? Tell that to the victims of Railtrack. Services plummet, prices soar, but the taxpayer subsidy continues unabated, hoovering public money into private pockets.

Royal Mail is the biggest but not the only current battlefield. Locally, see Shirley Ford on the de-facto privatisation of the Metro, demanded by the government as a condition of new investment (as if Metronet simply never happened). Peter Mandelson is said to be "beyond angry" at the threat of strike action. In truth, it's those of us who need a reliable post service and affordable public transport that should be incandescent with rage.

2 comments:

Myeral said...

Speaking from the 'inside' I can definitely add my agreement to what you are saying.

The mantra of 'private companies do it better' is endlessly pushed, regardless of the reality on the ground. It's as if everyone's fallen victim to some sort of mass hypnotism (induced by piles of cold hard cash, needless to say) and simply repeats bullshit until it becomes the accepted norm.

If privatisation is such a great idea, why don't they introduce it to the banking sector?

shirleyford said...

Thanks for drawing attention to our ongoing campaign for a u-turn on privatising our Metro. The government must simply withdraw its condition that the public investment the 28 year old Metro needs depends on granting a licence for a private company to make up to 15% profit from running the trains for the next 9 years.

Our Metro was not broke, it did not need fixing. In fact it has received awards for its efficiency - far better than any of the private rail companies in the UK. It is crazy that they are breaking up the system into tracks and trains run separately. Just can't credit that the fiasco of Tory rail privatisation on exactly those lines is being repeated! Let alone the Metronet disaster which could happen with this too...

We'll be letting Lord Mandelson know what we think tomorrow night at his lecture hosted by our MP David Miliband. It's at Harton Technology College, protest from 6.30pm till the lecture starts at 7pm.