The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… The “Privatisation” (Properly; Commercialisation) Of Britain

…was the “brainchild” of the Thatcher administration, in the early Eighties – and it has WRECKED Britain.

As a reaction to the excesses of the trade unions in the Seventies, most people were all FOR it. Get private businessmen in, to sort out the UK’s moribund nationalised industries.

They ignored the naysayers, who warned that putting the nation’s transport, utilities, health, education and other public services into commercial hands would result in higher prices and reduced facilities.

And so the selling-off of Britain’s “family silver” began. Right from the start, it became obvious the naysayers had been RIGHT.

Trains began crashing – regularly. And ticket prices went through the roof. Every year, there were hose-pipe bans – while baths, toilets and washing machine became small and water-mean.

Hospitals began charging for everything and actual medics became an endangered species. Schools ran out of books… you get the picture.

Oh, there were a couple of success stories. At first, the investment in the telephone system meant street-phones WORKED – and Telecom dragged the domestic communications market out of the Thirties. But the PRICE…

And, fearing the power of the major television services (particularly the BBC – seen as being left-wing) Thatcher introduced a bill to force the companies to air independently-made programmes. This actually introduced a DIVERSITY into programming – a success story that continues today..

But once the “prime” businesses had been drained (along with the North Sea Oil revenues) Thatcher began selling off everything the government HAD – including facilities that should NEVER have fallen into commercial hands.

Like the nuclear power industry. But when the privatised version of THAT went tits-up (like locals giving birth to two-headed babies) they came up with a SOLUTION. Windscale effectively changed its name to Sellafield.

And the prison service. When prisoners began escaping from Group 4, THEY changed their name too. In fact to date, several times.

My favourite Group 4 (currently G4S) stories are…

At Birmingham – a ghastly Victorian prison – they LOST THE KEYS, resulting in all the prisoners being trapped in their cells for an entire day (perhaps they fed them hot-dog sausages through the spy-holes in the doors).

Cost of new locks and keys: over a quarter of a million quid.

Another prisoner was given leave for a weekend and went off on a two-week holiday to Minorca.

But my favourite G4S story HAS to be the one-legged prisoner who wrapped his false leg in a bandage – then when they fitted it with a monitoring device (à la “White Collar”) he simply removed the leg and hopped off to commit more crimes.

Changing names may initially convert the infamous and notorious into the innocuous – but with the gutter-press (who are happy to deflect attention from THEIR misdeeds) snapping at the heels of these clown companies, that ploy does not last for long.

But cock-ups aside, putting public services in the hands of people whose sworn duty (and in some cases, legal obligation) is to MAKE MONEY – is GUARANTEED to end badly.

Having been around for sixty years now, this writer has seen it all and he TIRES of watching the INEVITABLE occur in Britain, with monotonous regularity.

He recalls a time when walking near a street-corner, he watched two cars approach a crossroads. He noted that the driver of the vehicle in the minor road was not slowing – thus had obviously not seen the “give way” line that was buried in the major road’s camber.

Too far from either car to wave an alert, he just watched them plough into each other.

That is me and Britain, today.

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13 Responses to “Damien on… The “Privatisation” (Properly; Commercialisation) Of Britain”

  1. This is SO useful (having the issue well defined like this) and SO comforting (knowing that I am not alone). It actually makes you think that UK deserves what it gets, and that things will get worse and worse. But that may be easy for a 1940 vintage bod (me) to say.

  2. Trouble for me is: in ’98, when the Thai Baht crashed, it went from around 35 to almost 100 against the Pound.

    By the time I migrated here in ’02, it had recovered to around 65.

    But over the next few years it slowly slid down to 72 – I was RICH, then!

    However, then the WESTERN crash happened (’08) and the Baht rose to 49 – and throughout all sorts of high-jinks, it STAYED there.

    And now that Britain has lost its “AAA” rating, it has risen to 45. OUCH!

    This may sound BACKWARDS – rising DOWN and dropping UP – but tragically, MY money is in POUNDS!

  3. Nothing proves my mathematical illiteracy more than the fact that I simply not get, understand, twig, suss or dig what you are saying here. A maths brained bod instinctively has a picture springing into position in his/her grey matter as to… half a mo… if you get 100 pounds a week pension and the Baht is 50 per quid, you go to the swap shop and get 5000 Baht to spend. Even I can remember that you add two zeros to the end to multiply by a hundred. Then, if some nasty entity somewhere whimsically says, OK, it’s…

    No, it slipped away. Nasty moment there. I thought I had got it and was going to have to do some work, figuring out the numbers. I will retire to my mental couch (I am already ON my physical, interior-sprung couch) and sing a few verses of On Ilkley Moor Without A Hat. If I ever forget those verses, sung with relish when I was a young oik and remembered with embarrassment to this day, I will know I am finally past it.

    …What Vincent wants is more Baht… How does he get them? No. It aint there. Hold on. Maybe it IS there… It is the WAY you SAY it. You are looking at the rise’n’fall from the point of view of a person who wants more quid for his Baht. Forget THEM. But I do not want to know about “the Baht rising or falling” I want to know about “how many Baht can I get for my quid”

    I just have to put my forgotten mug of tea in the microwave…

  4. Oh yes, it IS complicated. Basically, my money (what’s LEFT of it, following the high-jinks of Wall Street’s robber barons) is in QUIDS. And with the collapse of the Western economy, the amount of Bahts I get for my quids has slowly gone down the dumper. Therefore, since I live HERE, I have to CHANGE my quids for Bahts – which means my SPENDING POWER HERE has currently been reduced by nearly HALF. AND the “nest-egg” it comes from has ALSO been reduced, thanks to the afore-mentioned Wall Street bastards. Thus my impending (in four and a half years) state pension is now gonna be essential to my SURVIVAL – rather than just a nice little bonus.

    And state pensions are ANOTHER worry: I am JUST the right age that I will qualify for the upcoming “universal flat rate” – with which I will be one of the few that’ll be BETTER OFF. Hooray?

    Well, maybe – except if I’m classed as an ex-pat (even though in Thailand, I am merely classed as STAYING here, not LIVING here) they may manage to EXEMPT me from that deal and give me what was the current pension when I CAME here – AND without annual hikes (a MAJORLY UNFAIR and IRRATIONAL con that MANY ex-pats, World-wide, are angry about).

    So what with HMG, those robber barons AND the Thai government fiddling the Thai Central Bank’s figures, your boy is being squeezed from all sides. The joke is, over the last decade, I have reduced my outgoings by over a third – but am STILL MUCH POORER than I was ten years ago. What I LIVE on out here wouldn’t keep me in FAGS back in Blighty…

  5. Blimey! This is not nice. Would Australia or NZ be better for you? To what extent does the fact that your library is on the interweb now, mean that (with no need for vinyl and juke box) you do not need to move a lot of stuff with you. Are places cheap to rent I wonder?

    Listen to me, pushing my nose into your business!

    As you are well aware, you would NOT be happy here in UK!

    I thought up an ironic and amusing remark on the bus. Passengers were saying how REALLY COLD it was again. I decided not to use my remark on the bus driver as I got off. He had enough trouble. Here it is:

    “It is a good thing we’ve got global warming, mate. Normally it would be really cold at this time of year.”

    (It was cold enough to make Nelson magically slide down off his Column and head for the Med.)

    My difficulty was in comprehending the word “AGAINST” as you used it. I experience the same dfficulty here when I look in the window of the bank or travel agency. Their exchange rates are in two columns and I think that each column is trying to say:

    ONE OF THIS CURRENCY HERE IS WORTH THIS MANY OF THAT OVER THERE.

    But I have never dared to ask.

    You want more Baht for your quid. If you had simply said

    I WAS GETTING 100 BAHT FOR MY QUID, THEN 65, THEN 72, THEN 49, AND NOW 45…

    My unsophisticated mind would have understood.

    Bloody Hell. This flitting to warmer climes is not all roses. I’m damn sorry to hear of your predicament…

    Perhaps this sequence of Comments twixt me and thee is not very useful and needs editing or even deleting?

  6. Nah, that’s okay. Apologies for overcomplicating things.

    You’re right – it’d’ve helped a lot if, under my saga, I had said: in other words “I WAS GETTING 100 BAHT FOR MY QUID, THEN 65, THEN 72, THEN 49, AND NOW 45…” – I DO sometimes over-explain things. I have to WATCH that – particularly during one of my occasional forays into fiction (mind you, Dennis Wheatley used to do the same thing in HIS early days – so I s’pose I’m in good company).

    Re moving again – NO WAY!!! It nearly KILLED me moving the FIRST time – it took me three months of work in England, followed by SIX when I got here. AND I was TEN YEARS YOUNGER, then. I’d sooner KILL myself than strap on another aeroplane.

    In any case, I’m not too sure anywhere else would be better, financially, these days. Plus, with my luck, I’d open a paper on the plane – and the headline would read, “Thai Baht Crashes Again”. HAH!!

  7. I have only just caught up with your latest Comment above. My mate Jay was storing his mass of post-divorce stuff in his sibling’s attic whist he was in tropical Africa setting up a radio station (and teaching both technical running and on-mic presentation skills).

    When he came back (whilst his son did uni and got a degree in high-skill movie making on the cyber-age technical side) Jay was required to take his stuff back and it reposed in his downstairs hallway. Now it is mostly made into digital files (with clunky media thrown away) and he can flit (emigrate to) wherever he wants without worry.

    I was dubious about flying on my first, 1968, trip to Edmonton via Toronto, But in subsequent trips, 1979 Vancouver, 1980 Nairobi, 2008 LA, 2012 LA, and 2013 LA, I have forced myself to accept that it is almost as unlikely that we will prang as it is that I will win the Euro-Millions or (UK) National Lottery.

    PLUS: It will not hurt until actual contact with the ground, or sea. Plus: dying in bed, let alone a road crash, can be just as bad. So I enjoy every minute of the flight looking forward to the vacation. Besides, you don’t catch me flying in Northern Hemisphere Winter.

  8. PS: No, it is not that you over-explained things. It is just that I have zero Maths instinct. “X against Y” does not convey the reality, as you have now understood. Your new statement conveys the situation to my non-Maths mind perfectly. Cheers!

  9. With a two-year LAG, I hadda read ALL of the above to make sense of your latest!

  10. OK. By the way, I see that (against all expectations) more and more people are accepting that humans do NOT cause climate variation, and that Prohibition of (ALL) narcotics must be Repealed in order to end the catastrophic social breakdown in the West.

  11. I’m all for the latter; but there always has to be an ANGLE for politicians, before the bastards do ANYTHING – and only when it becomes expedient (and “in the fullness of time”) will they (pretend to) see sense.

    But as for the former – the simple truth is; I don’t know. I can only say that Global Warming (and Darkening) is believed by most of the scientific community – and when all planes were grounded after 9/11, the skies MEASURABLY CHANGED.

    Then again, what do I know? I thought Plato was a Greek washing-up liquid…

  12. I understand that the vapour we see after jets is the water already in the air upon which the dust particles in the jet exhaust accrues or assembles or affixes and becomes visible. In dry air the vapour quickly disperses.

    In my blog Sidebar U-Tubes are a number of links in which the scientists who are sane point out the facts of climate variation (over the life and history of Earth, both ancient and recent) and expose the AGW freakoes for the fame-and-money grabbers that they are.

  13. P.S. I do not see the connection twixt the name …just got it! Ha-ha! I was thinking Sqezy. Nothing was happening. I took the first one of those my mother ever got to school. I showed it to the leader, Oscar Ross and suggested it would make a good water pistol (in Break, behind the gym) but he rushed off and filled it (easy to do because the nozzle snaps off and on OK) immediately. Lot of noise. You guess the rest. But I learned again not to trust other boys to be sensible. They need to have (1) waited until an appropriate time and place and (2) refrained from making girlish squeals whilst being squirted with nice clean water… (within two rooms of the head’s office and next door to the prefects’ room). Jeez! Doncha hate school!


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