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.