Nationalise the lot?

Well then, the private sector triumphs again eh?

National Express, the same people that have a near monopoly on buses in the West Midlands, have pulled out of running the East Coast Main Line, as they’re not prying enough money from passengers, and the passengers aren’t happy either. Ticket prices are high, the service is poor.

So then: a question. Do you favour privatisation? Does the private sector improve efficiency, or merely ensure someone gets very rich? Can the public sector manage things effectively? Should the following be publicly or privately owned?

* Healthcare

* Roads

* Public Transport

* Energy supply

* Anything else?

I’ll go on record: I think the private sector just creams off the profits and runs away when things get hard, and I think all of the above should be in public ownership with profits ploughed back in to keeping costs down and service good where the service has a potential to make profit. I think public transport should be run as an essential service, not as a way to make money. Maybe that’s a bit utopian.


10 Responses to “Nationalise the lot?”

  1. Countrie Bumpkin Says:

    Nothing to discuss! All of the above should be in a manifesto! We could save a vast fortune of tax if we took all of that back into public ownership.

    Don’t forget one of lifes basics though – water!

  2. BrownhillsBob Says:

    Works for me. One great loss during any privatisation is cohesiveness: train services that were formally linked now have no connection and no compulsion to co-operate, rendering the traffic management of places like New Street impossible. No more pool drivers, and so on.

    The same goes for power generation – now stations are owned by different entities there’s little co-operation during a crisis.

    All this and we have to pay all the shitty middlemen to make a profit, too.


  3. Lee HW Says:

    it is not just a debate about private ownerhsip or public ownership, but opertaing models. private owner ship tends to offer more effecient operations, as someone is try to cream of the top. Public ownership delivers (typically) better service, as it is about te customer, not the CEO/shareholders pockets.

    If you can balance effeceient operation effeciency, with capped profits and garenteed re-investment plans, you may have a winning soluiton, but no-one would sign up or invest. so public ownership may be the only way to deliver real customer focused products and services

  4. Stu Says:

    Bloody socialist!

    Oh, and I agree for the record.

  5. stymaster Says:

    @Bob:Regarding the cohesive services: how about buses? If you buy a National Express WM travelcard or ticket, it cannot be used on other buses, and some routes run mixed operators. You could buy a more expensive Centro pass of course, but half the time the bus drivers don’t know hat it is you want to buy. You also get the operators all competing for the profitable routes (with a Bus War ensuing, and crap service at the less profitable times.

    @Stu: Right on, comrade.

    @Andy: Yes, I forgot water.

    @Lee: There’s the problem.

  6. BrownhillsBob Says:

    Buses: excellent example. I really feel sorry for the poor buggers who buy TWM passes for a 2 bus route, to find at some point one bus service is dropped by TWM and picked up by another operator, thus necessitating a more expensive pass.

    I have personal experience of how mental privatisation can make otherwise sensible enterprises.



  7. dinkey Says:

    To add to your list stymaster, yes, don’t privatise the police or military, although even parts of these are happening by stealth.

    What really pisses me off about this was the way in which National Express have been able to just walk away from this deal and land the tax payer with the bill without any apparent penalties. I understand they are to retain the two other ‘profitable’ rail franchises they also run.

    And how the CEO has also gone to take up a new job in the Arab emirates. These corporate execs only seem to stay in jobs for a couple of years, mess up, and then walk off to another highly paid job. They’ve got no staying power, no sense of commitment to the companies or service users and remain disconnected. But, to be fair, it seems the whole thing has been a mess since the government awarded the franchise.

    I just don’t understand how successive UK governments seem to think that privatised rail models can make profits when it seems every other county in the world subsidises theirs – as indeed we increasingly seem to be subsidising private companies to do here.

  8. stymaster Says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Sometimes, as I read the other day, it looks like Dilbert is a documentary.

  9. stymaster Says:

    @Bob: It’s not even if a route gets taken over.

    Just as an example, we got nicely caught out here by a multi-operator route and the fact that TWM decided to stop running a service as it wasn’t making enough.

  10. Countrie Bumpkin Says:

    All of this is the left over from the Thatcher years – private greed over a sense of community. Amazing that Labour hasn’t done anything about it in 12 years of power – but then they wouldn’t would they as they have been lining their own pockets! And we have the proof now!