Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Archive for the tag “privatisation”

Privatising Welfare

Part of the present Government’s philosophy is that Government should be small. If something does not need to be done; it should not be done. If it does need to be done; it does not necessarily need to be done by the Government.

Hence “Big Society” – the idea that volunteers or the voluntary sector can take over from government – particularly in the areas of health care, social care and education.

The problem is – what happens if a voluntary provider of these services fails? Read more…

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Our National Railways

Some prospective Labour parliamentary candidates have written to the Observer calling for the Railways to be re-nationalised:

Just as Labour has pledged to freeze energy bills and reset the market to secure a better deal for customers, so it will be necessary to reform the rail industry to secure a better deal for passengers.
The Observer, Saturday 3 May 2014: Letters (3rd letter down)

I think they are advocating the right policy, but clouding the issue by making the major reason securing “a better deal for passengers”. Read more…

UK A&E or US ER?

I was half-listening late last night (24 September 2013) to the BBC rebroadcast of “ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer” to pickup American stories. I caught this story halfway through and had to look it up on the web to confirm that I had heard right.

Suzanna spent several hours in the emergency room in the summer of 2012 after troubling symptoms that she would later find out were related to cervical cancer. At the time, she was suffering pain and bleeding.

While the ER staff did not diagnose Suzanna’s condition at the time, the hospital did send her an $8,000 bill for tests and medication.

… [money-saving tips]

In Suzanna and Phillip’s case, using these tips turned a nearly $8,000 bill into a $1,151.14 bill.
ABC News Sep 25, 2013 ‘Real Money’: How to Save on Emergency Room Bills

The thrust of the story was how you could reduce an Emergency Room bill to a mere $1,151.14! Read more…

Another Tory Privatisation

So the Tories are flogging off the Royal Mail. Floating it on the stock exchange with 10% for the workers and a chance for us “Sids” to buy in – as long as we buy more that 750 quids worth (BBC News Website 12 September 2013 Royal Mail privatisation ‘in the coming weeks’) Have they learnt nothing? Read more…

Baroness Thatcher: There was no alternative

The death of Baroness Thatcher (Prime Minister 1979-1990) has been announced today (8 April 2013).  It will inevitably provoke much discussion and debate.

Those of us who did not personally know her need to remember that she was a wife and mother before she was an MP.  Those who privately grieve her passing will have to do so in the midst of a media storm.

The media storm is going over the top.  I notice that the BBC News Broadcasters have changed into “full mourning” garb (black suits, black ties), and there is talk of her having a funeral “on a par with that of the Queen Mother” (BBC One O’clock News 8 April 2013).  (“Ceremonial with full military honours” – ITN News 1:30 8 April 2013.) This coverage is to be regretted as it could provoke an unseemly backlash from those who struggle to mourn the politician whilst knowing they should permit the mourning of the person.  I think this says as much about the media as the person. Read more…

Public Service / Private Wealth Creation

The new government seems to believe that by cutting back on public services it can improve the wealth of the country.  I’m not convinced.  If the services are required they will be privately purchased by the economically able and distressingly missed by the economically less-able.  This will not necessarily improve the economy.

Two questions need to be addressed:

  • Public or Private: what is the difference?
  • Wealth consuming activities or Wealth creating activities?

I think the solution to the economy’s problems lie in the second question. But let’s kick the first into touch. Read more…

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