Privatisation by the back door

I don’t much like labels. Variety is the spice of life, and it comes in many flavo[u]rs. We are all individuals: yes, we can be grouped by where we live, what we believe, whether we like dogs, cats, budgies or kangaroos… and so on. Of course, it’s the ‘and so on’ that reveals the truth. Label me a socialist, if you must, because I happen to believe that it’s wrong to put profit before all else. Call me a loony lefty, if it helps you dismiss my argument. I still prefer cats over dogs, and cheese with my whine.

And I live in the UK… where, later on today (good grief, is that really the time?) possibly the most undemocratic ‘election’ in the history of this land of the mother of all parliaments is going down. Not satisfied with selling off British Telecom just as the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution began to take off (thank you so much, Mrs Thatcher, for handing that golden-egg-laying goose, on a plate, to private hands), not satisfied with its current, constant efforts in the face of public opinion to sell off the NHS, those lunatic privatisation-loving ‘conservatives’ have engineered a situation where even our policing could now be sold off into private hands; the long arm of the law could shortly be working for more faceless profit-seekers. Idiot ones, at that, too  — surely, ‘G4S’ must by now be a synonym for ‘insecurity’. And all by sleight of hand, since this election must be the least well-publicised and most poorly communicated one in history.

If you live in the UK, please check out where your local police commissioner candidates stand on the idea of privatising the police (courtesy of 38 degrees), and don’t forget to vote on Thursday 15 November 2012!

About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
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2 Responses to Privatisation by the back door

  1. Wendy T says:

    You postulated:
    ‘Not satisfied with selling off British Telecom just as the information and communication technology (ICT) revolution began to take off (thank you so much, Mrs Thatcher, for handing that golden-egg-laying goose, on a plate, to private hands)…’

    My attempt to sway your opinion 🙂
    Over the years you and I have enjoyed* many a disagreement over such things, but your comment above is one with which I find myself vehemently opposed.

    As stated fondly before, we are only a pregnancy apart in age which makes you are old enough to remember the state-owned GPO/BT, before it was put into private hands.

    My views of the GPO/BT were formed from observing my parents struggle to grow their small engineering business in the North Midlands and where I witnessed the challenges that the GPO/BT presented to business owners wishing to expand their businesses in the 1960s and 1970s.

    The complacent staff of the behemoth behaved then like they were doing their customers a huge favour when complying with requests for an amendment to a telephone service, supplied in their own good time with no thought to the convenience of the customer. The business owner was left feeling extremely dissatisfied with the treatment received. I witnessed my parent’s frustration with the length of time it took for changes to their service to be implemented. The frustration amplified because there was no alternative source to tap.

    There was no incentive, from top to bottom, for the GPO/BT to make things better. The bloated number of staff employed by the monopoly received remuneration and benefited from a secure pension, regardless of the service the customer received and that state of affairs left a lingering feeling of impotence within private business owners of Britain, which changed soon after privatisation. It was like a breath of fresh air.

    It was no longer illegal for occupants to add simple telephone extensions within their own property. The phone options vastly increased supplied with a much speedier service, the cost of phone calls dropped and complaints about BT’s service began to dwindle.

    So why did that happen? Can it be because shareholders had now to be satisfied and those same shareholders could dismiss the boss if they were unhappy with his performance? Naturally the boss wanted to keep his job so, in turn; he applied pressure on his staff to find ways of increasing customer satisfaction. The staff also wanted to keep their jobs so they worked harder to service their customers. This resulted in happy customers that gave glowing referrals which lead to more customers that caused growth of the business which created greater job security and higher wages.

    Now the behemoth is just one of several in a competitive service, where phone charges are increasingly lower. I can order high-speed broadband and it is fitted within a week and works perfectly. I can now phone the USA for 20p for 59 minutes. I can report a line fault and it is addressed within 24 hours. My mobile telephone contract now supplies unlimited calls and unlimited texts for the same price as two years ago because competition dictates it to be so.

    I say thank you to Mrs Thatcher and her government for allowing the telecommunications industry to be competitive and flexible, just before the ICT revolution took off. The alternative was unthinkable. I know because I was there; I witnessed the alternative and have benefited greatly from the change. I think you are completely off your trolley for thinking otherwise… in a nice way though. 🙂

    *I enjoyed them anyway…


    • pendantry says:

      While I accept that the old GPO had its issues, there are just as many — if not more — with the current situation. When a national resource is placed into private hands, democracy suffers as a direct result. Inequality is rising; the rich simply get richer off the back of the hard work of previous generations.

      As for your ‘phone charges are increasingly lower’ argument, that’s simply a result of booming technology innovations, which were on their way anyway. Anyone in the know at the time (and with the ear of the PM) could see the profit to be made — if BT were to be sold off.

      BT still has a monopoly on the infrastructure, which is abundantly clear to anyone who has the temerity to try an alternative. I’ve been there: in many ways, the BT behemoth is as incompetent as it ever was; only now, it cannot be held to account for its actions by those it serves, and its new masters simply rake in the cash — for doing absolutely nothing.


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