24th October 2013

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/29/short-history-of-privatisation http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/fire-brigade-to-outsource-999-calls-7580719.html http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/27/search-and-rescue-coalition-obsessed-privatisation

My Devious Dave,

You do make me go all aquiver sometimes at the absolute confidence in which you transform our once fine nation, you almighty thing, you.

In Prime Ministers Questions you did it again, slapping down any argument about absolutely anything with the stock answer of “Labour wrecked our economy and busted our banks!” You say it so incredibly decisively now that not even Ed can bring himself to disagree with you. Although not so long ago it was common knowledge that it was actually private sector corporate gambling that brought down the global economy, you’ve managed to somehow blame it on public sector spending! It’s almost on a par with George Bush convincing a vast proportion of the US that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11! It’s like the rich kid stealing all the biscuits and then blaming the poor kid. But you’ve actually gone one better in that even the poor kid’s mates think he done it too and are making sure they keep their biscuits to themselves from now on.

I guess you’ve said it so many times that it just rolls off the tongue. “The mess left by Labour”. And such a fine tongue. It’s the same tongue that said only a couple of years ago “there will be no privatisation of the NHS.” Even at the time of you saying it many services were already being farmed out to profit-making companies, so it came as no big surprise that a senior exec at the biggest private health firm in the US was appointed the new head of NHS England. And if he takes on the new recommendations that have been put forward by Monitor, the NHS will soon: be reducing the number of beds and shifting more patients into communal care; stopping around 30 different types of operation; and be opening its doors to international health companies from nations like India or Mexico. What forward thinking! We could have hospitals run by Chiquito or have diagnostic services run by a call centre in Mumbai. Trying to get a hospital referral would be an experience akin to calling O2. In fact, one of the world’s biggest outsourcing companies, Capita, with call centres all over India has just won the contract to run 999 calls for the Fire Service. Who would’ve predicted that?!

“Hello! My house is burning down!”
“I am wery wery wery sorry to hear this, madam. Can I have your address and the country you are calling from, please?”

It’s just amazing what one man can do. Not only have you and your like sold off major parts of every public service (fire service, police, hospitals, schools, railways, utilities, postal, even search and rescue formerly run by the RAF, now sold to a company operating out of Texas); not only have these privatisations resulted in higher prices, lower standards, and gigantic profits (rail fares due to rise next year by up to 9.1%, energy prices sharply increasing by about 10% right now just before winter hits, and the cost of the stamp is about to rise too); but also this stuff that’s been sold off didn’t belong to you in the first place. It’s a masterful coup of the highest order. It’s like you’ve managed to lose all of grandma’s money on the stock exchange then gone into her house and sold anything you could get your hands on.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the BBC going. But that may not happen under your watch as by all accounts it looks like you’ve just bought them. Ooh, you’re such a smooth operator.

Katy Anchant


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