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Thread: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

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    Moderator chuckskull's Avatar
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    "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    A quote there from the former health minister Lord Owen. In response to the UK's blood plasma supplier being sold to Bain Capital.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...l-8718029.html

    The Government was tonight accused of gambling with the UK’s blood supply by selling the state-owned NHS plasma supplier to a US private equity firm.

    The Department of Health overlooked several healthcare or pharmaceutical firms and at least one blood plasma specialist before choosing to sell an 80 per cent stake in Plasma Resources UK to Bain Capital, the company co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a £230m deal. The Government will retain a 20 per stake and a share of potential future profits.
    I think that is a very good question and one I've been asking myself more and more.

    We're now privatising ever larger parts of the of NHS, ambulance service, search and rescue(sea kings), police forces, Forensic Science Service, education, defence. I'm no raving socialist, but nowadays we're even privatising things that would make even Thatcher roll in her grave.

    There are certain things that should just never be done for profit. Seriously, forensics? Justice for profit. That's morally abhorrent and utterly disgusting to me and why did we have to do this? Because it was costing us £2m a year. That's nothing, that's a bargain, we have rounding errors bigger than that and it's the same story over and over. The plasma company £200m, be swallowed up by the deficit in a weekend by my math. Is that really worth it? Of course we're desparate enough to sell these things, but we're flush enough for a new round of tax cuts for our most profitable industries and a pay rise for MP's.

    Not to mention of course, that for all the talk of the free market and the power of capitalism, something I agree with generally, many of these newly privatised companies will not enter the free market not really, they will be tax payer supported monopolies, because they are crucial to the nation they are instantly to big to fail thus the tax payer via government will be their guarantor indefinitely while someone else is pocketing the profit. All the risk none or at best a minority of the reward.

    The thing that really gets me is no-one really seems to care or even grasp the scale of what's happening. I'm not against all privatisation it can be of benefit to the nation when done well and in certain industries, but we have now run out if things I'm conformable with selling and I can't help be wonder where we'd be budget wise if we didn't start throwing things, not just any old things, but profitable things over board every time it got choppy.

    Just for reference what we've(the taxpayer) sold since the 70's, far from complete too;

    1970s

    British Petroleum (1977, 1979, 1981, 1987)
    International Computers Limited (1979)
    Lunn Poly (1971)
    Rolls-Royce Motors (1973)
    State Management Scheme (1973)
    Thomas Cook (1972)

    1980s

    Amersham International (1982)
    Associated British Ports (1983, 1984)
    British Aerospace (1981, 1985)
    British Airports Authority (1987)
    British Airways (1987)
    British Airways Helicopters (1986)
    British Gas (1986)
    British Leyland
    Alvis (1981)
    Coventry Climax (1982)
    Danish Automobile Building (1987)
    Istel (1987)
    Jaguar (1984)
    Leyland Bus (1987)
    Leyland Tractors (1982)
    Leyland Trucks (1987)
    Rover Group (1988)
    Unipart (1987)
    British Rail Engineering Limited (1989)
    British Shipbuilders (1985 - 1989, shipbuilder companies sold individually)
    British Steel (1988)
    British Sugar (1981)
    British Telecom (1984, 1991, 1993)
    British Transport Hotels (1983)
    Britoil (1982, 1985)
    Cable and Wireless (1981, 1983, 1985)
    Council Houses (1980–present, over two million sold to their tenants) - see main article Right to buy scheme
    Enterprise Oil (1984)
    Fairey (1980)
    Ferranti (1980)
    Inmos (1984)
    Municipal Bus Companies (1988–present, bus companies sold individually) - see main article Bus deregulation in Great Britain
    National Bus Company (1986 - 1988, bus companies sold individually)
    National Express (1988)
    National Freight Corporation (1982)
    Passenger Transport Executive Bus Companies (1988 - 1994, bus companies sold individually)
    Rolls-Royce (1987)
    Royal Ordnance (1987)
    Sealink (1984)
    Trustee Savings Bank (1985)
    Water Companies - see main article Water privatisation in England and Wales
    Anglian Water (1989)
    Northumbrian Water (1989)
    North West Water (1989)
    Severn Trent (1989)
    Southern Water (1989)
    South West Water (1989)
    Thames Water (1989)
    Welsh Water (1989)
    Wessex Water (1989)
    Yorkshire Water (1989)

    1990s

    3G spectrum (1999)
    AEA Technology (1996)
    Agricultural Development and Advisory Service (1997)
    Belfast International Airport (1994)
    Birmingham Airport (1993 - 51%)
    Bournemouth Airport (1995)
    Bristol Airport (1997, 2001)
    British Coal (1994)
    British Energy (1996)
    British Rail - see main article Privatisation of British Rail
    3 Rolling Stock Companies
    Angel Trains (1996)
    Eversholt Leasing (1996)
    Porterbrook (1996)
    6 Design Office Units (1995 - 1997, sold individually)
    6 Freight Operating Companies
    Freightliner (1995)
    Loadhaul (1996)
    Mainline Freight (1996)
    Rail Express Systems (1996)
    Railfreight Distribution (1997)
    Transrail Freight (1996)
    6 Track Renewal Units (1995 - 1997, sold individually)
    7 Infrastructure Maintenance Units (1995 - 1997, sold individually)
    25 Train Operating Companies (1996, operations contracted out as franchises)
    British Rail Research (1996)
    British Rail Telecommunications (1995)
    European Passenger Services (1996)
    Railtrack (1996), (18 October 2002 went into voluntary liquidation) now in public ownership as Network Rail
    Red Star Parcels (1995)
    Union Railways (1996)
    British Technology Group (1992)
    Building Research Establishment (1997)
    Cardiff Airport (1995)
    Central Electricity Generating Board
    National Grid (1990)
    National Power (1991, 1995)
    Powergen (1991, 1995)
    Chessington Computer Centre (1996)
    Department for National Savings (1999)
    East Midlands Airport (1993)
    Girobank (1990)
    Humberside Airport (1999 - 82%)
    Kingston Communications (1999, 2007)
    Laboratory of the Government Chemist (1996)
    Liverpool Airport (1990, 2001)
    London Buses (1994, bus companies sold individually) - see main article Privatisation of London bus services
    London Luton Airport (1997)
    London Southend Airport (1993)
    National Engineering Laboratory (1995)
    National Transcommunications Limited (1990)
    Natural Resources Institute (1996)
    Northern Ireland Electricity (1993)
    Property Services Agency (1994)
    Regional Electricity Companies
    Eastern Electricity (1990)
    East Midlands Electricity (1990)
    London Electricity (1990)
    MANWEB (1990)
    Midlands Electricity (1990)
    Northern Electric (1990)
    NORWEB (1990)
    SEEBOARD (1990)
    Southern Electric (1990)
    SWALEC (1990)
    SWEB Energy (1990)
    Yorkshire Electricity (1990)
    Scottish Bus Group (1991, bus companies sold individually)
    Scottish Hydro-Electric (1991)
    Scottish Power (1991)
    Severn Bridge (1992)
    Student loans portfolios (1998, 1999)
    The Stationery Office (1996)
    Transport Research Laboratory (1996)
    Trust Ports (1992–1997, ports sold individually)

    2000s

    Actis (2004, 2012)
    BBC Technology (2004)
    British Nuclear Fuels Limited
    AWE Management Limited (2008)
    Directory Enquiries (2003)
    BNG America (2007)
    BNG Project Services (2008)
    Reactor Sites Management Company (2007)
    Westinghouse Electric Company (2006)
    East Thames Buses (2009)
    Leeds Bradford International Airport (2007)
    National Air Traffic Services (2001 - 51%)
    Newcastle Airport (2001 - 49%)
    Partnerships UK (2000, 2011)
    Qinetiq (2002, 2006, 2008)
    Teesside International Airport (2003 - 75%)
    UKAEA Limited (2009)

    2010s

    4G spectrum (2013)
    Fire Service College (2013)
    High Speed 1 (2010)
    Manchester Airports Group (2013 - 35%)
    Northern Rock (2012)
    The Tote (2011)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...United_Kingdom

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    It's worth pointing out that it's not just a "this coalition" thing - that list includes a fair few things sold by Labour.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    It's worth pointing out that it's not just a "this coalition" thing - that list includes a fair few things sold by Labour.
    Oh certainly, that quote just inspired the thread. They've all been at it for years to cover their own incompetence at best, and worst deliberate profiteering by colluding with buyers. For example; Tom Winsor, but the bloke who independently[sic] recommended for police privatisation just happens to work for the law firm that represents the businesses these would be sold off to G4S, but only when he's not being independent so it's not a conflict of interest and we have nothing worry about. That wasn't sarcasm that was his actual defence and it was accepted by everyone with any power to change it and quickly forgotten.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    I haven't given this much thought, but a few things spring to mind. Firstly, that the pay rise for MPs was determined by an independent body, and actually MPs want to reject it as too generous, so it only weakens your argument to suggest privatisation has that as a reason. Secondly while I agree that in an ideal world some things shouldn't be done for profit, we just plain suck at it. We also suck at doing things for profit sometimes, but we're marginally less bad at it. It's like the quote about democracy being bad, but we've not found anything else that works better - same with capitalism.

    If we could somehow cure/educate people, or enough people, or greed/dodgy ethics/whatever to such an extent that we didn't act the way we did then privatisation wouldn't be the success it has been. And by success I mean the same kind of success democracy is.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    An independent panel of people with close long term relationships to the government including former MP's, government employees and people who serve(d) on parliamentary select committees, these peoples careers are directly affected by their relationships to those in the halls of power. I can call myself King of England doesn't mean it has any bearing on reality.

    http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk...executive.aspx That's your independent body and of course it was set up in a way that the payrise can't be rejected by the same people who will turn around and say oh no we can't help it, when they inevitably take the money.

    The we're bad at capitalism argument doesn't fly, everyone's seen how it's done, slash budget, which in turn slashes performance then claim the only way to get good performance it to sell it off. Many nationalised industries worldwide turn huge profits. it's not something government's are inherently incapable of. That's just how the promote the idea to the public in this country.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Quote Originally Posted by chuckskull View Post
    An independent panel of people with close long term relationships to the government including former MP's, government employees and people who serve(d) on parliamentary select committees, these peoples careers are directly affected by their relationships to those in the halls of power. I can call myself King of England doesn't mean it has any bearing on reality.

    http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk...executive.aspx That's your independent body and of course it was set up in a way that the payrise can't be rejected by the same people who will turn around and say oh no we can't help it, when they inevitably take the money.

    The we're bad at capitalism argument doesn't fly, everyone's seen how it's done, slash budget, which in turn slashes performance then claim the only way to get good performance it to sell it off. Many nationalised industries worldwide turn huge profits. it's not something government's are inherently incapable of. That's just how the promote the idea to the public in this country.
    We're not capitalist here or anywhere in the western world. We practice a kind of perverse inverted socialism for the rich and influential.
    If we were capitalist, the utter drivel "too big to fail" wouldn't have been repeated by politicians ad nauseum. They would have been allowed to fail and provided the collapse was managed properly, the finances of the western world would be in better shape than they are now.
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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Quote Originally Posted by badass View Post
    We're not capitalist here or anywhere in the western world. We practice a kind of perverse inverted socialism for the rich and influential.
    If we were capitalist, the utter drivel "too big to fail" wouldn't have been repeated by politicians ad nauseum. They would have been allowed to fail and provided the collapse was managed properly, the finances of the western world would be in better shape than they are now.
    Completely agree. If it's of such crucial national interest that it's 'too big to fail' then it should be nationalised and ideally not allowed to reach such status unless that was the plan from the start. If it's the taxpayer that's actually the stakeholder shouldering the risk, then they should be the owner too, for better or worse. It would be decried as socialism in the press, but to me that's the definition of capitalism. Those who take the risks reap the rewards.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Not quite, many of the "too big to fail" where just that, the bank are a great example, if they did collapse our entire social and economic structure would of gone with it, we would of gone through a period of anarchy before a new system arose.

    That's the big problem with "free market" and "capitalism" we don't actually practise them, because they are not self sustaining, they work when you have lot of smaller companies but individual companies rise up, others go down and you cannot block or hinder monopolies from forming because that's interference, which will lead to a corporate state system.
    A corporate state system is self sustaining because it has none of the moral baggage of the "free market" and "capitalism"

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    I would certainly agree that ut ought to never hsve been allowed to get to that state in the first place, but the fact remains that it had happened, and so there were two options - let the banks fail, or step in.

    The problem is, it's hugely expensive for the taxpayer to step in, but if you don't, then the entire economy was at risk of utter collapse, and so was the existence of money. We could well have ended up with a barter economy.

    After all, what undermines money? We all get paid in it, we all toil all our lives for it, and we all give and receive it for both essential services, and hard goods. So what happens if you either can't trust it, or can't get hold of it, or don't have a way to get it to someone else. And not just you, but every business from the local butcher to multinationals. If we haven't got banks to exchange payments, nationally and internationally, how long do you think even the lights would stay or, and how would you buy petrol for your car, to get to work? How long do you think petrol stations would have petrol for?

    Banks were, IMHO, too big to fail and yes, it shouldn't have been allowed to happen.

    But the real disgrace, IMHO, is that so little has been done to either punish those responsible, or far more importantly, restructure banking to ensure it can't happen again.

    We DO need retail banks, to organise payments, and keep the wheels turning.

    What we don't need is the casino side, with all these slick, super well paid professional gamblers hiding behind the title that used to be respectable, 'til these wide boys (and girls) wrecked it, of 'banker'.

    Yes, the casino banks are typically very profitable, and yes, they bring in a lot of tax revenue, but now we know that that tax revenue has a price, that being the huge cost, directly, of the bailout, and indirectly, of the slump and slow current growth, and of course, of the on-going risk of it all happening again, because while UK banks are more sound than many, we are not out of the woods yet, and even if we were, we're exposed to the contagion from elsewhere, like eurozone banks.

    The true sign of the impotence of politics is that so little has been done to deal with this huge and ongoing threat.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    We need retail banks and investment banks. Most of all we need them to be utterly separate.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    But again that's that fallacy of "free market" and "capitalism", you cannot interfere or dictate to prevent them from up because that's government interference.
    If we really practised "free market" and "capitalism" then yes they should of been allowed to fail, our economy should of collapsed and society should of been thrown into anarchy.

    It's not pleasant for us personally, but it's the harsh reality that should of happened if we actually practised "free market" and "capitalism"
    That is one of the basic issues that I hate about most people who preach about "free market" and "capitalism" they refuse to accept that there are unpleasant sides to it.

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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Oh certainly, you can't have competition without losers, but with good regulation and a social safety net you can ensure those losses are never catastrophic. The Ayn Randian; the market will solve everything, regulation is the only thing holding us back crowd are a bunch of fools who can't tell fiction from science.

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    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    wow, already off topic!

    Frankly, I'm massively in favour of this, I don't see why people can't understand privatisation can be a good thing. Think for example computers, a task that might have taken 100 person can be done by 1, who cares if that 1 entity charges 10 times what one of those 100 would have? It is still 10 times cheaper, whilst being better. Yey, efficiency.

    Sure, blood is emotive, but it is a commodity, the same way saline is privatised or the needles or the tubing.

    The argument against it is emotive "is there no limit to what!" without actually making any comparison to what is (or always has been) privatised....

    Sure, it might be a pork barrelled affair, but it will only last 20 years, in the future we'll be better off. It isn't like its a monopoly such as transport infrastructure.

    I hate the fact we can't have a proper discussion about anything NHS. I fractured my arm last week, and I would just like to say the A&E care I received is the worst I've ever seen anywhere in the world. Worse than Thailand, China and Florida. Not by a little, by a huge wide margin. Then I went to a different hospital not even 3 miles away, the care I received was top notch, better than the German hospitals I've sadly been too or better than any I found in America. Both were NHS, the same trust I believe.
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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    In some regards I've no problem where the government sells off when they either can't run/grow it any better and or they get a very good price.

    That said I do think some stuff would be better done if not privatised.

    An example are things our very own government have to buy back routinely. Locally things like bin collection, road repairs etc.

    It annoys me that a service that really needs to be done by the councils directly is instead done by a private firm, this instead of me paying my council tax to the council shed loads of it is instead going into the pockets of shareholders.

    Again I've no problem with people getting rich, but don't understand why we privatise what we really need.

  15. #15
    Seething Cauldron of Hatred TheAnimus's Avatar
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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    Quote Originally Posted by phil4 View Post
    It annoys me that a service that really needs to be done by the councils directly is instead done by a private firm, this instead of me paying my council tax to the council shed loads of it is instead going into the pockets of shareholders.

    Again I've no problem with people getting rich, but don't understand why we privatise what we really need.
    Take the manufacture of the actual bins. Most council have specific rules about which kind of bin can be used, these are made under contract or sometimes just ordered off the shelf so to speak.

    Neither of those bits would benefit from being in-sourced to the council. Outsourcing to the private sector often works well. It won't work well in many ways when it isn't easy or fast to change who the private company is, its only due to choice and constant re-evaluation its more efficent to be in the private sector.
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    Re: "Is there no limit to what and how this coalition government will privatise?”

    I agree with that example, but I think I cited two examples (bin collection and road repair), both of which here are outsourced at considerable cost. Wondered your view on those two?

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