Tuesday, 16 October 2012

The Public Sector Is Great

Do you agree with the popular opinion that the public sector is too large? If so, there's a good chance you've been conned by right-wing propaganda.

Don't be embarrassed: it's everywhere thanks to the right-wing's media monopoly in the UK (and most countries, in fact). It may start to change though: in the interest of good journalism, there are parts of the right-wing press that are starting to expose private sector corruption and greed...although I fear it's not quite enough just yet.

I love the public sector. I like that important services such as Schools, Hospitals and Doctors' Surgeries are provided for us out of our taxes rather than making profit for rich executives. I also like the fact that councils control who provides services for other important things such as waste and recycling. Ok, so maybe there's an occasional bung to a councillor from a waste management company or similar - I wish that wasn't the case - but what's the alternative? 

The alternative that anyone who's given it any thought has come up with is to pay for private sector companies to run everything. You can guarantee there won't be any secret bungs any longer, because greasing palms will be the status quo. Encouraged, no doubt. Management executives will be wined and dined - at least - and eventually at our expense - by profit-hungry suitors in exchange for public money. The happy winner of said contract will then go back to their friends and give them the thumbs up to increase costs for a cut of the profit that they've helped to get out of our taxes.

Why does anyone believe that cutting the public sector to nothing is a good thing? Those people will still want these services. Will they want them to cost more? No. Will they want them to be at least as good as they have always been? Yes. Well one of those things has to give. 

Ask a profit-making organisation for a quote and they'll build in as much profit as they can. Chip them on price and they'll chip away the service or up any additional costs they can charge later. And given half a chance, they'll move the goalposts later citing increases in outlay - and increases that in fact, they've probably pre-agreed with their suppliers.

The lobbyists and Tory donors (many of whom are the same people) are making this all very worthwhile for the government, who wanted to crush the public sector anyway.

Did you know:

a) The 'Health and Social Care Act' a.k.a. The NHS Reform Bill was written mostly by a private company who stood to benefit directly from its passing

b) Monitor, the 'independent' body set up to ensure private involvement in the NHS is fair is made up mostly of private healthcare executives

c) The top ten biggest winners from Tory policies on the NHS have donated more than £10m to the Tories, and in return have won more than £5bn of NHS contracts under this government. These companies are: Virgin Care, Serco, Circle Holdings, Interserve, Carillion, Mitie, Care-UK, Medacs, Barchester, Zenith Hygeine.

Ok, so I've ended up focussing on the NHS - because the facts are already out there. But it would be no different for other services.

So, in conclusion, profit and the pursuit thereof can make people do bad things. 

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