Saturday, September 23, 2006

It's not clever and it's not popular

Simon Jenkins in the Guardian on the failure of Thatcher-Blairism to understand that the privatisation of public services is neither popular nor an improvement.
When viewed in the round, Thatcherism's conduct of the public sector is one of extraordinary ineptitude: the poll tax, rail privatisation, on-off hospital autonomy, school testing, computer procurement, farm subsidies, family tax credits. Private finance, said to be "the only game in town", is startlingly expensive. Blair's quest for service delivery through "e-government" is as elusive as his quest for democracy abroad through e-war. Labour's most treasured creation, the NHS, is forced to find upwards of £12bn to pay for a computer system it does not need and must cut swaths through hospital services to do so. To all this, Thatcherism seems to have no answer.