We Must Learn From Others’ Experience Before We Privatise Public Services
We at DDI ask ourselves why the rush into privatization of public services? We have seen the gradual movement towards it here for years, following in the wake of what has happened in Britain. Successive governments seem to think it is the only way to go, but have they really done their research? The following article in the Guardian is well compiled and well resourced and highlights how the reality of privatisation is not quite as the UK government would like the public to believe.
Meanwhile, according to the article and the sourced reports, around the world other countries have realised the mantra of private is better and cheaper is not quite true on a level playing field. In fact Germany who have done very well indeed out of the Ireland’s bailout of their banks are moving in the nationalisation direction; buying back their services with all our lovely money and reaping the profits for the nation.
The tiptoe privatisation in Ireland has been slow but in each case be it energy, waste, and soon to be water we have seen prices increase and working conditions fall. Each service privatisation adds another cost to our household expenditure for something we used to pay for in taxes. The local councils who used to provide services have that funding removed by government, yet we never see a corresponding tax reduction do we? We never will, not for any of the future privatisations, not when the private companies continue to be part subsidised, and certainly not when the diverted funding is being paid to bankers for odious debt.
Other types of privatisation are more cynical and again we can look to the UK for our future. It appears our health service is being deliberately underfunded, poorly managed and driven into the ground from the highest levels to step by step move the public consciousness to favour private healthcare. The same dismantling of the still internationally lauded NHS in Britain is the road map for Ireland.
In reality the push for privatisation is a symptom of a financial system that creates money through debt and has built in inevitable bankruptcy at it’s heart. Eventually you have to sell the family silver.
We are not against privatisation per say. We support it where it works and it does work in some areas suited to competition. However we need to take a good look at this for the benefit of our people because there is a big clue in the term “public services”. A “service” means it is for the benefit of the many over and above the profitability of the most lucrative parts of that service. It is about community and shared benefit; this is not something that we can always count on in a profit driven structure.
We would like to see the government carry out a proper long term cost benefit analysis for any such proposal towards privatisation. An analysis that prioritises the nation’s people as the beneficiary of that service.