The Curmudgeon


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Tradesmen's Entrance

I am sure we all remember the Private Finance Initiative which, by subjecting the nasty, wasteful and inefficient public sector to the rigours of commerce, was going to inaugurate a new era of efficiency and responsibility after the best traditions of the City of London, BP and Big Pharma. When PFI was introduced into the National Heath Service by the policy vacuum which followed the removal of Margaret Thatcher, Labour referred to it as "privatisation by the back door"; naturally, once Labour attained office, PFI was continued and the back door was widened a bit so that the private sector's public spirit could have a bit more elbow-room. As a result of these savings, some NHS trusts will have to make repayments totalling more than ten per cent of their turnover, because schemes valued at eleven thousand million pounds when begun are now going to cost the NHS six times that much. A member of the British Medical Association expressed that trade union's normal bias when he said: "Locking the NHS into long-term contracts with the private sector has made entire local health economies more vulnerable to changing conditions", as though mere public services should be immune from the sacred stabilising influence of market forces. A spokesbeing for the Department of Health Privatisation said that the department scrutinised all PFI schemes to make sure they delivered value for money when compared to an equivalent publicly funded scheme, although the spokesbeing does not seem to have specified whether the value for money is meant to benefit patients or corporations. Doubtless Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives will solve the problem once and for all, whether by introducing privatisation through the front door or by expanding the back door until the wall has disappeared and the whole unsightly edifice can collapse of its own accord.


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