Rail privatisation was part of a move to a corporatist UK economy that enabled private businesses to make ‘profits’ out of natural monopolies that remained heavily subsidised by taxpayers and/or service users.
Railtrack was allowed to buy British Rail property at well below its true market value, a fact borne out by its stellar share price growth in the early years following ‘privatisation’. To maximise profit, it cut back savagely on investment culminating in several catastrophic train crashes. These are ultimately what brought the company down and led to the creation of ‘not for profit’ Network Rail – a classic Tony Blair ‘Third Way’ fudge.
Network Rail was meant to be a not for profit company operating in the private sector. All went well until 2014 when the Government was instructed to reclassify it as a Government organisation and to transfer its circa £34bn debt mountain back onto the taxpayers’ account.
Other British Rail managers became millionaires overnight from rail privatisation – the faceless ROSCOs (rolling stock companies) created through ‘management buyouts’ of BR’s manufacturing and maintenance facilities.
I won’t even start on Branson et al. Who said the Great Train Robbery happened in the 60’s?
My point is, extend this out through energy, water, telecoms, mail etc etc and we are looking at a vast transfer of wealth, assets, accountability & control from public to private corporate hands.
Corporations like banks, SERCO and G4S are considered to be too big to fail even though they have patently failed many times to act in or serve the public interest.
Unbreakable bonds have been formed between the political elite and corporate UK and a revolving door smoothly moves players between the two. Patriotism is absent and money is king. Much of the UK’s infrastructure is now foreign owned.
Corporatism is the cousin of fascism and swims in the same filthy water. As long as people can’t see to the bottom of the pond, people can pretend there are no nasties swimming below the surface even though we know how bad it smells.
Corporatist tentacles are strangling the UK and bleeding it dry. The democratic deficit is vast. If you try to challenge those interests, you hit a hard wall quickly. I have had personal experience of complaining to a regional electricity distribution company. They are a profit making regional monopoly, appear to be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, have ‘Crown Immunity’ from any claim for damages suffered at their hands and take 25% of every consumer’s electricity bill under a ‘contract’ that none of us will remember signing.
Welcome to corporate UK. If you can smell the stench of corruption, look somewhere between our political ruling elite and the corporations that now own our country.