Sunday, 25 February 2007

Private enterprise and the consumer

Six hours today without mains water. This is the second time in a month. And we have only recently had a hose pipe ban lifted. Officially in this part of the South East we have been in a state of drought since last Summer. (That's South East England by the way not Africa).

OK - so the global climate is universally acknowledged as fucked as a result of environmental crisis. But we still have the highest rainfall in Western Europe - so this isn't the reason for the 'drought'.

Whilst the water companies are dispensing homespun advice about not leaving the tap running whilst we brush our teeth, London's water system leaks something like 30% of the supply every day. The water and sewerage system in London was a marvel of Victorian engineering. Unfortunately it remains so. Thames Water is owned by a German company looking to sell their interest on and major capital investment in modernising the system is not high on their agenda.

And at the end of last week, yet another fatal train crash on our privatised rail network.

Remember Thatcher's free enterprise revolution of the eighties ? Consumer services and choice were going to be transformed. But nobody thought who was going to be responsible for polishing the family silver once it had been flogged off.

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