Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Faster, Cheaper, Greener, Sexier... and state-owned

Why are some people still reluctant to concede that publicly-owned railways work better than privately-owned ones? This letter of mine appears in this week's edition of The Spectator.

Dear Sir,

In his eulogy to the wonderful French railway system, Neil Collins "French trains: faster, cheaper, greener, sexier", Spectator 7th April 2007, fails to mention one important difference between French railways and their British counterparts: SNCF is owned by the French government, whereas British train companies are owned by private shareholders. For an awful long time we have been brainwashed by free market fundamentalists into believing that anything owned by the state is always going to be more inefficient than anything privately owned: the continued success of France's railways and the expensive post-privatisation chaos which exists in Britain and which is experenced by millions of commuters on a daily basis, proves that it simply isn't true.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Clark,

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