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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Public services proposals will not mean more choice

This piece of mine appears on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

Neil Clark: David Cameron wants us to believe that rolling back state provision will benefit the public. The opposite is true.

Thirty-two years after Margaret Thatcher swept into Downing Street promising to roll back the frontiers of the state, the neoliberal drive towards a fully privatised Britain is entering its final stages.

The government's new Open Public Services white paper, revealed by David Cameron last week, may have passed under the radar somewhat due to the scandals engulfing the Murdoch media empire, but it's an important document nonetheless. The coalition claims that "reform of public services is a key progressive cause", and that its proposals "give power to those who have been overlooked and underserved", but in reality there is nothing progressive about its underlying objective to radically change the role of the state from a provider of public services to one that will merely ensure "fair access" to them.

You can read the whole of the article here.

UPDATE: On this very subject, do try and get a copy of the new edition of Private Eye where there’s a great piece on Page 12.

When David Cameron launched his Open Public Services white paper last week, he did so at a conference arranged by a think-tank funded by the very firms who will benefit from the privatisation his document proposes. Cameron unveiled his plan at a Canary Wharf event hosted by 'Reform', a right-wing charity funded by business "partners". Cameron and his ministers regularly appear at Reform events; and the PM proposed "releasing the grip of state control and putting power in people's hands" .

The list of Reform's backers suggests who those people will be. They include leading hospital privatiser General Healthcare, prisons and schools firm G4S, cleaning and catering outfit Sodexho and all-purpose giants Serco and Capita. Telereal Trillium, which already gets £284m a year for running government properties, also funds Reform, as does PA Consulting, which makes millions as an adviser on several privatisations.....

On the subject of the think-tank ‘Reform’, please take a look at this and this.

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