A second memo, from the MoD’s Aircraft Maintenance Policy Board, circulated widely in the MoD in May, warns that years of privatisation and staff cuts have left the ministry without the expertise to maintain its own aircraft.
We were constantly told that privatisation is better for the taxpayer, as it means that we pay someone else to take all the risks and responsibility and thus get a better service at a cheaper price. Words such as monopoly and competition are used frequently to point out why we should all be for privatisation.
But privatisation has not been good in any way shape or form. Just take British Rail, it was broken up and sold off for a huge profit for the Government, yet since then the taxpayer has had to put in billions to keep the rail network afloat, as once privatised no one appeared willing to take responsibility for the expensive maintenance side of things. Prices didn’t go down due to competition as was promised, they sky rocketed.
Royal Mail is another example of the drawbacks to privatisation, although far from excellent it was a decent service at a fair price. Today the service is a shambles, first class mail arrives in the mid afternoon, if at all. Collections that were made twice a day are now made just once and the Royal Mail has even gone as far as to remove evidence of this latter lapse. Post boxes used to have a next collection time on them, now they just have the day!
Postage prices have increased dramatically and other services such as second class mail and Sunday collections are being phased out.
Then there is of course the energy companies. Privatised in the mid 80s everything seemed rosy, we were promised a better service and of course ‘competitive pricing’.
None of which ever materialised, our bills have never been higher increasing by an average of 30% a quarter at present, despite having the only real gas and oil reserves in Western Europe. Most of the major UK power companies are foreign owned and for the first since the discovery of oil in the north sea, we now pay more to heat our homes each year than our European neighbours, who have no gas or oil reserves.
This MoD memo also brings to light the other issues with privatisation, or bringing in third parties to handle certain aspects such as bin collections, once it is done, it is extremely difficult to go back. The skilled workers are now employed by someone else.
Several crashes have been attributed by insiders to either a lack of know-how or loss of experience, most significantly the Nimrod aircraft which blew up in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after a fuel leak in September 2006, killing all 14 men aboard.
We now have a situation where the MoD is unable to service its own planes. Meaning that these parties effectively have the MoD held to ransom and can charge whatever they want to, all thanks to the buffoons that claim to know what is best for us.