Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Neil Clark: Selling off the Tote marks a race to the bottom for the sake of ideology

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark appears in The Guardian.

Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker keeps horseracing diverse. Without it, smaller courses would struggle to survive

Sir Winston Churchill will be turning in his grave. For 83 years, the Tote, Britain's publicly-owned bookmaker, set up by Churchill when he was chancellor of the exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government in 1928, has been an integral part of the British horseracing scene. Now, however, the institution endearingly known as "the Nanny Goat" is to go the way of our railways, our buses and our utilities and be transferred to the private sector.

While free-market enthusiasts will no doubt be pleased to see a further shrinking of the state, the sale is likely to prove disastrous for a sport which employs more than 100,000 directly and indirectly, and which brings joy to millions of people's lives.

The whole article can be read here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Neil Clark: Put Britain's trains back on track

This article, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark, appears in the Sunday Express.

IMAGINE a detective arriving at the scene of a murder and failing to question the person caught holding a blood-stained dagger over the body. Imagine, too, that the detective then makes no mention of said person in his report.

Far-fetched? Well, overlooking the obvious is exactly what happened last week in relation to an inquiry into Britain’s railways.

Sir Roy McNulty, former chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority, was appointed to investigate why our railways are the most expensive in Europe.

His report found 10 main barriers to efficiency and made a series of recommendations, including cutting staff at stations and allowing some train operators to assume responsibility for maintenance.

The most noteworthy thing about Sir Roy’s report was what it did not recommend.

The reason why our fares are the highest in Europe is because, unlike other European countries, our railways are privatised.

You can read the whole article here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Government defeats Labour challenge to NHS plans

The BBC reports:

The government has fought off a Commons challenge to its controversial plans to shake up the health service in England.

MPs rejected a Labour call for the proposals to be abandoned, but the coalition's parliamentary majority was cut by more than a third.

Labour called the changes "damaging and unjustified", and the Royal College of GPs said they risked "unravelling and dismantling" the NHS.

Ministers are promising "substantive" changes after criticism by Lib Dem MPs.

The Health and Social Care Bill would give GPs more control over NHS budgets, and give the private sector a greater role.

More here.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Neil Clark: Privatised Britain is not a fait accompli

This piece, by CPO co-founder Neil Clark,appears on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website.

Keep standing up for the state – a leaked memo shows the coalition fears public reaction to outsourcing of public services.

"A return to the 1990s with whole-scale outsourcing to the private sector – this would be unpalatable to the present administration" Tuesday's leaked memo of a meeting between business chiefs and Francis Maude, the minister for the Cabinet Office – which reveals how the coalition is having second thoughts about the scale of its ambitious and ideologically driven programme of ending the "state's monopoly" of the provision of public services – is undoubtedly welcome.

But supporters of public ownership shouldn't be popping the champagne corks just yet.

The whole article can be read here.