Private Island: Why Britain Now Belongs to Someone Else
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“The essential public good that Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair and now Cameron sell is not power stations, or trains, or hospitals. It’s the public itself. it’s us.”
In a little over a generation the bones and sinews of the British economy – rail, energy, water, postal services, municipal housing – have been sold to remote, unaccountable private owners, often from overseas. In a series of brilliant portraits the award-winning novelist and journalist James Meek shows how Britain’s common wealth became private, and the impact it has had on us all: from the growing shortage of housing to spiralling energy bills.
Meek explores the human stories behind the incremental privatization of the nation over the last three decades. He shows how, as our national assets are sold, ordinary citizens are handed over to private tax-gatherers, and the greatest burden of taxes shifts to the poorest. In the end, it is not only public enterprises that have become private property, but we ourselves.
Urgent, powerfully written and deeply moving, this is a passionate anatomy of the state of the nation: of what we have lost and what losing it cost us – the rent we must pay to exist on this private island.
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Line. It’s a 690-mile network of routes between London and Glasgow, connecting them to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and scores of other large towns in the West Midlands and north-west of England. It is almost the oldest inter-city railway in the world. It was built higgledy-piggledy over three decades, starting in 1833, by entrepreneurs and hard-drinking, red-waistcoated navigators who, if they died on the job, were sometimes buried where they fell. Its narrow tunnels, lines squeezed.
Which meant the PCTs were obliged to commission from them. Even before Lansley’s changes, NHS hospitals like Wrightington had become dependent for their financial viability on the money they made from selling their services to the PCTs. Competition already existed. The amount of money PCTs got from the government varied. The Department of Health had a panel of civil servants and academics called the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), which came up with a formula for working out.
Years of trials, he put a hip resurfacing device, the Birmingham hip, on the market. Now made in Warwick by the British multinational Smith & Nephew, it has been used with relatively few problems around the world. The DePuy hip was designed explicitly to compete with the Birmingham hip – a device that did the job perfectly well. It could have been an improvement; it turned out to be anything but. In 2005, the year Atkins was given the ASR hip, McMinn made a prescient attack on the rival product.
Been only 60 per cent. The authors of Transatlantic History point out that some of the cheaper hips used in Britain aren’t sold in the US, even though they’re made there. Many surgeons and consumers want the best, they say, ‘but when that which is properly known to be “the best” is ipso facto old technology, the best may come to mean “the latest”, and the latest may prove to be expensive failures.’ ‘There is no reason,’ Aneurin Bevan wrote to doctors as the NHS came into being, ‘why the whole of.
Elsewhere in East London. Any council tenant on the estate who wants one of the new or refurbished flats, at a rent similar to the one they were already paying, will get one. The homes left over will be let at market rents, sold as shared-ownership properties, or sold outright; Swan will use the proceeds from these commercial activities to cross-subsidise its social housing. The reason Doreen Kendall was against the Swan takeover of the Cranbrook Estate wasn’t some erroneous idea that Swan was a.