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Through the looking glass

Alice through the looking glassImagine if the fat-cat-funded researchers at the TaxPayers' Allliance turned their guns from the public to the private sector. What if, day after day, they aimed to spread cynicism and disenchantment by highlighting only the worst cases of corporate excess and market failure – to the exclusion of all else?

Their website might start to look like this. The following items appeared in the Times, Guardian and Observer during the last 10 days. The only thing missing from each is a quote from Matthew Elliott, expressing his disgust at such greed, corruption or dismal customer service.

Posted by Other TPA at 12:49pm on 21 September 2009
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So what?

The TPA don’t claim to investigate the private sector. They’re concerned with waste in the public sector.

Posted by Norm at 03:57pm on 21 September 2009

Yes but the TPA consistently focus on flaws in the public sector - both real and imagined - in order to show the superiority of the private sector. But the things it blames on the public sector - bad customer service, inefficiency, etc - infect the private sector too, not least the privatised utilities.

Posted by Other TPA at 04:15pm on 21 September 2009

No one denies there are examples of waste and inefficiency in the private sector, however we have a choice about funding the private sector - if I don’t like a company I don’t buy its products.

However I only get a choice about the Public sector every four years, and always the same old LibLabCon party gets in, and public sector waste carries on as usual, and I have no choice about paying the taxes imposed on us

Posted by Jonathan Lloyd at 10:05pm on 21 September 2009

The real issue is obtaining value for money in the public sector, this is compounded by each individual department, (say defence) only looking after its own budget, but the actions it takes (say through redundancies) may have an impact on the welfare budget for example, we should always remember that any government spend comes from the same taxpayers pot.
We have a legitimate right to expect the public sector to be as efficient as possible, but the waste that I have seen, stem from interfering government targets, I feel that we currently have the balance wrong between privatisation and nationalisation; privatisation is not always best but is often seen as the only alternative, instead of letting the people employed to do the job (many of them highly trained) get on with delivering change.
We should not be afraid to increase the amount of workers employed in the public sector (if it reduces the welfare costs, better that people are encouraged to attend work, produce something and contribute to society than basically become low pay, stay at home, produce nothing civil servants) but the money found to employ these people should come through departmental efficiencies (Operation Apex Essex police is a very good example).

Posted by David Mavin at 09:54pm on 22 September 2009

Would the name be The Customers Alliance? Could it be funded by the State in an accountably transparent way to pump media products with quotes about insufficient competition and non-existent value for money? The State is after all the very biggest customer and should get its way on behalf of the second largest customers The City and the Canary Wharf Group and all the other mugged up private sector customers. Then the ‘free market’ effects us all and individuals lacking any power other than to not bother or buy poor quality and overpriced goods and services need there interests protected from the opaque funders of the Tax Payers’ Alliance.

Posted by Jed Keenan at 01:13pm on 29 September 2009

Oh Jonathan Lloyd, how innocent you are, if only life were as simple as you portray it. I suspect you do not have the advantage of either age or experience.
I worked for a clearing bank for almost forty years during which we screwed the customers ever tighter. The internal motto was “Squeeze them again and again and if they still don’t actually riot, squeeze them again. If you imagine that all the other banks weren’t doing the same, you’re very deluded indeed. What options did that leave the customer? We made billions out of pretty worthless endowment mortgages and ripped people off left right and centre. There is no genuine competition in the private sector, it’s all an illusion and we all pay for it all the time. Get real do.

Posted by David Jamesson at 06:08pm on 16 October 2009

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