Nationalisation is as bad as it ever was

With Labour wanting to complete the nationalisation of the railways and the Conservatives hesitating to privatise, it is time to revisit the general case against public ownership.

The UK’s nationalised industries have been bad for customers. Lacking competition they put up prices too much, deliver poor service and fail to innovate  in a customer friendly way. They are bad employers, often shedding labour by redundancies as they lose customers. They milk taxpayers, sending all their  losses to the Treasury to pay. They make ill considered, expensive and badly managed investments in new capital like HS 2.

The Post Office has behaved disgracefully towards its employees. It bungled  a computerisation programme. It has plunged into losses.

HS 2 has been subject to huge cost overruns and then faced a series of cuts to its scope to try to contain costs to three or four times original budget.

The nationalised part of the railway, all the track, signals and stations, has inflicted misery on passengers with endless signal failures, unplanned track maintenance, leaves  on the line and the wrong kind of snow. Many of the delays and cancellations stem from nationalised mismanagement.

Nat West/RBS in public ownership has lagged other banks and performed badly.

The Bank of England has  proved to be the UK’s worst asset manager racking up £170 bn of losses on so called safe bonds it paid too much for.

The nationalised roads offer too little capacity and are bedevilled by temporary closures, congestion, slow running and potholes.

191 Comments

  1. Ian wragg
    February 4, 2024

    The supply of electricity is supposedly privatised but totally broken and distorted by government interference.
    We have no security of supply, relying on hostile governments. The price we pay is dictated by the government and the whole system is a shambles

    The CEGB was far superior to what we have now and your taking over motor manufacturing and domestic heating delivery.
    What a mess you’ve got us into.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      It is indeed a mess. Pushing smart meters at vast expense on people to cope with the unreliables of wind and solar. Vast “poll tax” daily standing charges now too, even if you use no energy at all.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 4, 2024

        An evil poll tax especially aimed at the poor customers.

        1. Hope
          February 4, 2024

          If Blaire and Cameron had not removed Hussein and Gaddiffi Iraq and Linda would not be failed states, mass immigration would not be at the levels they are now and public services like the NHS would not be overwhelmed.

          So when lying politicians say world events reflect here they are right, stop invading foreign countries like Trump advocated, stop mass immigration like Trump stated- build walls and barriers certainly not provide a Chanel tax service, and stop the climate change scam, withdraw from the Paris agreement (job and manufacturing transfer) as Trump advocated, stop funding to WHO a Chines led power mad organisation like Trump advocated!! No wonder he had to go. The mad globalists did everything they could to get rid of him.

          1. Timaction
            February 4, 2024

            Indeed. The Channel Ferry Service is a scam of the highest order. The Border Farce and RNLI could just as easily return the criminal unknown single men back to France which has failed to secure it’s borders. At worse the same day return by boat or train. Tell France NOT ASK. No law prohibits this and a threat to jump in the sea is total rubbish. Half a dozen to a dozen boats treated like this would stop the problem. Suellerman on GB News stated today that they know the latest Rwanda legislation won’t work, we know it’s a pretence they’re doing something whilst achieving nothing at great expense. Mass immigration is NOT AN ACCIDENT but DELIBERATE TORY POLICY. It’s an emergency but treated in the slow lane by this failed administration pretending we benefit from low wage third world immigration. We witness in the crime columns of the press almost daily the result of mass immigration. Import the third world = Third world culture, values and beliefs. We need REFORM!

    2. James Freeman
      February 4, 2024

      The privatised electricity market worked very well until 2008, with falling prices for consumers and industry. Then, the Labour government introduced the Climate Change Act. This legislation rigged the market and caused the problems you refer to.

      1. Ian wragg
        February 4, 2024

        I see the Norwegian government us stopping all the subsidies for EVs
        As usual distorting the market is having a negative effect. Car ownership has gone up and use of public transport has halved. Who’d have thought it.

        1. Berkshire Alan
          February 4, 2024

          Ian
          Norway no longer has to subsidise EV’s as 90% of cars are already electric.
          Went there last year, but they only have a population of 5 million, they have little problem with traffic density, and electricity is 95% powered by their own hydro electric, taken from natural source waterfalls.

          Our Natural resources are Coal, Oil, and Gas, and we have a population of near 80 million, in an area that seems about the same size.!

          Density of people is our real problem !

      2. Lifelogic
        February 4, 2024

        Indeed an insane act that all MPs (but a tiny handful including JR, Peter Lilly, Anne Widecombe and a few sensible others) voted for. Zero sensible costings for the proposal, almost no MPs understand any energy engineering, physics, energy economics… virtue signalling fools, this made even worse by May’s moronic Net Zero. Farage asked how many of his audience thought steel should close for net zero targets – no one person did and they are all correct.

      3. MFD
        February 4, 2024

        The Climate Change Act, the evil lies from Labour and seconded by Lib-Cons.
        I will be voting for Reform UK as they at least acknowledge the fact Climate Change is lies and a large con filling the pockets of the corrupt.
        Money bought influence?

        1. Lifelogic
          February 4, 2024

          Indeed I cannot vote for Sunak with his tax to death, net zero lunacy, his blatant dishonesty on tax, vaccines, inflation, the NHS and his evil NI lunacy too.

          The sensible Martin Howe KC just now – long-standing Tory adviser:- “Sunak’s weakness on migration has driven me to leave the Conservative Party” for Reform it seems.

      4. Hope
        February 4, 2024

        JRs party voted for “Red Ed’s” “Marxist” energy policy and May promised to build on it!! They knew what they were doing if not they should not be in govt. JR’s party chose to be in Lockstep with EU and it’s environment level playing field.

        Once more JR is hankering back to the past when he was in a Conservative Party, he is now there for presentation purposes to con the public to vote for his socialist left wing outfit.

        1. Timaction
          February 4, 2024

          The conservatives left the Tory’s a long time ago, around the end of Thatcher and accelerated since by Major/ May/ Shameron. Now they are One Nation Liberals.

    3. Ed M
      February 4, 2024

      We need to be careful of ideologists who want to oppose nationalisation for ideological reasons.

      A true capitalist looks OBJECTIVELY at everything (as opposed to ideology which is subjective not objective in origin). Including whether it’s wasting time / effort / energy / simplicity on something (i.e. the trains, utilities, post office, roads etc) as opposed to focusing on how to really build up our economy i.e but helping to build up our high tech economy. That’s true capitalism (and this stems back to Thatcher. She was GREAT at opposing socialism in a political sense. But she was NOT a businesswoman. She didn’t have an entrepreneur’s-like grasp of how capitalism works.

      1. Bloke
        February 4, 2024

        Margaret Thatcher didn’t need to specialise in having entrepreneurial skills. She gained excellent guidance from her Ministers and advisers, including SJR, enabling her to weigh up and decide on key options. Adhering to strong principles, making good quality decisions and following through were just three of her strengths.

        1. Lynn Atkinson
          February 5, 2024

          She learned it at the knee of her parents who ran a grocers shop! Imbibed it with her mother’s milk.

          1. Ed M
            February 6, 2024

            I agree

            And running a business like that is key to every successful business (although in fairness you do need CREATIVITY as well in particular in the high tech industry, being an entrepreneurs – and creating the great brands of the future.

        2. Ed M
          February 6, 2024

          I’m just being a bit provocative. I’m a big fan of Mrs Thatcher (and those who supported her including John Redwood). I’m just rocking the boat a bit, in particular ’cause I think the Tory government needs to do more to support the high tech industry and entrepreneurs in general.

    4. Ian B
      February 4, 2024

      @Ian wragg – yes, why is a private operation over charging so as to fund Foreign Governments that this Conservative Government has contracted to pay above the market rate for the electricity it supplies us. While at the same time the electricity in their(these Foreign Governments) home markets is less than in the UK.
      How can UK business and industry compete on the World stage when this Conservative Government loads the dice against them?

  2. Lifelogic
    February 4, 2024

    Indeed but the roads are clearly under invested in and are deliberately blocked and congested by Kahn, Drakeford and this appalling NET Zero pushing government.

    Private monopolies or duopolies etc. often poorly regulated by usually useless government regulators. The UK legal system is dreadful too, as is water, banking, universities, most schools, the planning system…

    1. A-tracy
      February 4, 2024

      Lifelogic, how much has been spent on roads in the UK in last ten years? Because I don’t think it is clear.

      Whether the spending on smart motorways and road widening was a good idea is another question especially when a breakdown now closes off four lanes instead of the vehicle just being parked on the hard-shoulder.

      The Severn Bridge in and out of Wales is now toll free since December 2018. 40,000 vehicles use it per day. This was done to give an economic boost to South Wales and the Bristol/Bath area, did that work?

      28 Nov 2018 — In recent years the two Dartford Tunnels have been fully refurbished with new lighting, ventilation and fire suppression systems…

      The Silvertown Tunnel at the Blackwall Tunnel site plan to open in 2025 – will help reduce chronic congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel and allow for better public transport links. Tfl

      I don’t think enough is made of all the infrastructure projects that are built in the UK from the Queensferry Bridge which is free to use to the new Mersey Gateway Bridge that they force people to pay a toll to use when the old bridge was free. Built 2014 to 2017. £1.86bn to build, brings in £50 million pa in crossing fees in 2020, however, the fines there rack in a fortune £13 million pa (about 25%!!).

      I also don’t think enough is made about delayed projects and who pays for the delays the underquoting contractor or the taxpayer!

  3. Peter
    February 4, 2024

    ‘ The UK’s nationalised industries have been bad for customers.’

    And the privatised railways and public utilities haven’t ?

    What seemed good on paper has never worked.

    We lost a joined up railway with affordable fares and got an expensive mishmash in its place. The infrastructure HAD to be taken back into public ownership after various crashes as the private sector could not be trusted to ensure the safety of the travelling public.

    The various companies running the trains are just disinterested foreign franchises, interested mainly in a government subsidy. Sometimes they have to be replaced and often the publicly owned replacement is then better run. Sometimes the franchises decide not to renew as there is not enough profit or it is too much bother. The government then frantically looks for a replacement but often there is little interest. The skills of the old nationalised railway are no longer available.

    Many of the public can see this even if some politicians are reluctant to admit it.

    Reply I agree the current franchises do not work well. They do not have enough freedom to serve customers better nir do they take enough of the business risk. The fully nationalised model was far worse with a worse safety record and big decline in passengers.

    1. IanT
      February 4, 2024

      The railways were built by private capital and run very successfully by the larger companies until road transport began to eat into their revenues. Most especially, much heavy freight has been taken off rail and placed on our road system – which the taxpayer funds. If our politicians were serious about reducing carbon emmissions they would make it attractive to move goods by (electric) rail with local distribtiion centres served by electric vehicles. We had all this ‘technology’ at one time but let the big freight haulage companies (many based abroad) get a free ride in terms of cost of use. As an aside, how many of those large foreign lorries have extra fuel tanks and not only use our roads effectively for free but don’t purchase their fuel here either.

      1. Peter Wood
        February 4, 2024

        I think you’re onto the issue. Compare the cost of shipping a 20ft or 40ft container by rail with road from say Felixstowe to Newcastle or Glasgow. IF it’s quicker, or cheaper or more convenient by road than rail, then we have the problem. You may have it already, we taxpayers pay for the upkeep of roads, but the rail service supplier has to pay/contribute for maintaining his own rails. If so, there’s an unfair subsidy, so how are we to balance costs? Remember, if we charge for lorries using our roads, then the consumer will pay more.

        1. Lifelogic
          February 4, 2024

          Well no the trucks pay a lot in VAT, fuel tax, road tax for use of the roads more than enough. And trains always have the problem of not going door to door so they almost invariably need a (double) truck journey at each end. So four shorter truck journeys two empty of goods. Then the cost of transferring from store to truck to train and from train to store to truck. Very rarely is the train the sensible choice other than for products like coal mine to a power station with a dedicated track. Do the sums.

          1. Berkshire Alan
            February 4, 2024

            Lifelogic

            Rail to be effective must not rely on the use roads until the very last minute, and then to perhaps only distribute locally, Rail heads used to be at every port, and the end terminus used to be in many major industrial locations.
            Unfortunately many of the old sidings and terminus have been concreted over for housing or offices, probably not enough rail or surplus space left for more track space/time and capacity, to make rail competitive or sensible again.

          2. IanT
            February 4, 2024

            Beecham did the sums LL
            “The main characteristics of the railway, as he saw them, were a) very high fixed costs on maintenance, b) high capacity with low movement costs per unit c) the ability to move dense flows of traffic & c) the safe, reliable, scheduled movement at high speed

            “In 1962 around 90 million tons of this type of product was being transported by road, which he argued would have been better moved by rail. Most of it moved between the ports and the main centres of industry and population, ie parallel with the main rail arteries of the country. If only half of this transferred to rail it would add £100m a year to government revenues”

            So Beechings’ plan to allow the railways to play to their strengths was in two parts a) to reduce under-utilised routes and b) to encourage use of rail for efficient long distance freight movement. The Government accepted his proposals but only actually implemented the cuts but not the investments. Surprise, surpise…. 🙂

        2. Bloke
          February 4, 2024

          If the roads from the Highlands to London ran straight downhill at a gentle angle, vehicles could roll without fuel or fumes. Perhaps then government would charge for use of gravity and brakes.

      2. Mickey Taking
        February 4, 2024

        Remember the cyclist Marples? He had friends in the road building businesses, so Beeching did them a great favour. Retired abroad in the comfort of a vineyard in France.

      3. Mike Wilson
        February 4, 2024

        The railways were built by private capital and run very successfully by the larger companies until road transport began to eat into their revenues

        Imagine planning, now, to build the railway line from Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads. I think that, today, it would take 50 years to get planning permission. In those days they just said ‘Oy, Brunel! Build us a railway line.’ So he did.

        1. Mickey Taking
          February 4, 2024

          You dismiss the applications to Parliament to compulsory buy farm and estate lands?
          Then to raise enormous shareholding, and refining and planning thousands of navvies. Finally to contract for locomotives and carriages and determine funding recovery via passengers.
          Don’t trivialise what it took.

    2. Hope
      February 4, 2024

      Teresa Villers lost over £40 million on trains when she was in Charge. Your party wastes our taxes like confetti! It showers our money around as if it was a bottomless pit. Irresponsible.

      Your party could reduce the civil service by 90,000, as proposed, and increase military personnel. It chooses to be big state, interfere with everything and high tax. I presume you want privatisation to blame someone else for pore services like your party/govt does for everything else. Then add a quango for good measure to regulate it!!

      1. Ian B
        February 4, 2024

        @Hope +1
        Are you suggesting we do not have a Conservative Government/ Instead a high spending, high controlling Socialist Government that can always fulfill its Socialist dream with more taxes and borrowing. Of course those individuals responsible have an exit plan and will escape having to pay the debts the leave behind

    3. MFD
      February 4, 2024

      Thats because it is a 18th centuary industry trying to work in the present.
      Nobody these days really want the hassle of having to travel to a Station to begin travel at the convenience of the operater. Then dumped of at an other station miles from the intended destination, with more expensive travel to finish the journey.
      I would never use a bus or a train despite having a free bus pas.
      Much more comfortable and convenient to jump in my car! And that is also the cheapest method of travel!

      1. Timaction
        February 4, 2024

        How many people out here in the real world actually use the outdated heavily subsidised train services? Last time we used one (The Underground) was over 5 years ago when attending a demo on Parliaments refusal to implement Brexit. Can’t remember our children or Grandchildren using them. Isn’t it time for cost benefit analysis to see if it hits any useful criteria or value for money target? London maybe, the rest of the Country probably not.

      2. Peter
        February 4, 2024

        Mfd,

        Nineteenth century rather than eighteenth.

        However, the road network is even older. One near me was a toll road. Single lane and it cannot cope with modern traffic.

        I would much rather use my free rail and bus pass. The station is seven minutes away and a 24 hour bus service is on the main road three minutes away. No worries about parking at the other end. Road works are not an issue on rail or tube trains either.

        1. Peter
          February 4, 2024

          I did use the car yesterday. For an excellent fish and chips shop that is close, but an indirect route via public transport. The roads were quiet at the time and free parking close by was not a problem.

          Although I have a garage and space for several cars at my house, wherever I go – apart from shopping malls or golf clubs – then parking is an issue.

          I used to be able to park at work and take all the rat runs home, but that was decades ago, before congestion charges and increased traffic. No more free parking on Waterloo bridge at night. A train is so much easier and more pleasant.

          Buses not so much; but then free parking in Kingston, Wimbledon, Epsom etc is a thing of the past. Sutton is possible using a large DIY outlet, though in the past you could simply park up in the roads near Sutton station.

          1. Bloke
            February 4, 2024

            Urban facilities that attract drivers are sited far too close together. Congestion and parking charges reveal the worst. Drivers should be able to reach where they intend without undue obstruction, delay and penalties.
            In 1963 The Location of Offices Bureau was set up to disperse office jobs from the centre of London. It was so successful the objectives had to be reversed after several years!

    4. A-tracy
      February 4, 2024

      Why was the West Coast service taken off the very successful Virgin Trains? Then why give the rail company that made a mess of it another contract?

  4. Peter
    February 4, 2024

    Privatised utilities like water fail to make adequate investment. Instead they price gouge the customer, strip out as much profit as possible and send it overseas. Our rivers and seas are polluted and nothing happens.

    Ins country with as much rainfall as the UK there should be no water shortages during the Summer, no need for metering water supply.

    Reply When nationalised the water industry threw sewage on our beaches, rationed water some summers and had the odd case of contaminated water supply

    1. Hat man
      February 4, 2024

      So nothing much has changed (except that foreign corporate share-holders, for the most part, are profiting hugely). They still pollute and they still can’t manage water supply properly.

      Would that be because the same sort of people are running these companies as before?

      1. MFD
        February 4, 2024

        Got the bulls eye , Hat Man , we do not have honest or caring people in most industries – just greedy trash!

      2. Original Richard
        February 4, 2024

        Hat man :

        It’s not the “corporate foreign shareholders” who are to blame. They are only acting in the best interests of their employees and shareholders as they should.

        It is firstly our Government for enabling foreign corporates to own our water companies which have a monopoly in the areas they service and, even more importantly, the very poor job Offwat, the Government and Civil Service have done to regulate the water industry.

        For instance, Offwat should have acted upon the data which has been for known some time that our population size is far bigger than the Government admits and required the water companies to build new reservoirs and increase the sewage facilities accordingly. But in typical nationalised bureaucratic laziness they did not act.

        1. Timaction
          February 4, 2024

          Don’t I remember somewhere that the EU blocked the building of reservoir’s for some reason or other. Maybe environmental stuff to save flora and fauna whilst disingenuously encouraging mass immigration of people to remove ideas of Nation State and building on the Greenbelt. More honesty needed in Politics, not possible under the legacy model, we need REFORM!

          1. Hope
            February 4, 2024

            I seem to recall Spellman was in charge and it was against EU environment regs and useless Tories decided it was better to stop leaks!

        2. Hat man
          February 4, 2024

          Agree with most of what you say, Original Richard, though as regards reservoirs there may also be a NIMBY factor involved.

        3. Ian B
          February 4, 2024

          @Original Richard +1 correct. Investments are always intended to achieve a return so that return can be reinvested for further returns.
          Norway’s $1.6 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, reported on Tuesday a record profit of $213. Uk’s Conservative Governments debt mountain £2.64 trillion (approx $3.32 trillion)
          A prime example of one Country investing in it future while the other exporting it with the big Foreign give-away that never returns

        4. Ian B
          February 4, 2024

          We are told Offwat as with all Conservative Government regulators and similar Quangos are there to protect the consumer. That’s why they get out taxpayer money(not money out of government ministers pockets exclusively as the imply) – they are just a places to create jobs-for-the-boys who are unable to get jobs in the real world.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      If you get massive rainfalls in storms to be fair some spillage of sewage is impossible to avoid. Even trees, cars and houses get washed in. But mainly it is a failure of regulation as usual.

      1. G
        February 4, 2024

        That’s because the building industry was permitted to channel rainwater drainage into the sewer system. Anything to save a few quid….

    3. Peter Wood
      February 4, 2024

      Reply to Sir J. Surely you mean the: ‘Private water companies throw sewage…etc.’ And in addition, they send dividends abroad that could be used to invest in better pipes and new reservoirs.
      Where there is no Real competition, an effective monopoly exists, power is with the supplier who cannot but become corrupt and wasteful.
      The main text is rather confusing, most of the problems identified are caused by the public/private arrangements, where the private side is allowed to extract profit from the public side, ie our taxes.

      1. graham1946
        February 4, 2024

        And the cost of nationalised water was a fraction of what it is now. When I first married over 50 years ago the water was included in the council tax (rates). Water was considered a part of a healthy nation and should not have been sold off. What happened to the money made? Wasted as usual, so no water companies in our ownership and nothing to show for all the money paid by investors and precious little for the rip off prices we pay. Water as a basic necessity of life should be provided free, not for the profit of overseas people with no interest in this country other than as a cash cow.

        Reply There is a cost to collecting, cleaning and piping eater. You either have to lay as a customer or as a taxpayer. If you pay via tax we will need more water at more cost as price will not limit use.

        1. A-tracy
          February 4, 2024

          A two bed flat in Glasgow was considered band G when it was valued at £180,000 in 2012. The water charge on that flat this year is £387.45 and the waste water sewerage charge is £449.70 on top. The overall council tax on that flat is £3772.69 pa this year. I have a smart meter so my water bill reduced but how does this compare to England’s charges now?
          https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/counciltax#:~:text=Your%20council%20tax%20bill%20includes,services%20provided%20by%20the%20council.

          1. Donna
            February 4, 2024

            I have a small 3 bed house in Dorset and live alone. I have a water meter – my monthly bill from Wessex Water, paid by direct debit, is £24. Council Tax Band E is about £220 pm.

        2. Mickey Taking
          February 4, 2024

          Why are staffing and costs of chasing down the dreadful leakage stats rarely raised?
          I’ve heard that 25% loss of potable water is about average across the regions?

        3. graham1946
          February 5, 2024

          Reply to reply
          In a country with the amount of rain we get there should be no need for rationing by price or anything else. It could be provided free, had investment been made by governments over the years to distribute and clean it. It falls from the sky free of charge. As usual there was never any money to do it as most of my life governments have messed up the economy and when there was money available it was given away for electoral purposes. I’d rather pay for it in tax (which used to be much cheaper) than featherbed foreign nationals or governments. I see you give no answer as to where all the money from privatisation went.

          Reply Large amounts have been spent on new pipes, cables, expanded networks etc

    4. Hope
      February 4, 2024

      Reply to reply: Your govt let councils build landfill sites near rivers and coastlines where rubbish soon came to the surface and washed up everywhere. It would cost so much a fudge narrative commenced and nothing was done to force councils to clear up the messes!!

      Your successive useless community secretaries have Never got a grip with councils, only shower them with more of our money! Sunak is reported to tell councils to increase their community charge by the maximum amount! Another tax your govt will blame others for! I wonder if the increased costs for housing your mass immigration policy has anything to with it.

  5. Rod Evans
    February 4, 2024

    Sir John, you carefully avoided the nationalised Health service and its expanding failure to provide any service to a growing number of customers. The backlog now standing at eight million and rising. Nature will of course provide the cure if we just wait long enough…. You could have also mentioned the nationalised education industry. Let us skate over the nationalised border control agency and avoid mention of the nationalised police force.
    Thank goodness we have a Tory party to deal with these institutionally inefficient services…..oh, they have all become even more inefficient over the past 13 years and 8 months? Let us hope a true Conservative Party emerges over the coming months/years to replace the current woke excuse we have in place now.

    1. William Long
      February 4, 2024

      Agree 100%; the NHS is the worst of the lot, and after nearly 15 years the Conservatives have no-one else to blame. They did at least try to do something about the educational system.

      1. graham1946
        February 4, 2024

        Have you forgotten the mess made by Lansley and Hunt from 2012 onwards? Waiting lists have gone from 18 weeks to years.

        1. A-tracy
          February 4, 2024

          This started from the new GP contract in 2004, pushing evenings, night and weekend requirements to the local hospitals, ambulance services for people who don’t have vehicles to get to walk in centres miles away.

          We have got to start holding NHS management to account to Graham, that is the failure of the very often replaced government ministers, but the overall failure is down to the trusts and we need to know – do any of them, one or two even succeed?

          1. Mickey Taking
            February 4, 2024

            You want the Trust boards to review their own shortcomings with a view to dismissal?
            Good luck with that.

          2. A-tracy
            February 4, 2024

            MT. Does each trust send their statistics and performance back to the Ministerial department or not?

            Does the Minister know what the waiting list is for each trust or not? Then can the Minister look at the most successful and what is working right there and the worst performing trust then zero in on the worst failure rates, which teams, which hospitals, which operations.

            If you have a retail business you zero in on which stores are the most successful, investigate footfall, the local demographics, you look at the worst performing shop, you move a couple of generals into each to give direct feedback to the Directors. You don’t blame all the shops equally, nor do you hold one Director responsible at the top, but you do if they don’t sort it out and identify areas for immediate improvement and action.

            Reply NHS England has figures fir each Trust. These are meant to be managed by the Chief Exec and Board of NHS England

          3. a-tracy
            February 5, 2024

            John, The NHS Minister must have the overall figures though and be able to see which trusts are the most successful and drill down into the statistics. Someone like Elon Musk probably doesn’t micromanage, but overall, he will get the reports he wants to see for his businesses.

            What operations are waiting over 18 months? Are they big operations requiring overnight stays? Could we hire medical teams from Spain out of their tourist season when their private hospital is quiet to empty some of the backlogs?

          4. graham1946
            February 5, 2024

            There should not be so many trusts with their boards, CEO’s, accounts and buying, all duplicating efforts – there are over 200 of them.

    2. Hope
      February 4, 2024

      +many

  6. Lifelogic
    February 4, 2024

    Rishi Sunak:-
    “We have been clear that the Horizon scandal is a terrible miscarriage of justice, and we are doing everything we can to make it right. To what the hon. Member was more broadly insinuating, let me be unequivocal from this Dispatch Box that covid vaccines are safe.”

    Yes a miscarriage of our dire legal system and many lawyers but also of the Post Office run and owned by government, by ministers especially Ed Davey… has he resigned yet? Sunak, you are remotely not doing everything you can you are still trying to short change them badly.

    “To what the hon. Member was more broadly insinuating, let me be unequivocal from this Dispatch Box that covid vaccines are safe.”

    Bridgen was not “insinuating” Sunak, merely implying correctly that you might like to look at the appalling statistics. Instead he is still deluded or perhaps is just lying. Or perhaps like Ed Davey he is being lied to on an industrial scale by his experts (if so get some decent and honest experts). I though Sunak thinks he is good at maths so look yourself Sunak the statistics are very clear indeed.

    1. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      Sir Ed Davey also facing questions over his paid “Consultancy” work for a law firm that defended the Post Office against legal action over the Horizon scandal. Has he commented on this yet?

      1. Hope
        February 4, 2024

        LL,
        Sunak has not got a clue whether they were safe, nor does he care. If he did as a matter of public safety and national emergency would get experts across the board to examine the facts, excluding the likes of Whitty, Valance, Ferguson, Harries etc.

        Let us face it the govt is contracted to buy the rubbish and compensate thousands of families who have died! Plough on and deny it 7 til 30 years has passed! Dr Kelly scandal held secret by Blaire, why?

        1. Lifelogic
          February 4, 2024

          +1

    2. Donna
      February 4, 2024

      The Establishment is determined to protect the mRNA “industry” from scrutiny, let alone accountability, for the huge number of people adversely affected by the experimental product they coerced and in some cases mandated, on people who were at no risk from Covid.

      Bridgen alleges he was told by a Minister that he (Bridgen) was probably right but the Government wanted to hush it up for 20 years.

      1. Sharon
        February 4, 2024

        It’s not just the UK establishment that are hushing up the vaccine harms…

        A nurse friend had some in-house training recently and was told that the mRNA vaccines are the future.

        Is this why it’s all being hushed up/denied? Because all future vaccines are to be mRNA style?

        1. Donna
          February 4, 2024

          That’s the plan. “Coincidentally” the British Government has entered into a contract with ModeRNA to for mRNA research and development ….. and large-scale delivery of jabs.

          So has Canada. And Australia. What a lot of “coincidences.”

          And it is already well known (if you don’t rely on the MSM for information) that the USA is “heavily implicated” in the creation of Covid and the jab development.

          1. Mickey Taking
            February 4, 2024

            IF and a big IF, the US funded in some way the research on severe disabling symptoms from introducing a corona type virus, then implication is wrong. Breaking isolation rules in Labs and the Chinese hush hush resulting is possibly the issue.

      2. Lifelogic
        February 4, 2024

        +1

    3. Everhopeful
      February 4, 2024

      I wonder what this means? “Simplus and Salesforce have combined forces to develop Infosys Vaccine Management Solution.” Is it current, future or past? Very involved with vaccines anyway!
      If he’d had the reaction my sister and husband had I can not think how he would have got up in parliament making such claims.
      Do we have a list of MPs that were jabbed?

      1. Everhopeful
        February 4, 2024

        Oh…I see…respect their privacy.
        Not ours though.

  7. DOM
    February 4, 2024

    Rail strikes are part of a Labour-union plan to create an atmosphere of chaos and dysfunction that then affords Labour a reason to declare that they and only they is able restore calm to an industry undermined by so called Tory incompetence and under-funding. This Reichstag tactic is obvious to those who choose to see it. It’s a total scam that betrays the end-user and the private taxpayer. How does a Tory government respond? They don’t respond, they simply appease.

    1. Rod Evans
      February 4, 2024

      For the reasons you have stated the Tory Party will be destroyed at the next election. The voters are asking what is the point of voting for a bunch of no hopers wearing a blue rosette when you can have the real no hoper thing in a red rosette.
      Our political system needs Reform.

    2. A-tracy
      February 4, 2024

      I agree Dom and it will magically right itself with some extra holidays, free rail tickets for extended family and gifts that don’t show up.

  8. agricola
    February 4, 2024

    While I agree with you, we are appalling at managing nationalised services, there has to be a better way of running national services for the long suffering public. I am not privy to it, but whatever it is they do, the Japanese from personal experience run excellent railways. If you recall it was the japanese who taught us how to run successful car manufacture. None of their car manufacturers in the UK suffer the disruptions and losses of our nationalised industries. Though they must be sticking pin in dolls of politicians due to their nett zero dictats.

    If we could lift much of what works in japanese industry and graft it onto our nationalised industry it would be a start. If you ever meet directors from the japanese car industry you will find they are fully familiar with all the processes on the factory, having worked their way up from their youth on the factory floor, even finance directors. No sinecures for members of the house of Lords in Japan. They involve their workforce at every level in the process, no one feels they are just doing a job. They are heavily into ISO9000 and QS9000 so that the end product is the best it can be. Equally relevant to services as it is to car manufacture. Whether their services suffer the level of civil service incompetence as ours I know not, but somehow I doubt it.

    I also doubt that when it comes to financing public services in Japan , they do not rush to flog them off to any jonny foreigner, letting the customers suffer the consequences of poor and expensive service. I also doubt they run computer controlled systems that keep the customer at a safe distance and ask FAQs of total irrelevancs to the customers problem.

    As a starting point our nationalised industries should accept that the customer is god and build their whole ethos from that premis. Currently they are the antithesis of this.

    Reply Japan has lower GDP per head than UK and a massive state debt two and a half times larger than ours relative to the size of the economy.
    1960 s and 1970 s Japan did develop important quality and efficiency techniques in Toyota and other car plants which have been incorporated into western factory standards. As you say Japanese car plants in the UK achieve good results but so too do other owners of manufacturing plants here. I always used these quality methods when leading industrial companies.
    When as a Minister I tried to adapt these to public service provision I found it difficult to get buy in from the civil service. My version of just in time was to set maximum delays for deciding cases and answering enquiries, which relapsed if you took the pressure off or changed Ministerial jobs. My adaptation of the quality system sought to design out of process the capacity for error. This was counter cultural to the public sector.

    1. Peter
      February 4, 2024

      Agricola,

      ‘ They are heavily into ISO9000 and QS9000 so that the end product is the best it can be.’

      I was with you until the statement above.

      In this country at least, it was just a form-filling exercise and time-stealer with no obvious benefit. I do remember a section on diversity. Nobody said anything after the presentation. Get it over quickly and another box was ticked. Then back to work.

    2. agricola
      February 4, 2024

      Reply to reply,
      Thanks for your insight into working with the civil service. It seems to me that we need a new employment contract for all members of the CS.

      1. Peter
        February 4, 2024

        Ag,

        I was not working in the civil service. The ISO racket was widespread in the private sector. Firms liked to advertise ISO accreditation.

        1. Mickey Taking
          February 4, 2024

          True.

        2. Berkshire Alan
          February 4, 2024

          Agree ISO 9000 was simply a paperwork trailing system for a proven record keeping system.
          There was absolutely nothing in it that had to prove or approve quality.
          If you had the worst product in the World, and could prove that fact with your paperwork/computer records, then you qualified for ISO 9000 approval.

          1. Mickey Taking
            February 4, 2024

            yep – – a cost for producing the paperwork which added nothing to efficiency or product quality.

    3. forthurst
      February 4, 2024

      Reply to reply. We have a higher GDP per capita partly because the activities of the large public sector are added at cost not added value. We also have a substantial negative current account balance where Japan has a positive one. However, is not a huge amount of Japanese industrial production offshored so that much of their GDP per capita is converted into their positive balance of trade? The debt of their state is a consequence of the Japanese having little space to store gizmos so they save their earnings instead which the government mops up.
      Of course the Japanese have an asset beyond price, namely a monoculture, something that we had before 1948 until the enemy within got to work. The latter tried to foist multi-culti on the Japanese after their WWII defeat and occupation, but the Japanese remained steadfast in protecting their culture and identity.

  9. Karl Darlow
    February 4, 2024

    Am I missing something, or are you simply telling us that the Conservatives have done a dreadful job in government for the last 14 years?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      Indeed some of the things they got wrong – the size of government, not preparing for a pro Brexit vote (Cameron), net zero, the net harm lockdowns, not investigating the net harm Covid vaccines, taxes at the highest level for 70+ years, botched part Brexit, the vast government waste, the dire and declining public services, the HS2 lunacy, the pointless degrees for £50 debt, the open door immigration for all including violent criminals, the QE inflation of 12%+ that Sunak/Bailey caused, the PPE frauds…

  10. David+L
    February 4, 2024

    A private company’s first duty is to its shareholders. For all its faults the railway system must be run for the benefit of its customers under a united system and if it’s a choice between state or private ownership then the least worst is obvious.

    1. Dave Andrews
      February 4, 2024

      The railway system couldn’t exist without government subsidy. This gives the workforce leverage to hold strikes for more pay. If it really was run for the benefit of the customers ticket prices would be unaffordable. The government isn’t prepared to bite the bullet and axe the majority of lines.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      Well often in the case of the lesser used trains they make more by not running them. Just as the NHS would save a fortune by not opening and firing everyone. Also new rules mean companies have to look after all sorts of “stakeholders” and woke diversity lunacy now not so much shareholders.

  11. Bryan Harris
    February 4, 2024

    Socialists can never come up with anything new – they keep humming the same old tunes, over and over – doesn’t matter how many times those tunes have failed to enjoy support or be effective.

    Socialism is for the dead of mind – it doesn’t work in the real world. Ye Gods there have been enough examples of socialism as a pathetically useless ideology…. When will people learn!

    1. hefner
      February 4, 2024

      ‘Same old tunes, ever and ever’: what about the same old ‘the public bad, the private good’ that Sir John has been singing for 38 years as a MP?
      Taking water provision, distribution and wastewater treatment as an example, there are solutions other than nationalised or private ownership that appear to work in other countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, parts of Spain, RoI: community-based water supply and management organisations (gwp.org, mdpi.com, …).

      In England, thanks to not particularly clever politicians, we have ‘privatised water, profits before people’.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 4, 2024

      Indeed but there are votes in pushing mad socialism politics of envy, promises to rob the rich to help the poor, rob landlords to “help” tenants (if does not anyway), control prices (to create shortages of supply), tax the rich amd hard working to death (so they leave or stop working)… Look at Labour proposals now to make users of private schools pay 4 times over with VAT instead of just 3 times and to abolish non Dom status. Neither will raise net money they will cost more both will do economic and other huge damage. To be a Socialist you have to be irrational, very dim or just a dishonest liar. Lying for votes but knowing it will do net harm.

    3. Andre
      February 4, 2024

      And yet we are even further along the socialist route, after 14 years of Tory government, than we were under Blair/Brown.

  12. HF Clark
    February 4, 2024

    Nail on head, sir!

  13. Berkshire Alan
    February 4, 2024

    So if Nationalised services are worse, we have to ask ourselves why, is it simply poor management and staff, if so then it should be easy to sack those responsible and employ better ones, if it is simply lack of investment then planned expenditure is required.
    Probably the real cause is political interference, political dogma, indifference, or the lack of a proper economic plan in the first place.
    The common denominator in all of the services that are failing, are politicians who do not seem to have a clue what is required, what is going on, or how to fix it.
    The so called chain of command appears to be complicated, confusing, lengthy, and expensive, probably due to the fact that those in charge, the Politicians and Quango’s, not having a real clue about the industry they are trying to run. All seem more interested in talk, talk and self preservation, rather than walking the walk, and taking responsibility.
    There is absolutely no reason why state owned services should not run properly if the right people were in charge, unfortunately the politicians will not allow that.
    The fact that we are now getting government policies which are trying to limit types of commercial car production, shows how far we have sunk into a political quagmire.

    Reply Nationalised industries usually had huge investment programmes which went wrong, like HS 2 for rail. E,g, the costly building of five big integrated steel works,only to spend the next 20 years debating their progressive closures

    1. forthurst
      February 4, 2024

      That was Macmillan who decided to site steel works in areas of high unemployment in order to buy votes. My recollection is that nationalised industries were run by retired politicians.

      Reply No,it was a plan of Labour nit run by ex politicians

      1. forthurst
        February 4, 2024

        H Macmillan did preside over the siting of new strip mill capacity.

    2. Berkshire Alan
      February 4, 2024

      Reply – Reply

      Yes John well aware that some industries had almost unending funding, but that gets back to my original point, Tax payer money was given to the wrong people (in charge) by people who did not have a clue they were the wrong people in the first place. You are one of the few Mp’s who have big business Commercial and Banking experience, sadly the vast majority of Mp’s do not have a clue !

    3. Timaction
      February 4, 2024

      All health, public and emergency services are failing due to woke EDI/ ESG, non Equality selection processes, meaning the inadequate clueless leaders just talk diversity/white privilege, etc whilst those deserving of promotion ( white English men) look on in disgust. We have reached a critical mass crisis. If you don’t agree I challenge anyone to try and get a reasonable response on the phone let alone any of their services.

  14. Everhopeful
    February 4, 2024

    Whatever their productivity or whatever else they might be judged by I have nothing but lovely memories of our old privatised services.
    The nightmare started with Major.
    “Tell Sid” was it?
    Dreadful.

    1. Everhopeful
      February 4, 2024

      Oh no!
      I don’t mean that I would like some present day form of nationalisation! ( Aren’t the appalling railways now semi nationalised?)
      Good grief NO!
      I just hate, fear and loathe what has gradually been done to this country from the 90s on.
      Not a land fit for heroes nor anyone else for that matter.

      1. Everhopeful
        February 4, 2024

        Conscription eh?
        Apparently the bones of those who fought at Waterloo were ground down for fertiliser.
        Teeth already taken after battle. No graves at Waterloo.
        And we have a cenotaph because our lovely leaders could not be ars*d to bring back the fallen.
        They can’t even allow the Brize Norton corteges.
        And still they scratch their heads over lack of recruits.
        Not to mention the fact that they have made crimes out of all aggressive instinct.

  15. James Freeman
    February 4, 2024

    The problem with privatisation is that governments have corrupted it over the years, so it is now less effective.

    – They first started to privatise monopolies. So, instead of consumers deciding the company’s performance, a quango regulator does it less effectively.

    – Then, instead of floating the business on the stock exchange, where the public gained from under-valuations, they started to sell off businesses as trade sales or to private equity. The profits went to big business instead.

    – They then flooded outsourced and privatised businesses with new regulations, market rigging and micromanagement by Civil Servants. The inevitable result was a poor performance.

    Get back to creating competitive markets for government services. Make the companies autonomous and sell them off to sink or swim on the stock exchange.

  16. Narrow Shoulders
    February 4, 2024

    It is not privatisation that creates the efficiencies that improve services and reduce prices but competition. Water, and Rail privatisations did not create competition. Why can’t I buy tickets for my train at lower prices through a reseller? Why can’t I buy my water through a reseller offering better service and better pricing?

    Gas and Electricity infrastructure has not improved because the grid is nationalised as is the rail network.

    Privatised industries, especially that where delivery of the service is a monopoly need very good regulators that permit competition, demand improved infrastructure and stop price gauging (but not impose caps).

    That train companies are private does not stop the unions demanding money from the government, suggests the privatisation model was not a good one.

    1. Ian B
      February 4, 2024

      @Narrow Shoulders – the regulators all start out well meaning, a job for someone that in the real world would otherwise be unemployable is placed there to ensure fair play for the consumer. Then things morph to them serving their industry masters above all else. Why does the Gas & Electricity regulator set a maximum price and then all the companies only choose to sell at the maximum price?
      We are told wind power is cheap, but all other sources of energy are taxed extra to subsidies it

  17. Bloke
    February 4, 2024

    DENATIONALISE THE NHS: Suggestion.
    Instead of charging tax for the NHS, allocate it as a personal budget the public to spend it as they need.
    The best private medical care value would attract most.
    The NHS can compete and thrive if it is worth paying for.
    The cost of people with special needs for more would be charged to their parents’ or children’s balance.
    Healthy people with a high balance can donate it to those they love or want to assist. Govt would assist those most at risk.
    Everyone’s unused balance would add to boost their pension at 65.
    What’s wrong with that?

  18. MPC
    February 4, 2024

    Labour’s policy to fully nationalise the railways is an example of the application of Brexit freedoms as it appears to be out of step with the EU’s 2001 directive on deregulation of rail services. Which policy do you prefer then – EU or Labour?

  19. Chris S
    February 4, 2024

    Whatever the problems, Nationalisation is never the answer.
    Labour, as always, is in hock to the Unions, and even the Conservatives have not properly seen off the RMT and ASLEF, have they ?

    These communist-led unions will demand and get lots more cash for their members and there will be no chance or any badly needed modernisation of working practices. Network Rail’s operations are far too expensive compared with European rivals. The electrification of the line from Paddington to Bristol is an object lesson in how not to run an infrastructure project and we don’t need to mention HS2, do we ?

    But again, we know that Labour won’t demand changes. They will just write ever-larger cheques that we will have to pay for.

  20. Dave Andrews
    February 4, 2024

    Nationalisation doesn’t work because: the workforce feels they can hold the government to ransom, the workforce don’t feel they can make a contribution as any good ideas make them despised amongst their neophyte colleagues, the industry is divorced from the public that are supposed to be served.
    Privatisation (for essential service monopolies that is) doesn’t work because: the owners can supplement their income from government subsidy and don’t need to be competitive, the object is to return profits to the owners not produce a good service, any bright spark working for them keeps his good ideas to himself as they just become someone else’s property and they don’t benefit themselves.
    Labour likes nationalisation because it gives their union backers political power. The Tories like privatisation because they can sell something off to bribe the electorate.
    Any system, like mutualisation, where the customer has control never sees the light of day.

  21. Cliff..Wokingham.
    February 4, 2024

    Sir John,
    When Mrs T first started to privatise some of the publicly owned utilities and national industries, I very much supported her policy. I now find myself having doubts about it.
    With the possible exception of the telecommunications industry, I cannot think of a single example where the private sector has made a positive impact on behalf of the user or customer. Energy is out of control price wise. Water is mismanaged and getting more expensive by the month. Healthcare is shockingly wanting. The railways are too expensive, unreliable and stressful to use if you’re disabled or vulnerable.
    A common theme is that as prices have increased, value for money and levels of service has diminished.
    I have come to the conclusion that essential services, such as water, energy and healthcare need to be run on a not for profit basis using the best both sectors can offer.
    It could be argued that with the influence outside businesses and organisations such as the WEF, have on governments and policy, we have almost privatised government which is bad for democracy.

    Reply NHS is public sector and railways largely renationalised! Telecoms transformed, energy got cheaper and in good supply until government intervened with carbon and windfall taxes and net zero

    1. forthurst
      February 4, 2024

      Coloured telephones for the masses. BT built two factories to manufacture fibre cable and fibre optic controls. BT was blocked by politicians and the factories were sold off to the Japanese who now sell us back our technology. Just think we could all have had fibre to the premises rolled out as standard and the complete removal of copper wire, all supplied by a nationalised industry.

      Reply Nationalised BT backed national electro mechanical technology for switching as the US moved to electronic. Much money wasted on Strowger in Uk before. privatised Bg modernised

  22. Donna
    February 4, 2024

    People are only being persuaded that a nationalised rail industry may be desirable because the Not-a-Conservative-Party has, for the past 14 years, made an absolute horlicks of monitoring/managing/subsidising the franchised services and Network Rail (track and infrastructure maintenance).

    It was, of course, the EU which required the separation of track and the services which would run on it. It was also the EU which required HS2. This is their goal:
    https://www.europarl.europa.eu/factsheets/en/sheet/130/rail-transport

    The Government has also made a complete horlicks of managing/monitoring/subsidising other other essential former nationalised industries.

    Outsourcing essential services to the private sector, usually foreign-owned and then appointing an incompetent, inefficient and easily manipulated Quango (stuffed with people who have never run a business) to supposedly oversee them on behalf of the consumer is obviously a flawed and failing model.

    So why hasn’t the Not-a-Conservative-Government changed it? Why do they continue to create useless Quangos and refuse to light the bonfire we were promised?

    1. hefner
      February 6, 2024

      See also stophs2.org 18/11/2013 ‘So, is HS2 ‘driven’ by the EU?’ which clearly discusses the respective role of the EU and the British Government in setting up HS2. And surprise, surprise, it is much more complicated than the simplistic ‘EU required HS2’.

  23. G
    February 4, 2024

    Are you saying that both nationalised and privatised versions of industry have both proved equally ruinous?

  24. Ed M
    February 4, 2024

    Trains is a problem for all countries – not just the UK. Most / all (?) leading Western countries seem to have a mix of private and public money in the trains.

    We shouldn’t get too bogged down on this issue (except to try and have a train service as good as if not better than Switzerland). Just have to do the best we can. Rather we need to focus on building up our high-tech industry so we don’t have to worry so much about trains.

  25. G
    February 4, 2024

    Also, please correct me if I am wrong, but you always base your view on comparatively recent case studies – 60s or 70s until present.

    Perhaps a different view emerges when looking much further back?

  26. Charles Breese
    February 4, 2024

    The types of project which you mention need running with the mindset of an intelligent long term owner – that mindset cannot be created within the public sector. I was told by a well known economist that the Treasury’s planning does not go beyond five years, and yet the implementation of solutions to some of the UK’s key problems will take significantly longer than five years.

    1. Donna
      February 4, 2024

      When it comes to the railway, the mindset of the long-term owner has been imposed by the EU. The British Government/DfT have just been implementing EU policy.

      If you look at the link Sir John kindly allowed to be published in my comment above, it would appear that the EU’s long-term policy goals have dated from at least 1969 (probably earlier):
      “Through the Fourth Railway Package, Regulation (EEC) No 1192/69 of 26 June 1969 on common rules for the normalisation of the accounts of railway undertakings was repealed and replaced ……..”

  27. Everhopeful
    February 4, 2024

    Just been reading one of those “Next Door” sites.
    The terrible stress and worry people have from the abysmal energy companies that have been foisted on us. Folk on “pay as you go” presented with £800 bills and so on.
    But aren’t a lot of these companies owned by foreign govts anyway? ( lovely)
    So do we have nationalisation of energy by treachery?

    1. graham1946
      February 4, 2024

      Tories hate nationalisation unless it is foreign owned.

      1. Everhopeful
        February 4, 2024

        +++
        Ha!
        Yes …spot on.

      2. Ian B
        February 4, 2024

        @graham1946 +1

        So true – it hurts

      3. glen cullen
        February 4, 2024

        Our government forced decarbonisation on Tata Steel which they welcomed with a subsidy ….thats form of nationalisation

  28. Original Richard
    February 4, 2024

    Nationalisation, like socialism and its inevitable extreme, communism, may look good in theory but always fails in practice. But it’s coming our way anyway.

    The CCA and the Net Zero Strategy is designed to transition us to the communist style command economy declared necessary to enforce the rationing of energy, food and transport required to achieve net zero CO2 emissions.

    We shall shortly be seeing the consequences in the motor industry. As the Government forces us to use expensive, impractical and dangerous bevs the number of manufacturers and vehicles on offer will decline rapidly to the higher margin top end models only.

    There is no CAGW caused by the burning of hydrocarbon fuels as shown by the calculations of Happer & Wijngaarden on the real atmosphere, including water vapour, omitted by the IPCC models, because of IR saturation (see the CO2 Coalition website for details or use YouTube)

    1. hefner
      February 4, 2024

      OR, As you must have obviously realised H&W computed the upward IR flux at the top of the atmosphere, ie one value in a N x N matrix (where N is the number of layers used to describe the atmosphere).
      It means their paper does not consider at all the downward fluxes nor the upward fluxes at all other levels in the atmosphere. And, one obviously needs both the upward and downward fluxes at all levels to be able to say anything meaningful about the profile of the IR cooling rate (which as you certainly know is obtained as the derivative of the net flux with height or pressure) and how it might change with an increase of CO2 concentration.
      I do not doubt that you had seen clearly through this legerdemain that helps them maintain their fan club under their spell.

      (Wow, I am getting almost as OTT as DOM).

      1. Peter
        February 4, 2024

        ‘ (Wow, I am getting almost as OTT as DOM).’

        You would need a very different vocabulary for that – ‘vile’, ‘scum’, ‘treacherous’, ‘cancer’ etc.

      2. Original Richard
        February 4, 2024

        hefner :

        The test of any scientific theory is how well it matches the observed data. If it doesn’t match then it is of no use no matter how good it looks. Happer & Wijngaarden’s calculations match the observed spectral data impressively well on the equator, at the Meditarranean latitude and even at the Antarctic. So good is the match at the Antarctic that it shows, correctly, that CO2 cools rather than warms above Antarctica. I recommend everyone to go and check their results for themselves on YouTube or from the CO2 Coalition website.

        1. Rod Evans
          February 5, 2024

          Thanks Richard, The facts are known sadly the propaganda rather than facts are still being pushed into young minds, by our so called teachers.
          For the avoidance of doubt. Climate change is a real phenomena, climate has always been in a state of change.
          What is not real, is what is being taught to our children and grandchildren that climate change is man made. It is not. Climate variation has virtually zero correlation with CO2. I say virtually because if we had no CO2 we would have no life (as we know it) on Earth. The climate would be very different though no one would ever know because we would not exist.

        2. hefner
          February 5, 2024

          As I already pointed out, it is not true. If the agreement were so great, H&W would have shown a plot of the differences instead of plots of the obs. and computations next to each other.
          Look at proper scientific papers linked to radiation transfer (RT) in various types of models (specially comparing with various recent satellite data sets, not the 1970 interferometer data from the Nimbus-4 satellite used by H&W) difference plots are very common.
          And the Antarctica plot is easy to obtain thanks to the huge temperature inversion at the surface and first few levels of lower planetary boundary layer. So nothing special about H&W being able to get it.

          Given the progress these last few years, RT in models is moving towards being handled by Deep Learning/Machine Learning/AI blocks of codes. Given that trend, I guess H&W will have something on the topic around … 2040 at the earliest.

  29. Ralph Corderoy
    February 4, 2024

    ‘They milk taxpayers, sending all their losses to the Treasury to pay.’

    Fiat money makes this possible. As ever more losses arrive, Government debt expands. Monetary inflation then erodes the debt. Fix the money then losses erode the Government’s size. Government money is already avoided by citizens in some countries. Citizens of the G7 and EU are starting to catch up. Governments are removing more freedoms to slow the increase in avoidance: CBDCs to allow significantly negative rates, date-of-birth banning of fags pushes ID cards.

  30. Rod Evans
    February 4, 2024

    For the reasons you have stated the Tory Party will be destroyed at the next election. The voters are asking what is the point of voting for a bunch of no hopers wearing a blue rosette when you can have the real no hoper thing in a red rosette.
    Our political system needs Reform.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 4, 2024

      exactly.

  31. Bert+Young
    February 4, 2024

    Let’s face it – things are in a right old mess . It’s time to put the dirty clothes in the washing machine – and it’s not a Labour made one . I have recently completed the obituary of an old friend of mine for publication in the “Telegraph” ; he was a giant in the industrial relations field and brought about significant change ; ACAS and CIR were features of his involvement and something like that is needed now . His name was Sir Oscar De Ville .

  32. DOM
    February 4, 2024

    ‘London Mayor Sadiq Khan is investing £150 million in a secret technology project that aims to enhance road-user charging technology, sparking concerns that it could lead to a pay-per-mile road tax. The Telegraph has the story.’

    ——

    Will some brave MP expose this repulsive politician’s sinister plan or is Khan’s fascist auto plan now part of the state’s wider intentions with London being used as a test bed?

    These petty, evil despots will keep pushing their authoritarian agenda until something snap’s and both main parties will be swept from existence

    1. Donna
      February 4, 2024

      You may find this interesting:

      “Distance-based road pricing, or pay-as-you-drive, is the option supported by the Independent Climate Change Committee and the cross-party House of Commons Transport Committee.”

      The CONsensus in the Westminster Uni-Party is that road pricing is desirable, so the chance of the Not-a-Conservative-Party causing problems for Khan’s scheme is nil.
      https://bettertransport.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/legacy-files/research-files/22.09.pay-as-you-drive-report.pdf

      1. Ian B
        February 4, 2024

        @DOM & Donna – roughly speaking we already pay over 50% in taxes on our fuel. The more fuel you use the more you pay. So you have road pricing
        I would suggest that so-called road pricing is nothing more than the State monitoring the individual. Mr Khan already track everyone in his territory through his ULEZ scheme, it tracks the innocent as well as those that infringe his rules.
        EV’s of course are a different matter, in effect you have there the rich being subsidized by the poor

  33. Javelin
    February 4, 2024

    The structural and functional changes brought about by woke ideology will become an ideological battle to prevent a catastrophic collapse. This battle will take the form of civil division, social conflict and financial ruin. It will take this form because the sides are politically divided, culturally divided and one side demands financial dominance over the producers of wealth.

    If you think otherwise just look at the news on a day to day basis and look at the trajectory, then look at the barriers. There is an accelerating trajectory and no barriers to stop it.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      Yes I agree. Ayn Rand had the answer.

  34. Ian B
    February 4, 2024

    Sir John
    While I agree with you in principle the way successive governments have privatized things is for the most part is equally un-balanced and working against the consumer.
    The Water Companies for one at the extreme, they are private they get to own the infrastructure that was paid for by the Taxpayer, can charge what they like and deliver the service they feel they want to deliver. There is no Competition!
    When you get on the train at Wokingham and travel to Waterloo on the private operated train – who do they compete against? There is no Competition! Accepted you could drive to Twyford and get on a Mayor Khan’s train, but would you call that Competition? Or hassle.
    There are just some things that don’t quite fit the correct format for total privatization. That said Government should never be allowed to run these sorts of things on a day-to-day basis. Government are worse than rubbish at running things.
    Far better that the Taxpayer stayed the owner of the UK’s infrastructure where Competition can’t be assured and delivered with the day-to-day running awarded on a fixed term contract. Reflect on the failing Water Companies in this regard, if they didn’t get to own exclusively the infrastructure, it would be a simple situation they could be in breach of contract and someone else would get to run the operation.
    With regard to funding the infrastructure in these situations, without having ownership we still have the taxpayer handing over money to improve these systems. Again, the water Companies handed millions in taxpayer funding, for what reason, just a failing business that doesn’t have competition. Yet it is the Shareholders, the Private Companies are the only ones that see the profits, there is no pay back for the taxpayer, and that happens regardless of performance

    Reply The owners of privatised utilities paid taxpayers/the state to buy the original assets. They have now spent billions of their money on improving and expanding the assets. Owning the assets imposes a strain on maintenance and modernisation which the state as nationalised owner was bad at. When BT was privatised our phone system was around 10 years behind the US one for bad and lack of investment.

    1. Ian B
      February 4, 2024

      The other flaw in the Governments arm’s length approach. Is they set up ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ and call them the watch-dogs to look after the consumer interest. It never happens, through lobbying etc. industry watch-dog’s finish up working for the industry instead of being consumers umpire for the Consumer. So, they work against the Consumer.
      Just look at Ofgem, they define a maximum price their friends can charge, they all raise their prices to that level regardless, that’s not competition!. Similar with Ofcom and so on the are working against the consumer for the benefit of others.
      The cynic in mean seas that these ‘jobs-for-the-boys’ guys who couldn’t get real jobs are just cozying up to what they hope is those that will award them their next high paid position

    2. Ian B
      February 4, 2024

      @Reply – using my example the Water Companies(similar elsewhere), they own everything, they have no Competition. They can charge what the wish, they still get large amounts of taxpayer funding. If they fail the consumer the consumer cant go elsewhere. The cost is prohibited for a start up and the way the UK works planning etc it is not feasible for others to enter the market – so no Competition.
      The water companies have sold off reservoir facilities to housing development instead of up-grading or replacing them, leaving the consumer short of water. Then the consumer get the blame for using water.
      I am a great believer in private enterprise running everything as time and time again governments have show they just don’t have what appears to be the basic acumen to manage anything hands on. We have just got the model wrong

    3. hefner
      February 4, 2024

      Sir John, your comment stands for telecommunications. Certainly not for utilities that have to rely on a unique distribution network: water supply and treatment, electricity, gas.

      For water in particular, you have been strangely silent these last few months when the problems with Thames Water have been repeatedly on the news.

      How can you justify
      – the previous Thames Water CEO (Ms S.B.) leaving the company last July with a £14 bn debt, when a non negligible part of it (at least £2 bn) had been used not for investment but for paying dividends?
      – Or the head of OfWat (Ms C.R.) becoming the co-CEO of Thames Water last year?
      – Or the recent announcement (01/2024) of Thames Water consumer price increases:
      Unmeasured bill increases: water only 15%, waste only 7.5%, dual service 11.7%
      Measured bill increases:…..water only 14.9%, waste only 7.8%, dual service 11.6%
      (thameswater.co.uk 01/02/2023 ‘Statement of Assurance’, 8 pp.)

      theguardian.com 30/06/2023 ‘In charts: How privatisation drained Thames Water’s coffers’.
      theguardian.com 02/10/2023 ‘Price of water: by how much could bills in England go up and why?
      mywokingham.co.uk 05/04/2023 ‘Warning sewage discharge into Wokingham rivers’.
      bracknellnews.co.uk 13/06/2023 ‘Answers demanded from Thames Water over Wokingham sinkholes’.

  35. glen cullen
    February 4, 2024

    Your policy of net-zero is nationalisation across the whole of the country, its industry and its economy ….its government full control

    1. Ian B
      February 4, 2024

      @glen cullen +1 so very true

  36. Geoffrey Berg
    February 4, 2024

    Yes, but we should also tackle the biggest parts of the public sector, health and education and maybe social (quasi-public), not for profit housing.
    I can see why health and education are for good reason mainly publicly funded but I cannot see why they should be publicly, uncompetitively operated. Long ago the parental education voucher concept was suggested for school funding and that would be a good system, especially if that included ‘for profit’ education. Something similar could be applied to at least most health services.
    As for housing, the social housing sector (including much still Council owned property) manages nowadays to charge practically as much rent as much of the private housing sector but wastes so much money (mainly on overmanning and inefficient systems) that tenants don’t generally get a better deal than in the private sector where the landlord keeps most of the rent as ‘profit’. Let’s look to sell more of that inefficient social housing(where nobody unlike in private rental is actually truly accountable for anything) sector off.

  37. G
    February 4, 2024

    Surely private shareholders do not always run the industries they invest in?!

    In emerging sectors, surely government subsidies or funding of any kind can be considered as investments? If that is wrong, I do not understand why…

  38. hefner
    February 4, 2024

    O/T: 04/02/2024 Telegraph, ‘First UK patients receive experimental messenger RNA cancer therapy’.

    O/T2 FT.com 30/01/2024 ‘Can the UK afford to build better infrastructure?’
    UK price of one km of new road: £8.45 mn, equivalent in the EU £5.77 mn. And UK lags behind other G7 countries in investment.

    1. R.Grange
      February 4, 2024

      Hefner: Not sure why you mentioned the multi-nation mRNA trial set up by the American company Moderna. It doesn’t reflect on this country’s economic performance.

      1. hefner
        February 4, 2024

        I had pointed that it was Off/Topic. Otherwise maybe just to rile the #£&@ who after more than three years thinks and keeps repeating that mRNA is gene therapy?

        1. Hat man
          February 5, 2024

          Of course it’s gene therapy. The key claim is that mRNA doesn’t alter our genetic makeup. That’s fine if true, but the technology uses RNA, a single-stranded nucleic acid, part of our genetic makeup, and is described as ‘therapeutic’ in publications such as Nature.

          1. hefner
            February 5, 2024

            mRNA vaccines do not enter the cell nucleus, do not affect the DNA contained in the nucleus, and therefore do not affect the genes (ie, the sequences of nucleotides that form the DNA).
            Information available to any undergraduate student of a BSc Biology taking the Genetics option.

  39. RDM
    February 4, 2024

    What about taking a pragmatic approach?

    A Hybrid model based on Competitiveness! Meaning percentage held by a British Holding Company (>= 51%), and the rest, the shares, sold on a Financial Market?

    The Holding Company could be the British Business Bank (Public, but not Government controlled), which would leverage the assets to fund long term projects? Nuclear Power Stations?

    With control ultimately held by the Bank, above, there would be no problem selling the shares to oversea investors!

    As long as it had 51% (controlling share)! With the long term investments Risk is under pinned by confidence held by the Bank guaranteed ownership of controlling share! Bring much needed stability, or certainty!

    You would think this option would be obvious, but too many Politicians are being idealistic (or stupid, or greedy), given the geopolitical environment we (always have) live in! Ref; the arguments that David Camerom (GO) had when they were trying to sell everything off (Re; the damage to the Virgin Steel Industry, Owner Drivers)!

    We do not, and never have, lived in an idealistic world, with open Free Markets!

    We need to learn to protect the British Interest, a lot more! Virgin Steel Making, Cheap (home grown) energy, etc,…!

    But, Not all of the industry! The rail Industry has some lines that would not needed it! They are mostly strategic lines, and are Profitable!

    BR

    RDM.

  40. Lynn Atkinson
    February 4, 2024

    In addition the CofE had defrauded taxpayers out of billions and British people out of their country and culture by colluding with liars and bogus ‘asylum seekers’ to pervert the course of Justice. No wonder their pews are empty.
    The King pays £1,800 in rates on Buckingham Palace but a small business in a £10,000 pa rented shop in Consett pays £5,400 in business rates.
    Councils are bankrupt.
    The NHS is the greatest scandal of them all.
    The Defence officials seriously think the U.K. will go to war against Russia – they have not proposed any reason for such an action. They want to mobilise the nation to secure their desk-jobs – after all there are as many of them as fighting men!
    Those that run the state need to be afraid.

    1. glen cullen
      February 4, 2024

      Especially after seeing Hunts interview this morning ….there isn’t a plan, he’s frog footing between events, any success he takes credit, any mishap its the world problem

      1. Lynn Atkinson
        February 5, 2024

        I believe he has greater personal limitations than did Major. I can’t believe that I can think that, because Major was really rock bottom….

  41. Ian B
    February 4, 2024

    The Post Office. The front facing end, the consumer end is actually maned by those under contract. It is suggested that if you fail to adhere to contract requirements you become personally liable for all loses.
    As far as I am aware no other State Worker has their pay and conditions solely based of financial performance.
    The failures seem to stem from Government bringing in management that is not fit for purpose. Which is even more galling when there is a Post Office Minister, a member of Government and paid as such, simple there to manage PO affairs and performance, on a day-today basis.
    Just as within Government as a whole we have ministers that are paid to do a job, then the point-blank refuse it. But, are more than happy with the extra money and perceived pumped up ego the position brings.
    None of this is isolated, the lead comes from the top, if they cant be bothered, they cant control spending why should other bother

  42. margaret
    February 4, 2024

    Once you let it go, it is lost. If the nationalised industries don’t work then use gumption and make them work. There are many get up and go people who could improve them

    Reply Why has that never happened

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 4, 2024

      you are asking us?

    2. Mike Wilson
      February 4, 2024

      Why has that never happened

      Because politicians don’t manage public services. They get up to Westminster, to the bars and the restaurants and the support team and the rarified atmosphere – and what they get sent there to do just evaporates. They get the big expenses, the big pension and that’s it – any thought of running the economy goes out the window. The civil service is the same – why work hard and run things efficiently and effectively when you sit back, take it easy and enjoy a cushy number. Oh, and if you get the odd nutter in who wants to work hard and make a difference, freeze them out.

      That’s why, Mr. Redwood, nationalised and public services are not run effectively. Nobody cares. All aboard the gravy train.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      Because get-up-and-go people do not become embroiled in the State and its deficiencies. Indeed they don’t even want to live in a top heavy state which is why the modern industries were founded mostly by our people in the USA. Even Musk, a Rhodesian, did not come home but went to the USA.
      I remember British politicians telling us that ‘we are a potty little country and should learn our place’. Well – they have now created the potty little country that they remain incapable of dominating, but the big thinkers and innovative minds remain British but work elsewhere.
      It’s bloody annoying!

  43. Ian B
    February 4, 2024

    Sir John
    Which ever way things get shaken out, once the Taxpayer is held hostage and forced to pay even the smallest amount, it is the Government of the day that is the responsible manager. Even to call it an investment, it is still the government that is the manager and responsible for the end result and the return on the money. An investment return is generally accepted to be the amount that can be re-invested – other wise it is just a give away by irresponsible clowns.
    How much of the Port Talbot steel works does the taxpayer get to own after we have given them ‘our’ £500million? or is it part of the Socialist NetZero Con?
    Everything gets back to the fact we have a regime of prolific spenders that just don’t accept or care about their responsibilities in this Conservative Government.

  44. Roy Grainger
    February 4, 2024

    If there is real competition then privatised companies have provided far better and cheaper products and services than when they were nationalised – telecoms and airlines and postal deliveries are three examples. However creating private sector monopolies like the water companies and creating pseudo-competition like the energy companies has resulted in no particular benefits for consumers.

    Reply I have always argued for competition and have set out how this should be achieved in water

    1. glen cullen
      February 4, 2024

      I’ve never had a choice about my water provider since the 1989 privatisation ….my bill has gone up every year, for 45+ years, they’ve been justifying the rise to replacement victoria pipes ….45 years

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      We have just had to install a whole house water filter because the water, in Northumberland, is now so contaminated that it degrades our pipes and appliances.

  45. Ed M
    February 4, 2024

    ‘The nationalised roads offer too little capacity and are bedevilled by temporary closures, congestion, slow running and potholes’ – what evidence / case studies etc do you have that capitalists are gung ho to actually want to invest in private roads?

    (Sure, there are private roads in existence, in the UK and elsewhere but like the trains, post office, utilities etc, these areas of public life are not things that capitalists / private investors are going gung ho to get in involved in. Rather we need to focus on building up our high tech economy so that we don’t have to worry about these kinds of issues about who pays for the roads – our economy will simply be strong enough to pay for decent roads including with some private investment).

    Reply Your views on Thatcher and free enterprise are wrong. The whole point of privatisation was to raise the money and use the new technologies to modernise nationalised industries which had failed.

    1. hefner
      February 4, 2024

      The end of the sentence should be rewritten to be more explanatory: ‘and this (ie, the whole point of privatisation) has failed again and again’.

      Privatisation of telecommunications has been a success, first because it uses a medium nobody owns (the air around us), second because there have been huge developments (PC, internet, web, tablet, smart phone, 3G, 4G, 5G, …) with a very large number of private entreprises involved in the various aspects of these developments.

      Now what is the equivalent for water, gas, electricity: practically inexistent, distribution networks are fixed, and the benefits of different companies potentially providing different invoicing are ridiculously small. Will one get cleaner water from a different water company when, for example, Thames Water is the only provider in Wokingham?

    2. Mike Wilson
      February 4, 2024

      The nationalised industries may have failed in your book, in mine things were better in the 1960s than they are now. People could afford to heat their homes and pay the rates. Now, council tax and gas/electricity/water are major living expenses.

      1. Ed M
        February 6, 2024

        The young middle-class today has it really tough compared to 50 years ago. They can’t get on the housing market. With lots of debt from stupid, daft degrees. No job for life. And then all the social issues where the idea of marriage is going down the spout. And so on.

  46. Rodney Needs
    February 4, 2024

    John I am not so sure about services like gas electric and water. Especially water to much profit taking and not enough investment, Now we face a increase to pay for there neglect hope government will insist they ring fence some of the money

  47. JayCee
    February 4, 2024

    And this is before you get to the biggest nationalised industry – The NHS!

  48. Mike Wilson
    February 4, 2024

    Surely it is the height of stupidity to allow foreign companies to own our water, gas and electricity infrastructure.

    I would nationalise them all – but, instead of allowing a huge and endlessly growing mob of public sector ‘workers’ to run them, I’d get the army to do it.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      😂🤣 effectively there is no army! But what there is of it is employed by the State. The multiplicity of Generals mirrors the NHS and their enthusiasm for war is terrifying – unless they go first … that would be a good strategy.

  49. glen cullen
    February 4, 2024

    Isn’t the government telling the car manufacturers that they have to sell a percentage of EVs a form of nationalisation

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      It’s pure Leninism. It was he who worked out you don’t need to nationalise (own) everything – you just need to control it….. that’s why he is not known for jackboots but silk slippers (like the Chinese who are defeating countries all across the globe – financially).

  50. KB
    February 4, 2024

    But large corporations are no better. The days of the customer being king are long over I’m afraid.
    Nowadays they tell us what we must do, not the other way round.

  51. Linda Brown
    February 5, 2024

    I think you need to look, and change, education in this country. It obviously is not providing people of quality for the jobs we want them to do. University does not train the younger element to the standard we want. My experience was that the thesis is one which the marker knows about so that the same tripe is passed around year after year. If anyone has a new idea for a thesis this is discouraged as there is no marker to appraise it. Therefore, the education system is like a nationalised industry with little aspiration. Privatisation has not worked to the advantage of the indigenous population because of foreign ownership which is only interested in taking money out and not investing, eg waterways which are filthy and like third world countries. I do not personally see how this can be remedied as we are not producing good work people who have ambitions for themselves or the country.

    1. Lynn Atkinson
      February 5, 2024

      We have to sell everything to pay for the money we give to the rest of the world – some £250 billion pa. Our children can’t get a basic education because schools are trying to teach the native speakers of 60 or so different languages. They are defeated before they finish prep school!

  52. Derek
    February 5, 2024

    As the old saying goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”.
    Surely even to the dimmest, the evidence very much stacks against Nationalisation? The Market moves when Nationalisation stagnates and therefore stinks.

  53. Peter Gardner
    February 5, 2024

    There is one thing worse than a public monopoly: a private monopoly. The regional rail operating franchises act as private monopolies. Understandably, a rail business must be able to plan for the long term so leases and licences must be long term but that means customer services can be paired down to save money without fear of losing much business to competitors, although the roads do offer a not always appropriate alternative to some. Presumably track was not privatised because even if an operating company can move its transportable assets and expertise to another region it cannot take the track and would therefore have a limited incentive to invest in the track beyond safety requirements, so public ownership was seen as necessary to ensure long term investment.
    I am not aware of any country having fully private national railways, both train and track. There variations in the structure and balanbce between private and public ownership and control and none is ideal. However where there is a dedicated single purpose, wholly private track and train works very well. For example mining compnies in places like Australia operate their own railways for freight, primarily ore, operating over thousands of km. But even they use the roads for moving heavy equipment and materiel and aircraft for personnel – fly-in – fly-out.
    Basically, there is no easy solution, as change itself is difficult, and the result is never optimal for all.
    One of the main drivers of privatisation in UK’s case was to overcome union intransigence resistance. That has not been fully overcome. Fixed structures of people are the problem rather than fixed structures of business and ownership. Giving employees a monopoly, at least in the UK, is bound to lead to poor service, poor quality and high prices. And that applies across the whole gamut of state services particularly in healthcare, where the state has an actual or effective monopoly.

    Reply The UK did privatise track. Labour renationalised it.

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