Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Bad Timing, Prime Minister

On the very day that Southern Cross, the UK's largest care homes operator, announced plans to shut down, leaving the future running of 500 of its 750 care homes in doubt, what does the Prime Minister do?

He announces that virtually everything in the country's public sector will be flogged off, including health, education, social care and housing. This, we are told, is yet another giant step towards ever more choice, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

To protect the public from the kind of enormities currently exercised by the gas and electricity producers there will be an all-powerful Ombudsman. There. Takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Reasonably charitable people will wonder at David Cameron's unfelicitous sense of timing. To more critical spirits this piece of PR ineptitude merely confirms their view of the Prime Minister as a serial incompetent.

Interestingly, last week I was talking to a multi-millionaire engineer and highly esteemed academic, a man who turned his love of microwave technology into sales, jobs and money for everyone in his employ - about 15,000 on four continents at one time. His newest company of just 20 is engaged in pioneering work, developing computerised deep-sea cutting and welding equipment for gas and oil pipelines.

When asked why gas and electricity charges were so high - reportedly 50 per cent higher than in 2007 - he guffawed a big bearish laugh and replied, "Because the companies operate a cartel...I'd nationalise the lot of them."

He's well aware that the cost of energy has been vastly inflated by central government's multi-billion pound commitment to EU energy policies.

This man, who worked his way up from a grammar-school scholarship and now drives a caviar-coloured Jaguar, looks back on most of the big privatisations, from Margaret Thatcher onwards, with a disdain equalled only by his exasperation at the education system's abject failure to produce a regular supply of home-grown electrical engineers.

China, he said, was run by trained engineers and China was in the process of rehousing 70m people a year.

Our millionaire Prime Minister wants us to believe that salvation lies in selling everything we own or know in the hope of renting it back at an economical rate.

Remember that when you sell your children into slavery to pay your next energy bill.

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