Max Boyce, the Treorchy trismegistus [*], encapsulated the whole matter of free-market exploitation in a simple question and observation:
If ham grew underground,
Would it be ten bob a pound,
And the pit-head baths
Are a supermarket now.
OK: here it comes:
The pit-head baths were the legacy of enlightened nationalisation. The supermarket evidence of how Big Business finds ways of selling, even to the unemployed. So, what and who caused the long-term unemployment? And who is punishing the unemployed (and unemployable) for their miserable condition?
Questions … idle questions
But here’s some more:
- Would it have been acceptable for public-owned water utilities to allow major leaks to persist over years?
- And shall we remind ourselves that, until a few weeks back, there were at least three of these trickles down the gutter in this one street? (Admittedly, they seem now down to just two).
- Why is there a huge pit, a couple of feet across and at least one foot deep, in the middle of the highway past Redfellow Hovel, caused by the failure of the last failed attempt at “repair” and the equal failure to repair the carriageway?
- Would the tax and water-rate payer have patiently condoned the Water Board digging up the road four times in a year, and making the leakage worse on each occasion?
- Why is it all different, now that Thames Water is a privatised operation, owned by Kemble Water, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kemble Water Holdings Ltd, which is owned by a consortium of faceless capitalists, of whom the largest shareholder is the Macquarie Group (once upon a time Hill Samuel), which is based at 1 Martin Place, Sydney, Australia?
- Is the water-rate payer and the metered-supply payer not forking out — massively, and with officially-endorsed annual hikes — for all these incompetences?
- Should we weep that the jam of Thames Water profits is spread a bit thinner this year: a mere £127 million (and so a bit under 15% of revenue), are sadly down by £22 million?
- And, what, prithee, was that cant, your political spam, about “localisation”, Mr Cameron?
[*] “thrice-great”, a title for Apollo, because he commanded the three elements of hidden wisdom: alchemy, astrology, and ritual magic.