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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every taxpayer, 18 May 2009
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This review is from: The Greatest Railway Blunder (Hardcover)
In this book, Adrian Vaughan provides many detailed examples of why the privatisation of the railways is a very very bad deal for taxpayers.

In numerous passages he describes "railway problem incidents" that now take ten times as long (at vastly increased cost) to resolve as they did before privatisation.

Adrian skillfully explains (with many examples) that the extra time is required because before any action is taken, the "interested parties" first have to have one or more meetings to decide "who pays" and they do this by first deciding "who is to blame".

This costly fiasco is a direct consequence of fragmenting a single public organisation (the old British Rail) into hundreds of smaller private companies who each have to employ managers, accountants, invoice clerks and lawyers and at the same time make profits. And the taxpayers subsidies continue so all of this extra cost is borne by the taxpayer and railway passengers.

The photos will be of interest to "railway enthusiats" but I'm not one of those. For me, the photos were a valuable addition because they helped me to visualise the many incidents that Adrian describes in the text.

If you are interested in a similar "fragmentation is good" fiasco, I recommend Allyson Pollock's book NHS Plc. The NHS is a different public service but if you read both books you see the same crazy "internal market" solution is creating a similar costly mess - and both are at the taxpayers expense. NHS Plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care

The main premise of the book is that it is less costly and more efficient to manage a single system with a single organisation than to manage the same single system with lots of smaller organisations. Pretty obvious really!

So why did our Parliamentary champions of "efficiency" NOT understand that fragmentation increases costs and reduces service quality?

If the MP's expenses scandal makes you mad, then the detailed reports of these two authors will show you that the MP's expenses scandal is just the tip of a huge financial fiasco in the public sector.

Maybe the Daily Telegraph can get around to investigating this since they seem to be doing such a good job of exposing the roots of the present scandal of "MP's expenses".
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Reviewer

Ken Evans
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Location: Stickford, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 120,485