Vorpal wrote:And by contrast, NSB, the national rail system in Norway is government managed (through a government owned company), efficient and easy to use. It's quite clear which trains take bikes by reservation only, and which ones are first-come-first-served. The same company serves the entire country, and it is reasonably well-coordinated with services from neiboring countries, and other modes of transport.
Oldjohnw has the right of it. There is a clear strategy in some places to apply increasingly stringent budgets on public sector services, including public transport. Then, the people clamour for reform in the face of the resultant degradation. IMO, the same thing has been happening to the NHS.
The reform thus far has mainly been privitisation and consolidation, neither of which have helped much because the investment has continued to decline.
I somewhat prefer state run enterprise to privitisation, but either way, significant improvements require significant investment. And no, you can't wave HS2 in my face because that sort of thing has limited impact on the rest of the system. New rolling stock, cross rail; these things will help, but not enough to make up for 30 years or more of increasingly stringent budgets.
The starve-the-public-service trick is a mild version of the Shock & Awe tactic devised and recommended by the Chicago School of Economics and it's Chief Moneygrabber Milton Friedman. The full-on version is the sort of Yank antic seen in bringing about regime changes such as those promoting Pinochet in Chile or the more recent Iraq debacle. Bomb them to bits then offer to rebuild the country with Yank Big Business stuff.
Our neolib Tory (and Toryesque New Labour) governmenst starve public utilities and services 'til they become inefficient or moribund. They then employ the private sector PR via the oligarch-owned&run newspap to go on about how the private sector is "customer first" or some other euphemism for "well-able to construct gullible consumer fools".
Bits of the public service are privatised, with regular wholesale privatisation of whole areas of public service, generally with the cry "more efficient". They neglect to mention that this means "more efficient at making profit for fat cats and shareholders but pretty bad at providing services or saving tax income".
Consumer dopes fall for the PR, particularly the lovely decor of the front-of-house and the white-toothed grins of smart-looking receptionsists. Behind the facade, things are black-toothed - full of slavering fang, biting at the consumer wallets in exchange for not-a-lot.
It amazes me that government is still doing this and the public don't seem to have cottoned-on in large numbers.