Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Blind faith

The Times is desperate to reassure us that the collapse of Metronet does not undermine Public Private Partnerships. But reading through its leader, it's hard to see any argument beyond a few cliches asserting blind faith in the superiority of the private sector:
It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the trials of Metronet indicate that the PPP way is fundamentally flawed. The merit of PPPs, notwithstanding the tongue-twisting name, revolves around the simple belief that the private sector is more capable of delivering public services than the State. All-important qualities of ingenuity and enterprise, it is assumed, thrive in the private sphere while they are too easily hobbled by unwieldy state-run institutions.
TfL has to demonstrate that it can find replacement contractors. It does not have much time to prove that it is equal to the task.
The bitter Metronet experience does not sound the death knell for PPPs. Instead it must be used to prove that the State can replace failing contractors in a timely, and relatively cost-effective, way.
The gist of the argument is that if the private sector isn't up to the job, it's the state's fault. Beyond satire.

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