The Private Sector Shows How it’s Done

The emerging scandal of Edinburgh schools built under a PPP contract shines a light on the workings of the private sector. For years we have been told about the inefficiency of the public sector and how the private sector can get things done. It was far better to have things like schools and hospitals built and managed by businesses rather than local authorities.

Now with 7000 pupils put out of schools for an ‘indefinite period’ we can see just how business works. The schools are fine until it gets really windy then all bets are off. The wall collapse at Oxgangs primary school not only opened the school to the elements but opened business practice to full public view.

Businesses are all about making money, as much as possible. If that means cutting corners and putting children’s education and future prospects at risk, well that’s a small price to pay, especially as it’s not the businesses that pay it.

I wonder if the contracts allow the local authority, the ones left with the mess to clear up, to sue the businesses involved. Who is going to pay for the remedial work required? Who is going to pay the costs of providing alternative arrangements for the seven thousand pupils displaced?

If it comes back to bite the business involved then I suppose they can always go bankrupt and leave the mess to someone else – the public sector.

East Van – This is not Edinburgh

This was our first full day in Vancouver. It’s nice to be back again. This afternoon we had a walk to the coffee shop on East Hastings, the Laughing Bean. It’s a busy street but pedestrians are well catered for with a crossing system that makes it easy even for old folks to cross.

I was reminded of the Canadian approach to saving the planet. Diesel buses are replaced by electric buses; trolley buses as we knew them.
No need to dig up then street. Only string the cables and we are off. This is a much simpler and cheaper solution. Edinburgh, are you listening?