By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee. Craigmurray.org.uk.
The closure of 19 schools in Edinburgh because of jerry-building under the Blue and Red Tories’ Private Finance Initiative, throws a stark light on the impact of the neo-con age on ordinary people.
The Private Finance Initiative was always a scam. It was yet another way to divert money from ordinary tax-payers to the super rich. Instead of schools and hospitals being built and paid for by the taxpayer, they were built and paid for by the bankers, hedge fund managers and other “financial services” sharks, giving state guaranteed returns averaging 7% from the taxpayer, when we now have negative interest rates. It is such a massive scam that every man, woman and child in the UK owes £3,000 to PFI financiers. Like so many far right Tory ideas, its most fervent practitioners were Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.
The “advantage” to government was the accounting trick of a reduction in state capital spending. The other “advantage” was that the private sector was supposed to have more “efficient” methods, due to the profit motive. So somebody in a local authority organising the building of a school from the desire to do the best for the children of their community, was less “efficient” than a hedge fund manager doing it to make the maximum cash. The result? Jerry-building.
I do not want to spend the rest of my life paying capitalist bloodsuckers through my savings. All PFI built infrastructure should be nationalised – without compensation. In doing so the taxpayer will be reclaiming assets to the value of only 10% of the money given to UK bankers in bailouts. Clawing back 10% of the cash we gave the bankers would be a damn good thing. If it caused the odd bank to crash, that is long overdue. Ordinary people’s deposits up to £75,000 are protected anyway. Those with more have it in Panama, the Caymans or the BVI, apparently.