Privatisation, Politics, Phillies and AC/DC

For the non-Americans:
The “World” Series involves two North American Baseball teams playing against each other, with the best out of seven games winning. For the first time in 25 years, the Phillies [Philadelphia’s team] are playing and are 3 games to 1 up. In other words, the current game dictates whether they win the “World” Series.

The game started two nights ago and was suspended because of the rain (it’s very much like Cricket in that respect) and so we’re really near to a result this evening. Normally, as anyone who knows me would affirm, I wouldn’t give a flying fuck about such bollocks, but Philly is in such need of an uplift that I’m really hoping they win.

The other reason I hope they win is that Obama managed to pay for a half-hour campaign ad just before the game on three major networks including FOX, who are showing the game. He only managed this because he managed to raise a record-breaking amount of cash from the general public. Call me a blinkered optimist, but I really think that Obama getting elected could change the entire world for the better. Every time I hear him speak, I want to give him a hug. Every time I hear McCain and his simple side-kick speak, I wish that the healthcare system in this country wasn’t as broken so that they could be taken in to a safe environment where they couldn’t hurt anyone.

Even though the most Socialism this country has seen for over a hundred years was produced by George W Bush, the right are still accusing Obama of being a “Socialist”. He’s not. I wish he were, but he’s not. privatisation does not work. I’m not saying that private companies don’t work, I’m saying that privitisation of formally public organisations doesn’t work.

Here’s a case study involving British Gas [formerly “The Gas Board”] and PGW [Philadelphia Gas Works]. Obviously this isn’t scientific, but it’s what the deluded simpletons in social science call “qualitative”. Pity them.

A few years ago, in London, Michele became worried that our combi-boiler was leaking carbon monoxide and so, despite my protestations, called British Gas. Within two hours a guy arrived wearing a nicely pressed British Gas suit and carrying no equipment whatsoever. He turned off the gas supply, placed a “Do No Use” sticker on the boiler, and told us to call a CORGI registered gas engineer to fix the problem. When we asked what the fucking fuck he thought he was doing, he explained he had “made our gas supply safe” and from now on it was up to us. I could have done that! When we did actually get a proper engineer around, he told us everything was fine and turned it back on. Thanks British Gas.

So, when we arrived home the other evening and smelled gas, I was worried. Michele called PGW. Meanwhile, I traced the smell to a pilot light on the cooker that had snuffed out. After lighting it we were cool, and so Michele called PGW to cancel the call-out. We were told that the call-out couldn’t be cancelled and so we would have to explain it to the guy when he arrived, which he did within ten minutes!
He arrived with a big bag of tools and an obviously deep knowledge of gas equipment, which he then used to check every gas appliance in the joint. He declared it all ok.

Now, when I call the gas company, that’s what I expect: a guy turning up in 20 minutes with a bag of tools. Nice one PGW! I told our man how happy we were with his service and described the British Gas equivalent. He told us that they have been trying to outsource the work in PGW for a while and that the unions were fighting it. I hope the unions win; the British privatisation model is a long, expensive, painful, death of a decent service.
Night night.

P.S.
AC/DC – the new album is pure AC/DC. You already know what it sounds like. Love it.


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