Profiteering from Misery


According to the Guardian, Private security giants such as G4S and Serco could be put in charge of child protection services under new proposals drawn up by the Westminster government.
In papers published by the Department of Education last month, the Westminster government is proposing to permit outsourcing of children’s social services in England to ease the burden on local authorities.

It is reported that the plans will allow authorities to “stimulate new approaches to securing improvements” and “harness third-party expertise”.

Unsurprisingly this has led to campaigners voicing strong opposition to the plans, which they say could distort decisions on sensitive family matters.

My own opinion on this is that it is the responsibility of the state to protect children from harm and risk. It absolutely should not be delegated to profit-making organisations.

Incredibly G4S is currently being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for “serious issues” in connection with “invoicing, delivery and performance reporting” on contracts worth almost £4 billion as well as overcharging the taxpayer for botched tagging contracts. This poor performance is obviously of no consequence when it comes to being considered for this latest Child Protection money making privatization.

Clearly the track record of companies such as G4S and Serco is evidence of the danger of introducing profit motive to vital public services. Or is it?

It seems that nothing is off limits in the rush to privatization in this brave new world of Neo Liberal, unfettered, capitalism.

So what’s the connection with Scotland?

John Reid, Baron Reid of Cardowan for starters. In 2008 it was announced that Reid would be taking up a post with G4S as Group Consultant. Whether he is still active with G4S is hardly the point. It is the connection between G4S and a Senior Scottish Labour politician that I wish to highlight.

Lord Reid is, of course, one of the Labour big hitters that it has been proposed should be parachuted into the Better Together campaign to work against the Yes campaign. I’m not surprised that Reid might want to participate, considering the opportunities that a No vote may bring to his ex company G4S in a “renewed” and “reinvigorated” United Kingdom.

I’m appalled at the proposal to hand Child Services to an Outsourcing solution. I’m actually extremely worried by the potential harm that this could cause in Scotland. Let us not forget Ed Milliband’s One Nation vision for the UK under Labour. I’m not naïve enough to easily dismiss the potential of this travesty being enforced in Scotland following a No vote.
An unrealistic conspiracy theory? I don’t think so.

In the event of a No vote Scotland’s Parliament will be emasculated and public services will be aligned with those of England. If that requires outsourcing of key public services to private, profit driven companies, then that will happen.

Is this surely not an ideological wasteland that we are experiencing where social vulnerability is now looked on as a resource to be exploited for profit? It is rather akin to the theory that Labour run areas in, for example, the West of Scotland, have always suffered poverty. The accusation from critics being that this is a deliberate policy to ensure Labour hegemony in these areas. Create a Dependency Culture and ensure that a local power centre remains secure.

Why not extend this thinking to Social Services. In the twisted logic that is unfettered capitalism, it would be like Turkeys voting for Christmas to offer a cure for social ills. Better for business to ensure that social ills continue.

Ok, I possibly exaggerate to illustrate, but do we want this in Scotland?

Well, voting No will increase the chance that an alignment with English Social Service provision will happen, and that means Privatisation. Considering the track record of John Reid, can we rely on Scottish Labour to protect us? Definitely a Not to that idea, Labour have embraced Right Wing political theory and cherished services are as vulnerable to Privatisation as rail travel used to be.
Remember the policy implications of Johann Lamont’s speech where she demanded an end to the “something for nothing” culture?
The policies were an ending to universal benefits, raising tuition fees, cutting free prescriptions. These will drive people into poverty and thus into the hands of the outsourcing companies like G4S.

It all starts to make sense now, like a complex jigsaw puzzle, where a new piece is slotted into place thus revealing the bigger picture.

That picture that we now comprehend in Scotland is one of private companies profiteering from the misery of poverty and social problems. Brought to you by Unionist gangster politicians.

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