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Privatisation: It wasn’t meant to be like this

You don't have to be sentimental about the days of nationalised industries to be dismayed at the failures of privatisation

NHS staff and anti-privatisation campaigners march across Waterloo Bridge, May 2013. © Pete Riches/Demotix

Private Island by James Meek (Verso, £12.99)

Earlier this year, Dieter Helm, the Oxford economist, published a paper on the state of Britain’s energy market. The privatisation of the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) in 1990, Helm wrote, was meant to usher in a “liberalised quasi-competitive market.” What we’ve ended up with, however, is something much closer to the “command and control”…

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