Latest Issue

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”…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect