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The meaning of privatisation is now clearer. Privatised businesses have fared better than nationalised ones but most have not thrived. And the plc model does not work for monopoly services.

By John Kay   July 2002

The July is the 20th anniversary of the announcement of the decision to privatise British Telecom. It was the start of one of the most radical experiments in modern public policy, with major consequences in Britain and around the world.

Privatisation is often seen as an ideologically based programme, devised and driven by a powerful leader, motivated by a combination of intellectual conviction of the benefits of free markets and hatred of the power of organised labour. Certainly, no term is more indelibly associated with the Thatcher era than privatisation. But there was no master plan when the Conservatives came…

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