James Daley: Why is privatisation such a dirty word?

Walking through Waterloo station this morning, I was handed a flyer by someone campaigning against the privatisation of Royal Mail. Amongst its "10 reasons to SAY NO" was the rather rash and unsupported statement that it would "repeat the mistakes of privatisations in other industries".

For me, this was the point where the flyer lost all credibility. After all, while there have undoubtedly been mistakes in previous privatisations, I believe that most privatisations have turned out to be something of a success in the long-run. Competition in the phone market has meant we all now pay practically nothing for a landline. Electricity and gas prices were also driven down post-privatisation and while they have increased recently, regulators are now intervening to ensure that consumers continue to get a good deal.

Admittedly, there are industries, such as the railways, that are still some way from what you could call a success – but this does not mean that privatisation should be dismissed out of hand.

When it comes to the postal service in Britain, it's hard to deny that there's a serious problem. It's no exaggeration when I say that roughly one in 10 packages that are sent to my flat never arrives. And if they've not been insured by the sender, there's nothing I can do about it. Furthermore, the post now rarely arrives before 4 or 5pm, and the local post-box is now only emptied once a day – rather than four or five times, as it used to be.

Ultimately, the Royal Mail needs billions of pounds worth of investment to restore its service to the level that we all expect – and this is money that the Government simply doesn't have at the moment. So why not allow the private sector to provide some of that investment, in return for a share of the profits?

I'm always disappointed that whenever economic times get tough in the UK, there's a lurch to the extreme left in public opinion. Next week, thousands of people are set to join an anti-capitalism march in the City of London to protest against our "greedy bankers". While a few days ago, Sir Fred Goodwin, the former RBS chief executive, had his house and car vandalised – no doubt by sympathisers to the anti-capitalist cause.

But all these people have benefited to a large degree from capitalism – which has helped generate wealth and pull more and more people out of poverty over the past few decades. Though inadequate regulation has meant that we are now suffering from a harder recession than we might have, this is all part of capitalism's development and evolution. Capitalism has evolved at a frightening rate over the past couple of centuries, and it is no wonder than we have not yet created a perfect system. Nevertheless, what the last two centuries have shown is that markets and competition can be used to the benefit of everyone – not just the richest in society.

If Royal Mail is privatised, it should be with the proviso that services must still be provided to every house in Britain, and that postal prices cannot be raised beyond a reasonable ceiling. If these kind of regulations are put in place, what is it that we have to fear? Surely standards can only get better.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

News
Amazon's drones were unveiled last year.
business
Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Life and Style
Worth shelling out for: Atlantic lobsters are especially meaty
food + drink
News
i100
Sport
Gareth Bale
footballPaul Scholes on how Real Madrid's Welsh winger would be a perfect fit at Old Trafford if he leaves Spain
Arts and Entertainment
Lily James in ‘Cinderella’
film
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...

    Ashdown Group: Development Manager - Rickmansworth - £55k +15% bonus

    £50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...

    Recruitment Genius: Security Officer

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Applicants must hold a valid SIA Door Su...

    Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - City, London

    £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - The C...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss