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Posted on 14 November 2012 at 15:37 GMT

Thames water - corruption personified

Letter sent to the Observer by Tony Mulhearn (former TUSC candidate for Liverpool mayor)

Will Hutton's forensic exposure of the mendacity, corruption and downright public deception by Thatcher's government of the mythical benefits of privatisation is a model of investigative journalism (Observer 11.11.12).

Will looks at German utility RWE and, since 2006, a group of private equity funds domiciled in Luxembourg, marshalled by the Australian bank Macquarie, the bank that makes Mitt Romney's bank look saintly.

The company has not delivered the cheap water promised, nor developed a model system for the new millennium. In Will's words 'it is a vehicle whose over-riding priority is incredible shareholder enrichment'

In other words, here is a privatised utility controlling essential means to life, a natural monopoly, not being operated for the public good, but in the clutches of a dodgy amalgam of spivs and chancers.

He recognises the regulator is wholly inadequate, with all the rigour of a dead sheep. He rightly makes the observation that 'what has happened to the English water industry over the past 20 years is as disgraceful as what happened to our banks.'

But the problem for me is Will's solution. To call for a 'responsible capitalism' is to advance a classical oxymoron up there with 'caring Tories'.

Will's analysis screams out for the public ownership of the water industry accountable to our elected representatives.

I look forward to him drawing this conclusion in future pieces.

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