News flash: FT questions privatisation

Hold the phone. Here’s a very astute piece in the Financial Times arguing against unquestioned privatisation of everything, including Heathrow Airport. Challenging the religion of privatising the entire country is a debate too rarely had:

For the world’s rising states, international airports – and indeed their national airlines (Turkish Airlines beats BA hands down on the Istanbul route) – are a statement of modernity. They speak both to national pride and to integration in the global economy.In Britain, the fixation on private ownership and quarterly earnings per share does not allow for such flights of fancy. This, incidentally, also explains why the country does not have anything resembling a half-decent railway system.

I am tempted to say that Heathrow should be nationalised – or at the very least handed over to Boris Johnson, the London mayor. No one could do a worse job than BAA. Whatever the specifics of ownership and regulation, however, it is time Britain recognised the public interest in the dismal condition of the nation’s privately-run infrastructure.

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