Monday, February 26, 2007

Can You Tell if the Government's Involved?

Let's play a game. I'm going to blindfold you and then hand you a service. You have to tell me whether this service is either run (or at least heavily controlled) by the government. Are you ready? Here's service number one:

Haven't got it yet? Here's some clues. This service is:

  • Dirty
  • Overcrowded
  • Seems to have too many staff hanging around doing nothing useful you can discern
  • Pricey
  • Is a legal monopoly
  • Has numerous ongoing failures, which seem to replicate endlessly day after day
  • Adopts a take it or leave it attitude
  • Requires endless subsidies, despite endless price rises above the market trend
  • Seems to have fanatastically well-paid managers or senior staff (and lots of them)
  • All the staff, including the well-paid ones, are chippy, arrogant, and are quite happy to let you know that they really couldn't give a monkeys
  • Uses sub-standard equipment or equipment that seems 30 years out of date
  • May be brightly coloured, but is often shabby and degraded
  • Tinged with an edge of violence and decivilised graffiti
  • Is regularly in the papers for being dangerous, but no-one seems to do anything about it
  • Hedged around with posters threatening you with police action if you misbehave
  • Filled with customers who look angry, bored, dejected, or just plain miserable
Now, is this a government service, or a government-free one (or at least a semi-free one)? Once again, you decide.

I know. It's really difficult, isn't it.

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