American firm to operate Portland Coastguard helicopter
I have warned about this before.
Her Majesty’s Coastguard Service has warned of this many, many times.
Now it is here.
Apparently American company Bristow is due to be announced as the winning bidder in the fight to take over the Coastguard Helicopter at Portland with a bid worth £3 Billion.
The rescue service is currently run jointly by the RAF, the Royal Navy and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Portland Coastguard helicopter faces the axe in 2017 under government cost-cutting plans to relocate it to Lee-on-Solent.
More than 18,000 people have signed an e-petition to Save Portland Helicopter.
This is the thin end of a very thick wedge. Be under no illusions. Private companies exist to serve their shareholders. Their primary objective is to make a profit.
Public sector services do not work like that and it’s about time the government realised it. Coastguard, Police, NHS, Fire Service, Prison Service, Teachers, Armed Forces. They all exist, and were set up, to serve the public in one way or another. They were never set up to be money-making industries, but HM Government doesn’t see it that way.
The way I see it is like this; I pay my Gas and Electric bills to ensure the smooth running of my household. The government should be paying its public sector services to ensure the smooth running of its household, i.e. our country.
They can be run efficiently, I have no problem with that, but they cannot (in my opinion) be run to make a profit without something being sacrificed.
An alternative might be those dreaded words ‘Sponsorship’ or ‘Partnership’
Well take a look at my first recollection of ‘Sponsorship’
It’s an old picture I grant you, but I assure you that it hasn’t been doctored, underneath the Met’s Corporate Identity it does actually say ‘Sponsored by Harrods’ in the well-known Harrod’s font.
Is this the future? Is this what we want from our public sector services?
It may well cost us individually a couple of quid more on our Income Tax bills, but did anybody ask us if we wanted our public sector services slashed to the bone and/or sold off? Well no-one asked me, and within reason I would be prepared to pay a modest amount more to keep our fine services doing what they do best, and not making a profit for their faceless shareholders.
What say you?