I'll start with the standard example:
British Rail is privatised. Which was possibly not a good idea in the first place, but there you go. Its new owners look at the system, and think: "Oh dear, it's pretty crappy, but hey, it's not going to get much worse if we leave it a bit, as long as the company gets its cut". The Government, meanwhile, does s!d-all.
Meanwhile, trains run even less to time than they used to, the drivers aren't being paid enough, and people are looking to other forms of transport to get them from A to B on time. Which reduces the returns the companies get, which is a further disincentive to invest in the system, and so on downwards. Meanwhile in France, say, the TGV? trains run so stringently to schedule that even if you're a minute or two late in catching a train, you've missed it (as I learnt to my cost when trying to catch a train from Paris back to Lyons in 1998), because the government cares enough about them to want to invest in this service. Service, please note, not 'rebranding' (which seems, mercifully, to have died horribly), or style over substance, such as seems to be occurring with the Virgin Voyager trains at time of writing.
And just look and tremble at the mess that the Government has made of the National Health Service... <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2781273.stm> !
Now the SF connection:
The British film and TV industry is in a bit of a bad way at the moment, it's doing its level best but really not at all well, thanks to nobody from the Government or anyone else for that matter giving them half a chance, still less half a mill. The Brits dearly want to make good SF movies, and no doubt there are lots of British screenwriters who could come up with the next best-selling answer to Quatermass, Doctor Who or even Buffy The Vampire Slayer. But they're not getting the money to make big-budget films. The Americans are. So, what do you know, the abominable 'Spiderman' (sorry, Spide, but that film is style over substance personified) makes a mint (by comparison)at the box offices, whereas nobody goes to the remarkably good but inconsidered homegrown films because they don't get reviewed, widely shown or sometimes even made. The American production companies duly get richer, and the British ones threaten to go bust.
There is something, as they would say in America Land, seriously wrong with this picture. --TL
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