Justice Secretary Chris Grayling claims that it is necessary to transfer 70 per cent of probation services to the private sector because reoffending has been "too high for too long."
He insists that it makes sense to enlist private firms and charities to take over our highly professional public probation services on a payment by results basis because their "dynamism" will improve reoffending rates.
This was the same argument advanced for undermining the employment services offered by public-sector jobcentres by predicating the government's much-hyped work programme on private provision.
The result has been a fiasco with a mere 3.5 per cent of the 800,000 people who started the work programme still in work after six months.
The idea that profits-driven private companies and well-meaning charities can do a better job than public services staffed by well trained and motivated professionals is so bizarre that it should never have been considered.
But this ignores the underlying motive behind every single one of the conservative coalition's proposals to assist the penetration of the public sector by private companies.
That prime motive is to reduce state provision of essential services and to run down the very idea of public service in favour of the marketisation of every aspect of society.
Privatisation of public services was prioritised by Margaret Thatcher's Tory government in the 1980s when essential municipal roles related to transport, housing, refuse disposal and security were among those handed over to privateers.
At public corporation level, air travel, telecommunications, gas, electricity and water, followed later by rail, provided huge easy profits for the Tories' friends in the City.
Most working people breathed a sigh of relief in 1997 when hostility to the Tory government's era of excess, greed and corruption resulted in a Labour landslide.
However, there was no respite to the "private good, public bad" ethos as a result of new Labour's love-in with big business, especially the banks which did very nicely indeed out of the privatisation frenzy.
Labour frontbenchers benefited from corporate handouts and slipped as easily from government office to City boardrooms as the Tories had always done.
The 2008 financial debacle, to which new Labour's City-driven deregulation fervour was a contributory factor, has prompted some soul-searching and reconsideration of previous certainties about private-sector efficiency - but not within the conservative coalition.
Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers cannot believe their luck in having a parliamentary majority ready to force through an agenda far more extreme in its anti-working class prejudice than either party flagged up in the general election campaign.
Minister without portfolio Kenneth Clarke shows himself equally without shame by complaining that his party "absolutely tied ourselves down" by pledging specifically not to reduce specific pensioner benefits for this Parliament.
He gives due warning that reducing benefits for "well-off" pensioners will be an "agenda item" in due course, which really means an assault on living standards for all pensioners based on means testing.
What the Tories and Liberal Democrats have begun they are intent on pursuing to the death - erosion of the public sector and assaults on living standards for all workers and pensioners to boost corporate profits.
That is the coalition's motivation whatever chatter about debt reduction or public-sector modernisation is deployed.
The price of destroying our public-sector probation services will be paid in reduced public safety unless united opposition can prevent its implementation.
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