John Vivian makes a valid point about the foreign ownership of British Utilities, but sadly he falls into the trap of missing the point and prescribing the wrong remedy.

There is clearly a fault that British companies are fair game for any foreign ownership whereas in the so called "free market" of the EU most partner countries create conditions that protect their own national utilities from foreign ownership.

As a result our train operating companies (TOCs) and train manufacturing are now largely foreign owned.

The fault is with the Government and its Agencies such as the DFT which are consistently found wanting in either under-specifying conditions that protect British interests, or over-specifying petty conditions that just inflate bid prices and push up fares.

This is the very same Government Apparatus that Mr Vivian thinks is miraculously able to do something amazing with the railways.

The truth is that is not, whether under Labour, Conservative or Coalition, Public Rail Regulation has served up incompetence and ineptitude.

DFT along with bureaucratic public bodies such as the Office of Rail and Road, the multi tiered over risk averse Safety Bodies and of course Network Rail is the biggest public sector flop of all.

BR had far more independence than the TOCs do today - every single journey and fare is prescribed by Government and every regulation is written by them or by the EU.

The myth that only nationalisation can make fares drop and punctuality improve is rubbish.

Andrew King