Chapter 1: Introduction
If the saying ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’ is true, then the Public–Private Partnership (PPP) approach to public procurement and service delivery still has its time. PPPs have received much scholarly attention from a broad spectrum of disciplines; and they have faced considerable scepticism in a lot of countries. In others, under certain governments, they have been pushed forwards and even sometimes regarded as ‘the only game in town’. In terms of party politics, it is difficult to characterize them as more favoured by centre-right or centre-left governments. In the United Kingdom (UK), they were championed by the incoming New Labour government, commencing in 1997; Germany under the ‘red–green’ coalitions joined them soon thereafter. However, Italy under Berlusconi, France under Sarkozy, Spain under Aznar, Greece under Karamanlis and Austria under Schüssel are examples of centre-right governments strongly committed to the PPP approach, too. Even the UK under the conservative Major administration and later under the Cameron–Clegg coalition was supportive of PPP, or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) as it was labelled in the early 1990s by the British government. Thus, one of the aims of this book is to analyse the partisan dimensions of support or obstruction of PPP across a sample of 14 states over the period 1990 to 2009. However, political parties are not the only actors who ‘make politics’.