RECENTLY we had a fatality in the kitchen. Slap bang during a roast dinner. Our fifteen year-old fan oven gave up the ghost. Despite servicing and door-fixing its natural end as part of the infrastructure of our house had arrived.

This domestic loss set me thinking about bigger breakdowns to the infrastructure of our ill-governed nation.

First off, does infrastructure really matter? If the definition of the term in the Collins English Dictionary is our guide, it matters immensely to every one of us, every day of our lives: “The infrastructure of a country, society, or organization consists of the basic facilities such as transport, communications, power supplies, and buildings, which enable it to function.”

Infrastructure is one of those things you take for granted until it stops working or disappears. Then we all wonder what the hell is going on – and who we, the people, should hold responsible.

A good example occurred earlier this month. The country’s biggest electrical blackout in more than a decade caused huge disruption across train stations, railways, roads and airports. A million homes across several regions were cast into darkness.

Yet according to industry sources accessed by The Guardian newspaper, the privatised National Grid experienced three blackout “near-misses” over the last quarter before the big outage. It would be inappropriate to state profit-seeking by cash-greedy private companies lay at the root of the problem before a thorough enquiry, but given the on-going damage to Britain’s infrastructure by privatisation, surely such a question should be asked.

If only electricity, essential as it is, was the only part of the web of services and institutions that make life bearable for UK citizens under threat. Examples are so numerous it feels like a catalogue of national self-harm.

What is striking is how many diverse groups within our rainbow nation are affected. According to research by CAMRA, a pub closes every 12 hours, some stripping the heart out of communities that relied on their local for a sociable focal point.

Or what about youth clubs run by properly-qualified and trained professionals? Surely a potent force against the scourge of knife crime and youth offending in disadvantaged areas. Detailed investigation by the union UNITE has revealed spending cuts led to more than 760 youth clubs being axed across the UK since 2012. Such models of positive infrastructure should be cherished not discarded like trash to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.

As for libraries, last year nearly 130 closed the doors of these treasure houses of entertainment, accumulated wisdom and knowledge. Those that survive in England have reduced their opening hours by 230,000 and are increasingly run by volunteers.

Meanwhile, something as basic and essential for the infrastructure of our health, the average wait for a routine GP appointment in the UK has risen above two weeks for the first time, according to an annual survey of doctors. A poll for Pulse, the leading publication for GPs, found the average waiting time was almost 15 days. More than 20% of the 901 GPs who responded said the wait for a routine appointment exceeded three weeks, while more than one in 20 said it was more than four weeks.

Add to the infrastructure crisis sold off police stations, post offices, hospitals, parks and playing fields, seedy school academy trusts where unaccountable CEOs pay themselves absurd salaries at the taxpayer’s expense, let alone the costly inefficiency of our privatised transport system compared to our European neighbours.

But for most of us “little folk”, perhaps the biggest symbol of breakdown in infrastructure is the high street. Shops and facilities are closing at an alarming rate. Our communities are clearly no longer profitable enough for distant hedge fund managers or corporate investors based in tax havens. The result is terrible damage to community cohesion and an inevitable sense we’re all on our own.

We are not on our own. Margaret Thatcher was wrong to say “there is no society”. With political will it is perfectly possible for the sixth richest nation in the world to not just renew our creaking infrastructure but make sure it is environmentally sustainable. We owe it to ourselves and our children to get investing now.