Tag Archive: National Health Service

Tories Reveal Authoritarian Roots While Liberals Check Their Shoelaces

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yet again I’m forced to side with the grinning David Davis.  This doesn’t happen often and is embarrassing to admit!.

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

It’s all about the government plans to allow full-scale unauthorised real-time monitoring of every person in the UK’s internet activity!  It’s so 1984.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
.

Orwell must be turning in his grave in despair that what he predicted as a warning about what not to do, now looks like coming to fruition.

Remarkably, since wangling themselves into government, the conservative-libdem coalition government is now actually dropping a key part of their manifesto which they laboriously agreed two years ago.  This can still be found on the government website, page 11 to be exact (pdf) .  Here’s what they said:

  • The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian…. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power – FAIL
  • …reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion – FAIL
  • … introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation – FAIL
  • …end the storage of internet and email records without good reason – FAIL
  • …a British Bill of Rights that … protects and extends British liberties – FAIL

(Actually, the whole Con-Dem pledge list makes good reading to see just how far removed from it our evil diktat of quangos has become.)

So what to do – use TOR.

ID Cards

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Photo credit: andreasmarx)

Not so long ago I was haranguing the former Labour government about their plans for ID Cards, their laws over CCTV and photographing in public places, the reduction  in privacy for individuals and the removal of our civil rights over detention without trial, due cause and 3rd party notification for first 90 days and them 42 days.

I left the Labour Party because of it and have not rejoined.

Huge Vocal Resentment Against UK Government Secret Citizen Monitoring Plans.

try the Tor browser bundle

The new news (I thought it was an April Fool joke initially!) is that Email and web use is ‘to be monitored’ under new laws proposed by this nasty, nasty government.  Happily, there is now a huge and vociferous resentment against this from the general public who can see this evil act for what it is.  Top among them is David Davis!  See this link and the thousands of comments for instance; Backlash over email and web monitoring plan.

Clueless

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14

Now, the tories and their liberal stooges have been shown to be both serially evil in their pronouncements and plans, and also serially incompetent of managing almost anything.

Their pathetic management of a minor industrial dispute (the fuel shortage) which did nothing except invoke almost universal resentment of the coalition and reawaken a general awareness of their ineffectiveness comes on top of stripping the very foundations away from one of UK society’s greatest inventions of the Industrial Age, our National Health Service (NHS).

United Kingdom

Top this behavioural abomination with that of the revolving door policy between banking and politics which they continue to promote with zero penalties for failure while the population-at-large have to prop up the whole system with their taxes means only two things to me.

  1. The government must do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.
  2. They will do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.

Astute folk will see this as my prediction for government actions over the next 3 years.

Tories: Keep Friends Happy

Meanwhile, hundreds of extra Tory donors will soon be available to bankroll the “all is good” story.  They will arrive as beneficiaries of the windfall provided as the “former NHS” contracts are handed out to friends, much like Michael Ashcroft benefited from the first round of NHS privatisation during the Thatcher era.  This article on Powerbase and this one (sourced from a now defunct article in The Scotsman) show quite clearly that 1/3 of cleaning contracts went to Ashcroft’s businesses during this time, saying;

MICHAEL Ashcroft, (…) bankrolled an “independent” publicity campaign that allowed his multi-million-pound contract cleaning empire to prosper and led to a change in the law. The campaign was run from the London office of the former Conservative Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth. A spokesman for Mr Ashcroft confirmed last night that he had contributed to the Public and Local Service Efficiency Campaign (PULSE), which was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services such as cleaning and catering. The campaign had been disbanded by the end of the 1980s after the Conservative government passed the 1988 Local Government Act .  Mr Ashcroft’s Hawley Services Group, a contract cleaning firm later known as ADT, flourished under the new regime, with ADT, winning a third of NHS contracts between 1983 and 1988.

For further information into the depths that the Tories will go to enable all public money to be fed straight to their business friends, see this article which pulls apart the dealings of Ashcroft, discredited Dame Shirley Porter, NIMBY Nicholas Ridley, Chris Chope (the dog turd of Christchurch) and current (dodgy expenses, remember) minister Eric Pickles.

THE PICKLES PAPERS

By Tony Grogan
First published by 1 IN 12 PUBLICATIONS 1989
21 – 23 Albion St. Bradford 1.
Copyright 1 IN 12 Publications 1989
ISBN 0 948994 04 5

Once read, apply the same logic to our dear NHS, and weep again.  The same modus operandi is being used;

  1. discredit the current, imply alternatives are better;
  2. farm out internal monies to external Tory benefactors.

It’s just more sleaze just like under Thatcher before, backed up with warlike rhetoric.  Remember, only 10 days ago we had the news of billionaire Tory donors at Cameron’s dinner table, and Cameron trying to defend the cash-for-access news that made Labour’s cash-for-questions scandal appear like a sweetshop-ish wheeze in comparison.  See 

Tory Party chairman Lord Feldman was one of the key figures in the ‘cash for access’ scandal which erupted after Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught offering a private dinner with David Cameron to undercover reporters who posed as wealthy party donors.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2123692/Tory-cash-access-row-David-Cameron-crony-pal-cash-questions.html

as well.

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Duffy’s Cut, Snow, US Medicare, Throckrington and The Welfare State

Highlighting the Differences in Public Health provision, the Attitudes to Death and Responsibilities of the State and the Individual to Public Welfare.

The title is the biggest bit – trust me.

Introduction

This takes us from today’s news from America and the Duffy’s Cut project to a tiny hamlet in Northumberland, England, called Throckrington.

Duffy’s Cut Project – link

Duufy's Cut Mass GraveLast Friday, 20/3/2009, some archaeologists in Pennsylvannia, USA, dug up some bones of Irish labourers whose bodies had been unceremoniously dumped next to the railway line they were digging after they died, probably from cholera.  There were 57 of them.

This is a big thing for Americans! Despite the almost ubiquitous death penalty in that country and the hugely expensive but ineffective health care system (certainly if you’ve no insurance), and despite the twin foundations of that place being built upon the ideas of “the self” and “hand-on-heart god bless America”, this team of people on the Duffy’s Cut Project are spending hundreds of man-hours in a search for truth and to give the almost anonymous people some sort of decent burial, 175 years after the event.

Maybe there’s some sort of change happening after the excesses of the Bush era and the collapse and then public rescue of financial institutions and global businesses?  It’s almost a Welfare State!  Almost socialist!  Maybe they’ll move on to properly interring some of the tens of thousands of Native Americans killed in the various massacres during the colonial push?

Dr John Snow – link, link

Dr JohnSnowHe’s described variously as the ‘father of epidemiology’ and ‘the greatest doctor that ever lived’.  Probably rightly so.

Snow witnessed at first hand the arrival of Cholera into the UK in Sunderland in 1831 and it’s subsequent spread to Newcastle.  While having an annual mortality rate of ~5%, in an epidemic most deaths occur within a week or so, which made it particularly appalling in Newburn near Newcastle and down the Sandhill in Newcastle-on-Tyne itself.

Thousands died within weeks in the crowded streets in an area not much bigger than a football pitch.  Sandhill is just to the west of the famous Tyne Bridge.  It’s a hill up to Dean Street which is actually a culverted stream/sewer.  An original report on the 1832 epidemic is here (pdf file).

Whittle Dene FiltersBroad Street PumpBecause of this and subsequent events (e.g. the Broad Street epidemic now commemorated with a pump memorial) , Snow pushed for clean water for people to drink, actions that could either be provided by enlightened wealthy individuals or by the intervention and provision by the State.  That is, public welfare by the State.

In Newcastle, the first proper water supply came from Whittle Dene, and the (since expanded) ‘Whittle Dene Filters’ can still be seen next to the Military Road.   Since that time, hardly anyone has died from Cholera in Newcastle, a horrible way to go since you literally shit yourself to death.

Throckrington

See more images and a map here

Images © Copyright Phil Thirkell and Richard Young and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Throckrington is a teeny-tiny place set in the ‘Wilds of Wanney’ in Northumberland.  It has a cute little church and a farm that straddles both sides of the little cattle-gridded road.  It’s truly one of the most wildly tranquil and beautiful places on the world.

Yet just to the west of the Church are a few bumps in the sheep-grazed grass.  These are the remnants of the former village that was ravaged by a later Cholera epidemic, in 1847). (This is subsequent to the one witnessed by Snow in Newcastle).  The Cholera was brought by a returning sailor who’d passed through Newcastle.  The village was completely wiped out!

Remarkably, standing in the Churchyard, gazing out across this former village, if you cast your eyes down over the western tombstones in the churchyard, you’ll find one belonging to Lord Beveridge( and his wife), surveying the glorious western vista for eternity.

The Welfare State

William Beveridge as he was, was commisioned by the WW2 wartime UK government to produce a report which became known as ‘The Beveridge Report‘.  This laid the foundations for something that became known in Britain as the Welfare State and the National Heath Service (NHS).  And quoting from Wikipedia:

The Report to the Parliament on Social Insurance and Allied Services was published in 1942. It proposed that all people of working age should pay a weekly national insurance contribution. In return, benefits would be paid to people who were sick, unemployed, retired or widowed. Beveridge argued that this system would provide a minimum standard of living “below which no one should be allowed to fall”.

It recommended that the government should find ways of fighting the five ‘Giant Evils’ of Want, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. This led to the setting up of the modern Welfare State (the culmination of the Fabians’ project) with a National Health Service (NHS):

19.Plan for social security : XI.Medical treatment covering all requirements will be provided for all citizens by a National Health Service organised under the health departments and post-medical rehabilitation treatment will be provided for all persons capable of profiting by it.

Conclusion

It’s a long way coming, but it demonstrates the Buddhist principle of ‘the connectedness of all things’ and also the benefits of working altruistically for the common good, sometimes against huge peer pressure.   This last is part of something called the Noble Eightfold Path by Gautama Buddha, that is;

  • right view,
  • right intention,
  • right speech,
  • right action,
  • right livelihood,
  • right effort,
  • right mindfulness,
  • right concentration. .

Dr Snow had many obstacles to his now accepted theory on disease transmission from his fellow medical professionals.  Beveridge likewise had much opposition, only the arrival of WW2 made it happen.  An earlier Clinton presidency failed at making Welfare reforms.  There are some odious vested interests out there!

Yet despite it’s many curses, failures and problems, the UK still has it’s NHS, welfare provision, and public water supplies.  The population of the country is extremely healthy and despite complaints, are considerably better off than that prior to 1845.

The USA under Obama has plans to considerably reform ‘medicare’ and the costly private healthcare insurance system that leaves vulnerable people worse off and yet costs much more per capita than the UK’s NHS.  Let’s hope they do it right and fix all the other iniquities that have bedevilled that place.

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How the UK is Fortunate to be Protected by having High Road Fuel Taxes

or Analysing the Red Herrings of the Fuel & Road Protests

Fuel Price Herring

The recent fuel protests and road tax protests got me thinking. Everyone in Britain thinks that they are badly off. They think that fuel is REALLY expensive here.

Here’s what the AA have to say on fuel prices across Europe (all per litre)…

France – Petrol – £1.12 equiv

Germany – Petrol – £1.12 equiv

UK (average) – Petrol – £1.12

So the three major economic countries in Europe have exactly the same fuel price! So Britain isn’t especially expensive and the comment on the BBC page here is WHOLLY WRONG! It’s woefully bad reporting.

800px_Oil_Prices_Medium_Term_1_

Oil Prices Medium Term

Now look across the Atlantic to the US, historical home of the motor car, cheap fuel and a piss-poor health care system. Today’s announcement by General Motors to ditch SUVs and especially the Hummer brand is in response to rising oil prices. The graph shows a >500% crude oil price increase since the mid-nineties.

Historically, (and ignoring the fuel price escalator instigated by John Major’s Tory government), the UK has always paid about 50-70% of the pump price as tax.

The US is paying more now, but it is still only ~$4 per gallon i.e. about £0.50 per litre.  Crucially for the US, they only pay 11% of their pump price as tax i.e. the cost and thus the US economy is more closely tied to world oil prices compared to the UK.

So since 2005, US citizens have to pay >100% extra for their petrol, whereas we in the UK have to pay ~40% more. (This is why GM today and Ford last month announced the end of SUV production in the US).

The reason? The government can vary the “take” on fuel duty to suit varying economic conditions – and they’ve been doing so. Recently, several planned tax rises didn’t materialise. Because our tax is so high, the government can do this as any loss in taxes is made up by the wholesale cost increases being applied proportionately through the system.

In other words, our “expensive” tax cushions us from world market fluctuations.

An added benefit of our high taxes is that we have a free National Health Service. Always remember, go sick in the US or break a leg, and if you haven’t got insurance, you can die.

Road Tax Herring

As part of the global battle against global warming, pollution, rising energy costs etc, the government wants people to get and drive more efficient cars. Some people it seems want to just keep on getting bigger cars and spend what they like regardless. The US has already seen the light, as I explained above, where soon there won’t be any gas guzzlers to buy regardless if people actually want one or not! (Another take on the relative expense or affordability of motoring is here in this article).

Personally I can’t see anything wrong. The vehicle type is a horrible thing driven by horrible people. Very soon, the cushioning effect of our high taxes will diminish and the real costs will hit these people. If I could believe any of their weasely words, the truth would be in their actions. But their actions are to drive large fuel-expensive vehicles at illegal speeds…

Pardon? What’s that?

Yes. Wholly illegal speeds. DFT figures for AVERAGE motorway speeds are here in this Times article. The average speed of vehicles on UK motorways is 71mph! This means that most people break the law. Most of the vehicles I see with this behaviour are the big twat vehicles….

So these people can obviously afford the fuel and vehicle costs.

There’s a very simple way to reduce motoring costs – drive slower. Following on from Stokes’ Law, we find that the power to overcome the drag on a speeding car doing 100mph is 800% more than the same car doing 50mph. Very loosely, this means that the fuel consumption is 8 times worse. So a monster like a BMW X5 notionally capable of only a best fuel figure of 30mpg will be lucky to do a third of that when it’s speeding down the motorway, which is the normal way to drive these things apparently.

This is the relevant part of the Wikipedia article quoted:

Power

The power required to overcome the aerodynamic drag is given by:

 P_d = \mathbf{F}_d \cdot \mathbf{v} = {1 \over 2} \rho v^3 A C_d

Note that the power needed to push an object through a fluid increases as the cube of the velocity. A car cruising on a highway at 50 mph (80 km/h) may require only 10 horsepower (7.5 kW) to overcome air drag, but that same car at 100 mph (160 km/h) requires 80 hp (60 kW). With a doubling of speed the drag (force) quadruples per the formula. Exerting four times the force over a fixed distance produces four times as much work. At twice the speed the work (resulting in displacement over a fixed distance) is done twice as fast. Since power is the rate of doing work, four times the work done in half the time requires eight times the power.

It should be emphasized here that the drag equation is an approximation, and does not necessarily give a close approximation in every instance. Thus one should be careful when making assumptions using these equations.

Perfect Info Alert: Since the time of Archimedes, a fluid means either a gas or a liquid – the behaviour of both is mathematically, very similar.

Warning – BMW & Porsche Bullshit Alert.

Since I looked at the DFT figures for the BMW X5, the new (April 2008) figures from the BMW manufacturer’s website are even worse! The best the metal fucker can claim to do is only 23.5mpg. They’re complaining that the “new” EC rules penalise them.

Porsche are even more hypocritically complaining about the London Congestion Charge.

All this actually is, is a lack of planning in these big companies’ boardrooms and design departments. The writing has been on the wall for ages – they’ve just been raking in the quick money in the hope that someone will bale them out when their model ranges dry up. The latest hypocritical advertising from BMW is a case in point – “thank you gravity” – Bollocks. Cringe-worthy crap.

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