More deaths from NHS neglect and the quango that let it happen

James Delingpole has written a great (and highly sarcastic) piece about the latest NHS deaths-by-neglect, and the failure of the CQC quango to even notice. He says quite ludidly: ‘if the NHS is the envy of the world, the world must be bonkers’. Here is one article about the original story. In brief, the Care Quality Commission, yet another public entity created by New Labour many years ago at UK taxpayer’s expense, wasn’t all that interested in care and quality, not enough to prevent the deaths of a thousand patients through neglect (and subsequently lying about the number of inspections it actually carried out).

Now, it would be all too easy to point the finger (yet again) at this atrocious socialist monster and at how it’s failed. I’m not going to use the deaths of innocent people just to make a rather obvious political point. But I want to reiterate two things:

1. Would this have happened in a private healthcare institution, or to re-phrase: is the NHS actually needed for the vast majority of people? I firmly say: no. The fact that the State has prevented this vital market from being left to evolve and grow naturally to a lucrative, efficient and safe one (just like…you know, almost every market which is left free), means that healthcare costs constantly rise (the opposite of what tends to happen in free markets), service and quality declines (the opposite of what tends to happen in free markets), rationing occurs and service becomes scarce (the opposite of…you know). Private healthcare is NOT so expensive because it’s meant for the rich, it’s expensive precisely because the government has consistently backed this loser and kept all but the most bespoke and expensive competition down. This beast is simply not allowed to fail. Like a race horse with two broken legs, the NHS doesn’t need a bandage, it needs a bullet between the eyes.

To answer my own question: would people ever be neglected in a private hospital? Of course I can’t say no. But would private hospitals and overseeing bodies get away with such gross neglect of their customers for so long, and then have their leaders retire on lucrative pensions? Just now, the government is debating whether to introduce criminal penalties for “reckless” bankers. But reckless heads of quangos are allowed to retire peacefully and rich. Why are the public not stamping up and down and threatening to boycott (somehow) funding the NHS? (It’s not the same thing, but council tax would be a good place to start.) When you think of the ridiculous (or non-existent) things some idiots in this country riot about, just when there is really good reason to cause a (peaceful) fuss and make our voices heard….nothing.

2. And this is the real point: no free-market supporter, no capitalist, would EVER claim that neglect would never happen in our system. No capitalist has ever claimed that our system would provide perfect cheap universal healthcare to everyone. No capitalist has ever made that famous promise of “no child left behind”. Why? Because those promises are unreal. No one can promise that, because the world simply doesn’t work that way. It’s like promising that it won’t get cold (actually that’s the sort of promise the Met Office would make), or promising clueless voters that under no circumstances can we allow this Bank Holiday to be blighted with rain. That’s because free-market supporters are in touch with reality. It’s called rationality. The world cannot be different just because you’d like it to be. (This is the single biggest reason why egalitarianism is evil.) Not even with a blank cheque and the nation’s funds behind you can this be done. The NHS fails, like socialism fails, because it simply cannot work. You cannot have a system based on supply and demand that doesn’t obey the laws of supply and demand.

But, as I said two years ago, after everything that has happened, after the evidence of history, after the countless deaths through neglect and malpractice under the NHS, after the pathetic waiting lists, the shoddy service, the terrible quality, bored unincentivised doctors and nurses, regulation after regulation, a national debt in the hundreds of millions, careless and evil commissions failing to do their job, and some more deaths, the Left will not be budged! It will still say: if we get rid of the NHS (or greatly reduce its scope) think of all the people who will die or not be able to afford healthcare.

And what exactly has your system given us?! See the NHS section of my A-Z links page; we are talking tens of thousands of avoidable deaths. Over the decades it’s probably a lot more than that. In the 21st century, old people are burning books in the back garden to keep warm because they can’t afford to pay the bills, or just dying in dirty hospitals. Babies are dying from neglect, but the Left still has the sheer bald-faced arrogance to blame private businesses and free markets for the world’s woes, and scream that we cannot possibly abandon “the envy of the world” and let our babies, mothers, fathers, friends, parents and the elderly alone to die. Err…and what exactly do they think is happening under their system now?! It’s like a Soviet commisar declaring that capitalism is evil because it cannot feed the starving people of the country. And that is why it is incredible arrogance, because none of these deaths ever, ever, makes the Left question its ideology, or even wonder if there is maybe some little flaw with its system. The answers it always proposes? More tax (of course), more regulation, more ‘reforms’, or another quango like the CQC.

In my opinion, most quangos are inherently open to inefficiency and corruption, incompetence and carelessness for three simple reasons: they are not directly answerable to their customers. They are not directly subject to the laws of supply and demand. They are financed by the State. I leave it to you to consider whether this maybe, in some tiny way, just might create a conflict of interest where objectivity is concerned.

tl;dr – the NHS yet again kills more people, a government quango yet again fails to spot it. National insurance will continue (and rise). The very thing that doesn’t exist and which will cure the healthcare industry, a free-market, will be avoided on the grounds that it can’t possibly care for everyone, everywhere, all the time, instantly and freely. And since socialised medicine can and does (!!) we cannot abandon it.

UK Government dictates ‘acceptable’ lifestyle to citizens

Story here.

Part of the government’s public health plan last year involves a ‘nudge theory’ which basically entails regulating acceptable practice and behaviour in the area of personal health and diet. This involves “physical activity, alcohol, health at work and food.” Committee chairman Baroness Neuberger said: “There are all manner of things that the government want us to do – lose weight, give up smoking, use the car less, give blood – but how can they get us to do them?”

Lindsey Davies, a professor and President of the UK Faculty of Public Health, another public sector organisation which UK citizens are forced to finance, said: “the public health profession has long argued that ‘nudging’ is but one aspect of a wide programme of interventions to help people make changes in their lives which promote good health and wellbeing.”

I wonder if the government would care as much for our health if it wasn’t paying for it, and doing so in such a shabby and fatal way? The answer, of course, is no. As opponents of the Left have pointed out time and again, when the government is supporting your life (either through benefits or healthcare) it will always feel justified in dictating to you how you should live it. After all, since the biggest claimers off government are those who contribute the least to it and land it in huge debt, government might think it’s only fair to start telling these people how much they can and can’t drink, smoke, run, eat etc.

The assumption openly accepted here, (and even by some posters on the article above) is that healthcare and lifestyle is a legitimate area of interest for the government. It is not. I’ll state this clearly: no one’s lifestyle choices or any part thereof, are a legitimate interest of government. The government should have absolutely nothing to do with your life or how you choose to live it. All it should do in your regard is punish criminals.

It is primarily because government supports the lives of so many citizens who are unwilling to work (those truly unable to work are a tiny minority), and thus has a vested interest in how we live our lives, that it feels the need – nay – right, to interfere in the private affairs of innocent citizens, by forcing them to label foods a particular way, banning certain foods from public use, heavily-taxing certain substances deemed unhealthy, offering incentives for healthy people and punishing non-compliers through fines or taxes. Just one example of this is the planned duty increase on high-strength alcohol. The reason? To encourage responsible drinking.

I am not making this up. This is real. This is actually happening now! This is happening in Britain in the year 2011. This is FASCISM. This is the government passing law after law, legislation after legislation, regulation after regulation, tax after tax – all under the guise of promoting one lifestyle over another. In essence, through the blatant use of force against which we have no power, the government has decided what the right and proper lifestyle is for its citizens. “This, this and this – is how you should live your life. This is what you should drink. This is what you should eat. Ok we might not be able to throw you in prison for it (yet), but we’ll just tax you more.” What’s the name for a higher financial levy demanded as a consequence for action? Fine. You are being fined by the government for choosing alcohol A over alcohol B; fast food X over fast food Y, tobacco 1 over no tobacco at all. This is happening right now – to you.

“But people who are unhealthy impose a greater cost on the taxpayer” – some object.

Firstly, don’t be so naive. If you truly believe the government has the best interests of individuals at heart, you live in a fantasy realm where politicians are our appointed protectors and guardians of liberty. Sadly, that is not the world we live in. We live in a world where politicians and their cronies gain power through votes and currying favour. A world where power itself is the objective of political parties, and our money is the means of acquiring it. Don’t ever take for granted that WE subsidise these creatures, whether we like it or not.

Secondly, if individuals were the object of concern for government, it would protect individual rights, and the most fundamental choice of all for a free person: how you choose to live your life.

Thirdly, it is true that unhealthy people impose a high cost on the taxpayer. But let’s break that sentence down: people who are reckless and careless with their own lives can make legally-enforced financial demands on those aren’t…and the problem with this is that these types simply don’t eat right?? Isn’t there a more heinous offence here, namely the sacrifice of the rational and productive to the lazy gluttonous slobs having their healthcare (and lives) paid for by…the rational and productive?! Is this justice? Is this fairness? No. But it is socialism. It is fascism.

What happened to your life being yours and my life being mine? Can I think for you? Can you act for me? What happened to being responsible for our actions? What happened to enjoying the rewards of healthy living and reaping the consequences of thoughtless bingeing? Were these just fairytales told to us as children, idealistic lies to keep us in check until we grew up and discovered that in the “real” world, we could eat, drink, smoke and abuse what we wanted because someone else would pay? To discover that if we ate right, drank in moderation (or not at all), and didn’t smoke or abuse drugs, that we would still be fined for the little eccentricities in life we enjoy (like, a pint of high-duty premium lager), and still have to pay for the wasters who chose poorly? To discover that if we couldn’t or (more likely) wouldn’t work, it didn’t matter – because there’d always be some sap out there, some loser, some “slave” to The Man in his silly office, “trapped” in the corporate system, having to do an 8-hour day, that would put food on our plate and keep the hospitals open whilst we watched TV in the armchair?

Or worse yet, discover that you needn’t burden yourself with silly things like principles and decisions. You have government: it will tell you what you can and can’t do and recommend what lifestyle you should pursue. Force will keep the dissenters in fear. Tax will keep the non-compliers in line. And all along, your government’s coffers grow – whilst the citizens’ savings shrink – and it will all be done in the name of public health.

Ayn Rand said “the difference between a welfare state and totalitarian state is a matter of time.” Every single fascist regime in history seeks to regulate the lifestyle of its citizens. It is the very definition of totalitarianism. The British government is fascist. Even if you can’t fight it (for now), you should not kid yourself of the nature of it.

Portugal next to require bailout, highlights simple truths

I was going to review the BBC’s explanation for the cause of the problem in Portugal and analyse it in technical terms, but I decided instead to point out a few “big picture” general truths that the economic crisis nicely highlights.

So, following Ireland and Greece, Portugal is the next euro-based economy to require a bailout. Despite reassurances from Spain’s finance minister that “’of course’ Portugal would be the last eurozone country that needed a debt bail-out”, I think we could be forgiven for taking anything any politician says these days with a mountain of salt. (I couldn’t help but notice the irony that one of the agencies that will be attempting to rescue Portugal is the International Monetary Fund. This is amusing, if you have an eye for acronyms and 60s TV.)

EU Commissioner Ollie Rehn says that there would have to be an “ambitious privatisation programme” to reduce debt. This raises the question of why, since everyone pretty much concedes that private production is the only source of real wealth, the private sector needs any more encouragement to produce and generate tangible assets? Of course, the answer is that the private sector doesn’t need any incentive to operate, it simply requires freedom. Freedom from regulation, restriction, and extortionate taxation. (I oppose taxation on principle, but I am not naive enough to think it can be repealed overnight or entirely in the current political climate.) It is government, with enough controls and rules and regulations to make an obsessive-compulsive look chilled out on cannabis, which stifles and hampers the real source of wealth: the private sector.

As the current global economic meltdown continues, I can’t help but reiterate one of Ayn Rand’s gems regarding wealth and finance which she phrased in the form of a question. I will paraphrase: ‘if the problem is that there isn’t enough money, why doesn’t the government just print more?’ Understanding why it simply doesn’t work this way is to understand what the problem is in the first place, and how we got to this stage. Money, (coins or paper), in a proper economy, represents produced but unconsumed goods. It can represent any goods, but those goods must exist. When you print paper money, without producing any actual goods to back it up, you devalue the existing currency and you devalue savings. This is the source of inflation.

Now, as if that wasn’t bad enough, tax is aimed at private citizens and corporations, with the more productive carrying the heaviest tax-burden of all. (Liberals will recite the party line about “the rich should pay more” but there is no good argument for this, and there never has been. It is simply penalising the more productive and successful because they are productive and successful).  The money to pay tax is taken from the savings of citizens and the investment capital of corporations. In other words, when times get tough we all tighten our belts; we cut down on the eccentricities and make sure we have just enough to get by. Similarly, corporations make staff redundancies, shut down factories, and donate less capital to research, investment and innovation. So, the private market stagnates, or shrinks, which means fewer jobs, less production, and, as a direct corollary, less actual wealth. Actual wealth is the only thing that keeps an inflated economy above water. Notice the sick irony: in an attempt to solve a problem it created, government raises taxes and bleeds dry the very lifeblood needed to keep a country alive.

This is why the economies of the world are falling apart: mixed, planned, or in plain old terms socialist schemes are ruining the market, just as they have done throughout history. And yet, time and time, our intellectuals and politicians, despite paying lip-service to capitalism, even recognising that only the private sector can save us, refuse to give up their bloated powerful positions and public sector schemes. Socialism is so obviously impractical and destructive, but it is also the means by which politicians amass enormous wealth and power. That is why they will cling to the socialist ship even as it sinks around them.

One final thing I wanted to share is this article: when the government is forced to make public sector cuts, it starts with non-essential personal, which raises the question “if they are nonessential personnel, why are the taxpayers funding their employment to begin with?” It’s so wonderfully eloquent, and it’d be hilarious if pointing out the failed historic evils of Soviet Russia from our higher ground. It’s not so funny when the joke’s on us. At the moment, the “joke” is on Portugal. Spain might very well be next. But I really don’t believe the worst is over.

Violent idiots protest public spending cuts

I’ve only just managed to get around to commenting on the “protests” against public spending cuts acted out by vicious mindless thugs last weekend.

Although there were peaceful protestors present, the violent demonstrators’ method was to smash up private and public property, because as we all know, mindless violence has always accomplished political reform in the past. (Needless to say, the shop-owners whose property was destroyed felt very let down by the police, who were probably too busy parked up on a wide clear road in an industrial estate somewhere, clocking drivers doing 32 mph in a 30 zone.) The police should’ve come down on these thugs with the full weight of the law, ruthlessly and mercilessly. They should’ve given the shop owners their full support and sent a message that peaceful protest ends the moment force begins, and no amount of force will be tolerated at all.

But leaving aside the pitiful reaction of the police, and the idiocy of the violence, do these protestors really have a clue what they’re demonstrating about? For a start, smashing up someone’s property because you think they are somehow avoiding tax undercuts the whole point of a lawful country that (according to these protestors) needs tax to operate in the first place. (Of course, this is not true, but they believe it, which makes their actions contradictory). Secondly, protestors should be demanding lower taxes for everyone, not crying that some appear to be getting off lightly. Corporations carry the heaviest tax burden in any country, yet they are the only real source of wealth; they create, they innovate, they provide jobs, they keep a country running, but they are taxed and penalised and regulated the most. To top it off, anarchist thugs (who are just socialists in disguise) come along and destroy their property. Thirdly, cuts to the public sector are probably the best (and only good) thing this government has done so far. The public sector is a fat ugly poisonous tumour on society, and exists only to suck all the nourishment out of healthy productive people. The public sector only consumes wealth, it never creates it. Those public sector workers who have been put out of work by government cuts should go and get a proper job, and if they can’t find one, maybe then they’ll finally understand where real wealth comes from, and how taxing the hell out of corporations only results in them making cutbacks in their investment capital and staff. When capital and staff are cut back, there is less market growth (or stagnation), and fewer jobs (or redundancies), which increases the strain on the welfare state, (paid for by…you guessed it.)

I should state, by public sector, I don’t mean the following institutions that are necessary government services in any society: the courts, the police, the army. Everything else should go.

The really dumb thing about protesting the public sector cuts is: where do you think the money for public sector spending comes from?? Tax – you know, the thing which is bleeding this country dry. We have people demanding tax cuts on the one hand, and protesting spending cuts on the other… do they even stop and think? Of course not, because they assume that money and wealth will always be here, (provided by the capitalists they despise so much.)

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