Tuesday, 18 January 2011

How to Finish Off the Welfare State, in One Easy Term

Cameron looks obliquely through the window, surveying his domain. He leans lightly against the right-hand frame, as though the Overton window itself had somehow crystallised into real hardwood and Heritage eggshell and bulletproof glass.

He idly contemplates life after his successful foray into parliamentary politics. In this rare quiet moment of stillness, Cameron permits himself, too, a few idle thoughts about the present.

Life is good.

A PM with captive backbenchers and no concern for the next ballot is remarkably close to a dictator, he muses. And his backbenchers are as caged as they come. The Orange-Bookers of course are happy as pigs in shit; the bovine remainder of the Lib Dems, those not wedged firmly in government salaried stalls waiting to be milked for votes, are irrelevant.

His own backbenchers are a mixture of neophyte lambs to the electoral slaughter, carnivorous lemmings in the grip of the privatising bloodlust, and baffled Tory dinosaurs with nowhere to go but the Lords. Altogether a very managable menagerie.

Initiating the final phase of NHS privatisation has been easy enough. To spice up the task, he has played a private little game. The challenge: to do it without explicit recourse to the standing pretext, the economic state of emergency, and indeed without giving any reason at all for pushing through this particular 'modernisation', and at such a pace.

He has simply relied on the capacity of the press to internalise the government's position and forget how they got there. The economic state of emergency is, well, a banker. It's estalished to the point that 'deficit-denier' is used without irony. The need for cuts elided into 'reforms' that don't actually involve any short-term savings, that was the main pinch-point, and went through without demur.

Another cheeky on-air pseudo-gaffe, this time a less-than-Freudian slip of the tongue describing the NHS as 'second rate' - he'd enjoyed that one. And the rest was repetition, repetition, repetition.

This must be done. It has to be done. If not now then when? There is no time to lose. We cannot delay.

Which is true of course - we cannot delay, cannot lose momentum, or it's just possible that someone who matters might start asking questions. And we certainly can't delay beyond the parliamentary term: there may very well not be a second. Which would not be a bad thing, with such a huge quantity of shit hitting an accelerating fan: a second term really could be rather tedious.

Yes, it has been a good day's work. Cameron is particularly pleased at having spelled it out quite clearly: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform our public services. The press loved that little soundbite. They lapped it up without a murmer, never asking why exactly, especially if the reforms are really such a good idea, this moment is the one opportunity in a lifetime to carry them out. None dare call it opportunism, even when he insists that it is.

Yes, David Cameron is very much amused.

[edit @ 19 Jan 2008 07:50 - clarified and expanded main points, cut verbiage]


  1. But isn't the NHS 'second rate' in comparison to the what is on offer across e.g. France and Germany. Isn't part of the problem that so many politicians refuse to ever admit this.
    I don't doubt Cameron is up to little good here, but should we condemn him for saying something that is, in itself, true?

  2. A fair point - except he didn't say that, so he doesn't have to defend it - or did he?

    (Because it's the not in fact the same thing, is it: second best, second rate. Let's say ranking of composers has Mozart 1st, closely followed by Bach (adjust to suit): Bach is second best, but obviously not second rate.)

    Still, a good diversionary argument to be had there, of course: did he didn't he?

    And as you perhaps (I might rather uncharitably speculate) exemplify, the suggestion is indeed that this is a suppressed truth, as in 'of course political correctness suppresses my freedom of speech so I can't say [what I am now saying] in my column in a national newspaper'.

    Yes, we the unspun and enlightened are with you Cameron, brave guerilla fighting for truth, justice and the American standard of healthcareay (surely 'Cuban'? - Ed.)

    Oh, and there's the small question of whether anything like that is actually true. That question might better be answered by looking at something vaguely resembling a systematic, evidence-based assessment. This report: has the UK second-best to the Netherlands, of 6 assessed, among them Germany. Well 7 if you include the US, the Cons' idea of paradise.

    And the UK was 1st of the 6 (7) in efficiency, according to that report, suggesting that cuts are (as one might suppose) likely to reduce standards. A complete reorganisation as well is not going to help, in these times when all but the Deniers agree austerity rules (so far as govt. expenditure goes).

    That, as they say, is only one study, though, the first I came across ont web, and I haven't made any attempt to evaluate it. If you have better info, go ahead.

  3. Well, I'm not sure I've got better info, but this 2003 report would be worth looking into:
    It is not an uncommon tactic for special interest groups to attack anyone criticial of performance by saying they are out to "do down x.y.z" (e.g. young people's inflated exam grades). This is a diversionary tactic.
    None of which means that Cameron isn't up to no good.

  4. Which is precisely the idea Cameron wanted to suggest, i.e. he is justified, but can't properly say so, that those who disagree have 'special interests?' and are just trying diversionary tactics.

    All of which distracts from the point that there's no reason to think that the reforms are going to improve outcomes or even cut costs, supposedly the overriding imperative. The only thing that is reasonably clear is that a variety of private healthcare co.s are rubbing their hands with glee at the propsect of a nice stream of 'taxpayers' money they are going to be able to extract profits from.

  5. Abortion is part of the decay inflicted by the gods in the latter half of the 20th century as we approach the Apocalypse::::
    - Free sex
    - Explosion in gay sex
    - Abortion
    - Legalized greed/immorality
    - The internet. Whereas TV was a phenominally destructive new temptation on the landscape it doesn't hold a candle to the internet. Some people will waste their whole lives. And its timing was deliberate.

    "It's too late to pray." Sign of Woodbridge Church Kansas. And it may be true for some. Examine pimps who prostitute 10 year old girls in the ghetto.
    Of course, if you want even a shred of a chance to save yourself the Buffalo Bills did experience the Fourth Reich and realized a comeback of Biblical proportions.
    I am failing. But it is because of the god's defense tactics. Fuck absolute power. I hate losing.

    Budget problems. Cut the military. Bring them home and end the wars. Let these countries experience self-determination and decide their own future. Didn't we learn this lesson in Vietnam???
    Unfortunnately, the gods use the United States as one of their tools, using the spread of democracy to level the playing field and prepare the planet for a global event.

    So many people don't care about global warming. They don't care about the Federal deficit/debt (outside of partisanship) and they don't care earning $400k for an $80,000/year job will eventually bankrupt the country. They have awarded themselves $400k pay and retirement packages, loading up their friends on the payroll during the boom 90s through the real estate bust while all services which the program were intended to fund now get cut to pay for it.
    These people are often common public university labor. Not Ivy League, not private university.
    This labor isn't good enough to command the salaries they are earning. And they understood this when they applied to the public university they settled on.
    You can't expect a top-tier salary with a second-rate education.
    They think they are going sometime during/at the end of this life, and disregard the poor souls who are left behind.
    These are the people who will be here in the United States when bankruptcy is declared and society deteriorates into chaos. And they will deserve the anarchy which ensues.

    Continuing the push for privatization, reinforced and supported recently with enormous public sector salaries and retirement packages.
    Once achieved the gods will utilize the corruptive predisposition of the private sector economy, as seen with the sub-prime/bailout fiasco, to initiate economic catastrophy and initiate the bankruptcy proceedings of the United States.
    Whether the cure for cancer/diseases or the permanant resolution of economic misery, before the gods remove these motivations to pray we will experience an inordinate deluge of each element, with economic misery being perhaps the dissallusion of the united States with bankruptcy.

    The gods used the Italians to ruin life in the 20th century.
    The gods used the Italians to ruin life in A.D. with The Church.
    The Church controlled Western Civilization. As the largest land owner in Europe they controlled the monarchies. They were responsbile for slavery, revenge for African invasion and rape of Italy. They created religious discontent, ultimately leading to the disfavored dumping ground known as the United States.