Thursday 22 July 2010

Let’s see action

The Government’s desire to coerce charities into doing some of their work will backfire. It will decimate the workforce in the civil service, local government and other agencies, thus adding to overall unemployment, it will lead to inadequate and second-class services and it will come at a price ultimately for the government. As I’ve said on many an occasion cost savings in reality relatively are. At the end of the day you usually get what you pay for. Charities also have different agendas to governments, and unlike public servants they are not apolitical. I’m not knocking charities although in a perfect world there wouldn’t be a need for them. Charities are focused on helping people, the ConDem government isn’t, so there is bound to be a conflict of interest. Charities tend to speak up for the people they wish to help; they will probably do so even if their paymasters are the government. They will bite the hand that feeds, and quite rightly so.

I like charities that take positive action to forward their campaign. If this news story from Sky is to be believed the charity ActionAid are mounting a passive guerrilla type campaign against Asda to highlight the exploitation of foreign worker in the Asda supply chain. I’m not sure how effective ActionAid will be at getting their message understood by the average Asda shopper but I wish them success. A bit more direct action from charities can only be a good thing.

Thursday 15 July 2010


Got back last night from a few days in Edinburgh. Will be blogging about it soon but in the meantime here’s a photo I took in the High Street. Why the Scots want to commemorate one of their ain folk that has caused much pain in the world god only knows.

This bastard has got a lot to answer for!

Thank goodness there is an antidote – shame no one in power wants to use it.

Friday 2 July 2010

“Poor in UK dying 10 years earlier than rich, despite years of government action”

That’s a headline from the Guardian website today. It is sub-titled: “Department of Health and NHS criticised for making too little progress on tackling key barometer of inequality”. I think the point is being missed, big time!

Medical science and the health service have both come a long way in my lifetime. I think the NHS do a great job under the circumstances, and that’s not damning with faint praise. The NHS can only do so much on the life expectancy front. Throwing more money, resources and new procedures at ‘the problem’ I suspect would not really yield a significant return. It is not an NHS problem. There is a clue to the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ in the Guardian headline. It is the poor who are dying. The poor! Perhaps some of it is down to the standard of health care delivered, but I expect the greatest reason for the poor dying earlier than the rich is because they are poor. Poverty is a curable disease, but I don’t think it will be cured by a wonder-drug from some mega-rip-off-pharmaceutical company. Poverty might be a health issue but it is surely outside of the remit of the NHS.

Whilst we have poverty in this country, and whilst we continue to lack the courage to tackle the great wealth inequalities, the poor will continue to die prematurely, prisons will remain full, crime rates will soar, drug and alcohol dependency will continue to wreak havoc and social cohesion will remain a far off dream.

Equality saves lives.