Monday, 15 June 2009

David and Goliath, George and the Dragon

David doesn't want to take on Goliath, and George is being a bit wet about mounting his horse and taking his lance in hand to deal with that pesky dragon.
But Andrew went on the Today programme and was refreshingly honest / unwittingly candid / a bonehead (pick any one from three), and blurted out some home truths about spending. The cat, if it was a cat, was let out of the bag, had it ever been in one. What it did, however, was to let Ed start frothing about CUTS!! (always, in labourspeak, said loudly in capital letters and followed by exclamation marks).
I'm all for them, of course. I have always considered most government spending to be, logically, half as efficient as private spending, and the more of the latter we can do, at the expense of the former, the better. Small efficient government is a worthy ambition not just in the current circumstances, but all circumstances.
So George had to say something. And he has. There will be commentary about truthfulness and bravery, all of which will be guff. Any conservative worth his salt should always be able to articulate this argument, and should not be overly sensitive about his timing.
All this new found good sense comes with a catch, of course. Or two catches, much the bigger of which is the NHS (the smaller being Overseas Aid, or Post Empire White Guilt - a topic for another day). It seems as though we should look forward, at least for the next six years, to an even bigger NHS, consuming yet more money, employing yet more people. There will be suggestions that the middlest of the middle managers might be downsized, or shed, like so much cellulite as the patient's fitness regime takes hold. I doubt it. I would say that we need to have a debate about this, but of course it will result in the Holy Cow remaining Holy. Holier, even, than thou.
So what should happen instead is that the Tories must kick the habit, and do the hard work of coming up with a sensible alternative to our current arrangements. It may be ironic that it could happen at the same time that Obama is motoring towards the British Solution, with all the expense and socialism which is implied, but so be it.
Mark Steyn, a man who would have an opinion on the breeding of goldfinches in Slovenia, if you asked him, certainly can get a head of steam up over something like this, and here he goes:
When President Barack Obama tells you he's "reforming" health care to "control costs," the point to remember is that the only way to "control costs" in health care is to have less of it. In a government system, the doctor, the nurse, the janitor and the Assistant Deputy Associate Director of Cost-Control System Management all have to be paid every Friday, so the sole means of "controlling costs" is to restrict the patient's access to treatment. In the Province of Quebec, patients with severe incontinence – i.e., they're in the bathroom 12 times a night – wait three years for a simple 30-minute procedure. True, Quebeckers have a year or two on Americans in the life expectancy hit parade, but, if you're making 12 trips a night to the john 365 times a year for three years, in terms of life-spent-outside-the-bathroom expectancy, an uninsured Vermonter may actually come out ahead.
I get a lot of mail each week arguing that, when folks see the price tag attached to Obama's plans, they'll get angry. Maybe. But, if Europe's a guide, at least as many people will retreat into apathy. Once big government's in place, it's very hard to go back.
Here's the whole thing. I'm afraid that he, like me, is short of a sensible alternative immediately to hand, and just wants to vent his spleen, but hey, that's blogging.


Philipa said...

Dear Idle, forgive me but I cannot read the blue type as I need spactacles. So allow me a comment without also reading Georgie boys two-pen'th and acknowledge that it may be like the Labour party stance on the economy - all Balls.

Cuts are all very well if done sensibly. But I doubt they will. I put it to you that "Overseas Aid, or Post Empire White Guilt" should NOT be a topic for another day in Westminster but a subject for NOW!

You see they will sqeeze the easy targets. I've recorded incidents where middle class people stand up for the idea of mass immigration without EVER rubbing shoulders with it. Their children do not go to schools where 16 languages are spoken in one classroom and the teacher is not multilingual. They don't have married children at home that cannot get government housing because they have all gone to asylum seekers. It is the poor that pay. The less well-off that feel the real effect of cuts and high ideals that do nothing for the working class. Or the underclass.

But you don't care about the underclass? They don't matter? They will increase and get angrier and more desperate if employment continues to decline, immigration is not reduced, and benefits squeezed further, as is currently happening.

The lazy sods should get a job? WHERE??? LDV has just closed down and there simply isn't another factory or a convenient Victorian cotton mill up the road. Those days have gone.

ANY political party should:

* abolish overseas aid: charity begins at home.

* scrap ID cards: bloody stupid idea anyway.

* restructure the health service by LISTENING to health professional and patients. And recind the Labour partys barmy idea of payments to doctors that achieved more pay for less work.

I've posted on this before that government funding structures to hospitals actively encourages... no, FORCES hospitals to waste money in order to keep the gravy train running.

And that is just patently bloody stupid.

But the Tory party won't do these things, Idle. They won't. Becasue like those pigs in government all they are concerened about is having their little pink noses in the trough and bullshitting a disenfrachised resigned electorate.


idle said...

Golly, pip - is it raining over your way?

First things first, I have darkened the quote (from Steyn, not George).

I agree that the Overseas Aid is not a government job. And if many British people disagree, there is nothing stopping them making donations to Oxfam and Merlin and the Red Cross and Jeux Sans Frontieres.

Philipa said...

I know, oooh can get annoyed. Sorry, Idle I fray slightly when it comes to inept political posturing from the prime parties nowadays.

Will read the quote. Thank you.

Philipa said...

PS: twas raining.

Grumpy Granny said...

Pip:: Well said; spot on.

Anyone know how we can get a few Iranians in to show us how these things should be dealt with?

You will enjoy quilting. I have been doing it for the past 10 years or so and now have a house full of the bloody things. Nobody wants to buy them and I can't even give them away!

William Gruff said...

What do you mean by 'a sensible alternative'?

Either one agrees that the state should control every part of one's life in order to maintain the insane fiction that the state can make life perfect, and eternal, or one does not.

Whichever view one holds, there is no alternative, sensible or otherwise, so you need not apologise for not offering one.

Philipa: Well said, rain or no rain.

idle said...

Thanks, Wm, I now understand.

Philipa said...

Thank you both. 'preciated.

William Gruff said...

Idle you are a master of understated irony and I now feel chastened for my presumption. I've suffered severe thrashings that were less painful (though not for a very long time I hasten to add).

idle said...

Not meant harshly, Wm. I'll buy you a pint on the Fylde one day to prove my bona fides.

William Gruff said...

Not on the Fylde you won't. I'll happily buy you more than one in Nellie's, Beverley, or The Three Stags' Heads at Wardlow Mires, Derbyshire, but there is nowhere on the Fylde that is worth drinking in.

I remember a truly memorable evening, about 15 years ago, at The Three Stags' Heads. I'd taken the future second Mrs Gruff out there for a drink (this was before the long overdue reform of the laws). Late in the evening, or early in the morning, the landlord's wife began to pester me, gripping my braces in her hands and tugging me towards the door, much to the amusement of the future second Mrs Gruff (by then well in her cups and much of a giggle). I wasn't in the least interested but it would have been churlish to refuse and so I allowed myself to be led outside by the lady. I was delighted to find, and the future second Mrs Gruff much amused to be told, that the dear lady wanted no more than a sound slap on the arse, or several; so much so that she repeated the performance at least once.

Driving into a quarry; breathing a sigh of relief as the police car beside me at the traffic lights in Sheffield drove off to the right after switching on its blue light and lying with my head on my desk as TFSMG scraped vomited cheese and wholemeal bread sandwiches from my respiratory passages are just a few of the memories I treasure from that evening.

William Gruff said...

PS I proposed to TFSMG in Nellie's by informing her that if she could promise not to become a pain in the arse I'd marry her.

idle said...

Romantic bastard, that William Gruff.

Tells a good story, though.

Philipa said...

Golly, WG, how could any girl refuse?

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions