Market Madness 161

The first post of 2013 comes to you from the cardiac care unit of the QEQM Hospital in Margate. Three days ago I collapsed for the second time in two days; an ambulance was called and a paramedic arrived within 5 minutes, with a full ambulance arriving inside a further five minutes. The NHS at its amazing best. I am well looked after.

This is how the NHS should work; public services provided by the state quickly, efficiently and directly. Yet a couple of weeks previously I had an example of just how the NHS should not operate. I returned from Ghana with a persistent ear infection, resulting in pain, deafness and loss of balance. I went to see the GP who agreed to refer me to a consultant. A few days later, instead of an appointment, I received a letter outlining the NHS “choose and call” programme listing a number of hospitals and phone numbers, and giving me a code to use to book an appointment. This is all in the name of patient choice.

But I really do not want this choice. I want my local hospital – and every local hospital – to have an ENT consultant working to a high standard who can sort out an ear infection. Then I want an appointment to see them quickly. I am not buying a novel or a washing up liquid. The idea that every transaction involving provision of state services should be based on an expensively created and entirely artificial market mechanism is an ideological frippery. Behind that letter lies a mass of administration to record my choice and shuffle invoices and financial transfers between my GP’s practice and whichever hospital I pick. Those invoices and transfers are all entirely internal state administration yet add massively to – multiply – the cost of simply getting a man to look down my ear canal.

There is a parallel here to the private sector distortion by which the middlemen who transfer the money for transactions have contrived ways to complicate that function until they are the major beneficiaries of economic activity.

Thankfully in emergencies this craziness is not yet applied. But I do not rule out one day being stretchered into an ambulance, asked where I want to go and handed a telephone.

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161 thoughts on “Market Madness

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  • guano

    Suhayl, dogs are much cleaner than the whitened sepulchres of the disgusting Church of England. Now I find ambitious rich Pakistanis desperately trying to imitate the colonial hypocrisy of faded British power. And that is even more repulsive to my sensibilities than the shenanigans of Christianity. I would have to add a bit of Savilesque necrophilia to deepen the tone of my repulsive language powers.

  • Jives

    Didn’t realise Anders7777 had been ill.

    He certainly enlivened the al-Hilli thread but his driving energy on the massive and ongoing Savile thread on the Icke forum must’ve seriously drained him in his last few months.

    He was a man who was on the right side,the human side.

    Peace and light to Anders.

  • guano

    I suppose I should forgive the sight of practising Muslims sniffing the testicular hormone delights of the dead dog of colonial power on the basis of my own inability to let go of the madness inflicted on me by the church accepting adultery as a routine peccadillo.
    You try to re-visit your persecutors in order to gain control over the experience of helplessness. ‘What about a game of golf after midday prayers followed by a swig of champagne top lookalike Brunei Wafirah fruit juice down at the club, old boy?’ ‘ Topping idea!’

  • Mary

    UK Chilcot Inquiry: “The Iraq War Was Unlawful”. Unanimous Legal Opinion of Foreign Office Lawyers

    Cameron government is blocking publication of their “official” report

    Carl Herman
    Global Research, January 04, 2013

    The UK Cameron government is blocking publication of their “official” report on Iraq war until perhaps 2014 or later, according to the UK’s most popular newspaper website.

    Perhaps this delay is in part because the Blair government was advised before the war by all 27 attorneys in their Foreign Affairs Office that war on Iraq was unlawful. That would mean armed attack on Iraq would be an unlawful War of Aggression, with identical criminal implication on US armed attack on Iraq.

    Unlawful war requires US military to refuse all war orders and arrest those who issue them (more documentation here).

    Public understanding that current wars “on terror” are not even close to lawful would end these wars. War law forbids all armed attack unless under attack by another nation’s government.

    As I wrote in 2010:

    All the lawyers in the UK’s Foreign Affairs Department concluded the US/UK invasion of Iraq was an unlawful War of Aggression. Their expert advice is the most qualified to make that legal determination; all 27 of them were in agreement. This powerful judgment of unlawful war follows the Dutch government’s recent unanimous report and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s clear statements.


  • Mary

    Cameron sets out reform agenda
    By George Parker

    David Cameron claimed on Sunday the coalition had “a full tank of gas”, as he prepares to set out plans for the rest of the parliament to reform pensions, social care, child care and to improve Britain’s transport network.

    Mr Cameron and Nick Clegg, his Lib Dem deputy, will publish on Monday a “midterm review” trumpeting the coalition’s achievements, and setting out a work programme that is tightly constrained by the crisis in the public finances.

    .FT today

    Q. Is the gas perhaps nitrous oxide, hydrogen sulphide or just plain old hot air?

  • Mary

    Nor me Rose It cuts off after David Halpin is about to speak again something following Miles Goslett’s comments about the total lack of fingerprints on Dr Kelly’s personal possessions. A ‘play’ button was shown at 13.59 which, when pressed, returned the video to the start. ???

    We shall see. A glitch or some sabotage. There was a lot of ‘buffering’ throughout but the videos always resumed.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Happy New Year Craig ! It can only get better and I hope you do too.
    keep taking the medecine. I’ve heard when its over 12 years old its more effective.
    Sorry to read about Anders777 demise.He was a passionate blogger.
    And as for the NHS, it’s reminiscent of the British rail sell out. They are being set up to fail with all the new measures, rules and reporting.But no fear, Virgin is there to fill the gap when it does. Meanwhile the people who work for the NHS and trying to do a good job are being handed a bucket with holes in it, and it’s our Govt. that continually punch it with new ones.
    The Condems are intent on its destruction, and there’s nothing stopping them.Fait accompli.

  • Mary

    s/be .. speak again following Miles Goslett…

    I don’t know if anybody has these green metal cabinets on the pavements in their neighbourhood but watch out for Branson the fly poster. Not content with his shafting of the NHS, he is now having extremely tacky (in both senses of the word) self adhesive plastic laminated advertising posters put on to both doors of these cabinets. Here one is in bright Virgin red advertising Virgin Media HD TV with another in bright red showing a photo of Mo Farah.

    I would bet that planning permission has not been obtained from the local council but I will find out. Many have already been torn away but because of the adhesive used, torn sections are left behind. Very unsightly. What a nerve. I bet he wouldn’t like them in Notting Hill or Necker Island, two of his places of residence. What a tosser.

    His Virgin Money outfit is taking off too. They have just taken over a premises here that was a Pizza Hut so you can imagine the size of it. All lavishly fitted out and again the dominant colour is red. The staff must get headaches.

    A PS copied from Medialens –

    Branson and Banksters want us to remain in the EU. About time we left then?
    Posted by Des Custard on January 4, 2013, 12:50 am

    Yet more loonery and intellectual dishonesty from Richard Branson. Not only does he fail to point out how he is planning on moving part of his business to Switzerland which to my knowledge is not part of the European Union but Mr Branson claims the alternative would be ‘isolation and protectionism’.

    I think this neatly sums up the corporatism surrounding a potential referendum on this issue.

  • Villager

    I’ve had the same problems as others on Press tv’s Dr Kelly videos. Should anyone come across them on YouTube or elsewhere, please do post the links here.

    Mary, yes, this definitely stinks of sabotage.

  • Mary

    The green cabinets on pavements that I spoke of earlier do of course contain cables and terminals.

    I was trying to find out who now owns the cable network but got lost in the details in this.

    Talk about a tangled web. More like a shark infested pool. Acquisition after acquisition. Namechange after namechange. A lawyers’ paradise to fix the deals. Does anyone know who they work for?

  • Habbabkuk

    Why all this indignation about cuts to housing benefit? Providing unlimited housing benefit just makes private landlords rich(er); rents will fall once they realise that tenants won’t (can’t afford to) pay the sky.
    And why should housing benefit not be capped at the level of the average wage?
    And why should poor people have a “right” to live in expensive areas? I can’t afford to live in Mayfair – so I don’t. Why should it be different for someone whose rent is paid by the state rather than from his own pocket?

    Just asking.

  • Villager

    Back on topic, Craig sorry to hear about your illness. Hope you’re able to get to the roots of it and treat accordingly.

    For those interested in taking responsibility in maintaining their health and, through that, enhancing their awareness and self-knowledge, i recommend you get a close look at Ayurveda.

    Like many things, it’s easy to blame factors outside oneself and more difficult to look inside and take responsibility for what’s going on there–in a mind, body and consciousness sense.

    There’s lots of info out there. A good place to start is the online resource at this website:

    As an aside, Assange too would benefit from taking herbal Ayurveda medicines specifically for his ‘raking cough’ as well as for mind-body balance in general, given his unusual circumstances.

    If anyone here has any personal experience of ayurveda, i would certainly like to hear about it.

    The way i see it, it is the next big thing coming that will radically change the way we look at our health, especially when integrated with allopathy in chronic/acute conditions. But it will be slow to arrive because of the vested interests of the big drug companies and sheer ignorance in all its forms especially in the bureaucracy.

  • A Node

    Ayurvedic experience:

    My girlfriend and I used to go to India every winter. One time she kept getting sinus and ear trouble whenever she went in the sea. She tracked down an Ayurvedic doctor and asked his advice.
    “Keeping your head out of the water, Madam”.
    It worked.

  • Habbabkuk

    All over the place, A Node, including on various previous threads on this blog.

    My post was O/T on this thread, but no more so than lots of others.

  • Cryptonym

    I don’t think there should be complacency about the differently evolving Health Services in England or Wales, contrasted with Scotland. Many Scots have the impression that is really a phantom health service, there is nothing really there, it might efficiently deliver sprogs and keenly dispatch the inconvenient elderly, though chronic but not fatal in the medium term patients might struggle for their condescending interest or care. A judgemental nasty medical profession, a hard core forgotten or never learnde anything they were taught, who cannot hide their hostility to scared witless patients, exists; consultants who’ve done a hard enough day’s work, they think, by the time they’ve managed to park their four-ton demolition trucks in the hospital grounds; interrupted in browsing the holiday brochures for another impulse trip to some undiscovered native village with handily adjacent five star cuisine –by the inconvenient sick underclass’ too slow death march whines. Prescribe some psychotropic fake feelgood emotionless zombie pills, and tell to fuck off back to the Stasi-run jobcentre for loud scrutiny by SSRi’d-to-fuck staff of every other remaining private aspect of your life, you shirker weakling, it’s survival of the fittest and even if you don’t wish you were never born, the government and the NHS sure wish you weren’t.

    The parasitical private sector pigs always there, for all their ‘wealth creator’ protestations of a distinction they suck hardest and greedily, on the public teat.

    Housing benefit changes but not those mentioned above are relevant where for example single people, pensioners, widows, widowers or couples still living in 3 or 2 shoebox bedroomed homes or after children have long left the nest – marginally more than they need even for a lifetimes collection of nick-nacks and furnishings, in homes slightly bigger than deemed essential, people still just animate enough to make putting them in a wooden box unseemly, are coming under financial attack come April, pressured and stressed to move to smaller homes, often uprooted from familiar surroundings, a host of memorable and sentimental attachments, but also to lose friends, neighbours, support networks, their neighbourhood, everything. All they want is to live out their remaining years on limited means as they’ve done all their lives in the rented home thats all they’ve got left, without the cruel upheaval of moving against their will to uncertainty and fear, insecure tenancy. The Tory and Labour position seems to be hard luck, stupid fucker losers, no aspirations, should have bought it for washers and become property speculators like us. One-bedroom local authority or housing association homes are often as not in the worst condition and locales, plagued by incorrigible alcoholics and ghetto blasting pilled-up youth, possessing just one CD, the one that goes Boom Boom Boom Boom ad infinitum, through big speakers sat on the oh so fashionable laminate flooring, reverberating to the floor above and below and through entire buildings. Hardly a conducive environment to peaceful senescence or for frail, sick or vulnerable people.

    Conscienceless cruel ideological blindness, a one size fits all countrywide social blitzkrieg, to save nothing in real terms, miniscule in comparision, nothing in real terms but pocket change, to the frightening and stupendous rewards for and to the inherently criminal and banker mafias.

    Politicians, even corporations and nations hail the real power: banking -legitimised theft.

  • thatcrab

    I read a lot of truth in that Cryptonym. Its not Mayfair luxury that is yearned for by ‘value neutrals’, it is just conducive space. This should have been the easiest thing to achieve with modern design and construction capabilities (and fossil fuels), but it has been made very scarce. People would not aspire to pay so much for housing and do such simplified, contrived, un-fulfilling work for corporate designs, if the alternatives were not made very bleak. Unemployed and even homeless people can be as worthwhile anyone else – i reget that seems like a hard idea to float in these decivilized monetized times. I have met many an unwaged unhoused angel in my time and too few hard working philanthropists.

  • BrianFujisan

    Like Mary. I had a feeling something was up, Hope you are well soon Craig, Take it slow noo,

    Most of the girls i know are nurses…and every last one of them fearful for their jobs in Inverclyde I.R.H. Some them relocated to distant areas, with about an hour of sleep lost in the mornings, and returning very late. We all make mistakes. But the possible consequences of tired, Fatigued nurses screwing up….???…

    Here we Go Off topic again. But Knowing Craig’s Love of Ghana, just wondering what this is all about, Stealing large Quantities of Gold??. And from Whom

    The Assange arrest..Sweet Mother of Fk. Surely Julian would have seen that one coming.

  • nevermind

    I also had problems with the Press TV video of Dr. Kelly. Can’t understand why they don’t make it a download, bar the control they loose, that’s inadequate news presentation and they can do better than that.

  • Mary

    A brave woman, the successor to Brian Haw RIP. She is on a hunger strike.

    A Press TV interview with her.

    Meanwhile the pathetic heir to the throne drones on about his son’s bravery and how he worries about him doing his job out in Afghanistan at which he is brilliant, according to the concerned parent! Fancy being proud of a son who presses a button which sends another human into oblivion with a Hellfire missile.

  • Mary

    Can you imagine being similarly addressed by the BBC responding to a query?


    Dear Mary,

    Thank you so much for your keen observation and your kindness in contacting us with the problem. I will personally see it through and will upload the correct version ASAP.

    We are honored to have an audience like you.

    Kindest Regards,

    Masoud Razfar
    Sales Executive Documentary Department

    PRESS TV Documentary Department
    6, East 2nd St., 24-Metri Blvd., Saadat abad
    Tehran 1997766411│I.R.Iran

    9.06 am

    Dear Mary

    The correct version of the 2nd part of the Dr. Kelly documentary is now uploaded. Since we can keep the full-feature movie on our website for a limited period of time, I advise that you watch it and recommend it to your friends.

    Thanks again.

    Kindest Regards,

    Masoud Razfar
    Sales Executive Documentary Department

    etc etc

  • John Goss

    Mary at 7.28 pm. PressTV want to know whether the documentary about the death of Dr David Kelly cut off in the first showing. But nobody seems to have seen that. When I first posted the link my advice was that it was to be broadcast at 7.00 pm BMT on Saturday. If you recall the link was behaving strangely. See my comment at 5.44 pm on 5 January.

    “O/T Correction: on a David Kelly website it says the programme ‘Aperture – the Death of Dr David Kelly – an open case’ is being broadcast at 7 p.m. tonight on Press TV. The link I’ve provided above seems to have a countdown time of some 5 hours 18 minutes before the programme starts whenever you access it.”

    Nobody seems to have seen it at 7 pm. (except perhaps the secret services) but nobody either has seen it beyond the point where Dr David Halpin gets cut off in the second part and the screen goes green. Nothing in this day and age amazes me any more.

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