The title tells you something about how things come to me.
I predict that the Conservatives will beat Labour by 8% and Brown will resign within days.
I am a right winger but on capitalism I am not totally doctrinaire. The NHS has many flaws such as being overly bureaucratic, wasteful, bossy, overly indulgent towards druggies and those who ruin their health. For all its flaws the NHS does much good too. The US is debating giving everyone access to health insurance. Congress has passed this but it is far from a done deal. I believe that Republicans in the US are too suspicious of public healthcare. There has been reasoned criticism of Obama’s package but much of what the right in the US has resorted to is scare mongering of the worst kind. I oppose Obama but he is not a Communist as some nuts have labelled him. One placard showed the emaciated corpses of concentration camp victims and said that these were ‘victims of public healthcare.’ This was an extremely low, dishonest and vile attack. Looking at Canada surely Americans can see that public healthcare does not lead to totalitariansim.
Americans spend twice per capita on health what Britons spend. Ok in the UK it is spent by the government on the whole and not the individual. Yet the US has worse outcomes such as lower life expectancy – the higher murder rate in the US does little to explain this.
The US pays so much for health because its doctors are the best paid in the world. It is so litigious and doctors have to insure themselves against malpractice suits to an enormous degree. The US is overly cautious and tends to over treat.
I admire the US a lot but since the 70s or so when it became to litigious it lost its brave pioneering risk taking spirit. It became over regulated – it was supposed to believe in small government.
Americans tend to believe that a beer is more dangerous than a gun – like at the ages at which one can legally obtain these things.
But I digress from the healthcare debate. We already have some chao rges in the UK such as prescription charges and most people pay for dental care – NHS dentists are hard to find. A 15 quid fee to see a GP would deter malingerers – the poor would be exempt as in the jobless, pensioners, students etc… We could make people in hospital pay charges for their food and bills as they would at home. No more free sex change operations, terminations and IVF. Thes are all elective lifestyle procedures – they are not about survival or even quality of life.
I think more of a public private partnership on health in the UK would be better. The Irish Republic, France, Germany and many western states have such a system and it is much more efficient.
My name is pronounced Calers with a short ‘a’. I have a single ‘l’ here so one knows that this is not pronounce ‘callers’ as in people who call.
As for other names – when was it that Labour lost its ‘New’ prefix’?
At least the Conservative and Unionist party has not change its name. Has it officially dropped the ‘Unionist’ part? I have not seen it in any bumpf however obscure for yonks.
Much though I find his 2001 flirtation with the SWP rebarbative I must admit that Cohen is a man of rare lucidity and bravery. His books such as What’s Left? and Waiting for the Etonians are very readable. His prose is acerbic and he exposes the hypocrisy of the left. Bigotry is quite acceptable if it happens to be a member of a minority faith or ethnicity that espouses such a view – that is the stance of much of the liberal left. He wrote in the New Statesman of how the liberation of Iraq was eminently justifiable from a leftist perspective.
I know an unrepentant Stalinist who speaks up for Moqtada as-Sadr because as-Sadr opposes the US presence in Iraq. This is all too typical. But even milder leftists voice such opinions.
It reminds me of the Danish cartoons issue. Many were upset by them. This is not reason enough to ban them. My attitudes are greviously offended on a daily basis by Commies but I would not stop them expressing their opinions. I acknowledge that Muslims are entitled to fight fire with fire. A proprotionate response from Mohammedans would have been to publish a cartoon.
Witness the fact that Labour tried to stop Geert Wilders from speaking in the UK. I do not share his views and banning the Koran would be an exceedinglu illiberal act but that is what Wilders calls for. At the same time Labour allows Islamist groups to legally exist whilse they call for death to be awarded to gays and feminists. Double standard is not the word for it. Wilders’ views though worrisome are not in the same league as those of the Islamic fundamentalists.
I am not against Islam. There is a positive side to it with charitable giving. its encouragement of literacy and its opposition to female infanticide. These were big advances in 7th century Arabia. There are many likeable Muslisms. It is more respectable than some faiths. Liberal Muslims are perfectly convivial. Fundamentalist ones are not to my taste overmuch – in the same league as fundoes of any faith. But if a fundo chooses to keep his faith to the private sphere – so long as this is not abusive – then I can see no reasonable objection.
The Conservatives are 5% ahead of Labour. Not as slim a margin as one might suppose. The Conservatives have since 1992 consistently performed better than their poll ratings. It is the closet Consevative phenomenon. Many people feel they cannot admit to being pro-Conservative in polite society. Cf: Northern Ireland where surveys always overestimated the middle ground. People are often unwilling to admit to their more extreme views to a stranger even in an anonymous survey. The Conservative Party was seen as being beyond the pale by many of the chattering classes.
The allegations regarding Byers et al have come at precisely the wrong time. I do not assume that he is guilty. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt.