What's wrong with our public services?

The NHS and the police , is it a drama, a crisis or a mess?

A Doctor, with  a pipe? Seen in Emergency Ward 10A Doctor, with a pipe? Seen in Emergency Ward 10

Now here's a funny thing, it has changed so much over the years, traditionally public service was seen as just one of those things but now it has a life of it's own. The concept of service has been turned around no longer are we the public served but we serve the services. Consider the NHS which has gone from its roots in medicine to being the national religion and people who dare to question this move are apostates. How did this happen? Clearly there is no single reason but the quaint belief that public services are 'free' is there along with other perceptions. At one time people took a pride in their health but now visits to their GP or hospital A & E department are routine and often for trivial matters. It's as if they don't care and seek a form of entertainment as if it's a right.

In 1937 The Citadel by AJ Cronin was published, Cronin was both a Doctor and novelist and this book was a publishers' dream in that it was a record best seller. Although technically correct it was loathed by some sectors of the medical profession. But we may assume that most people bought it for its entertainment value. Cronin was on good terms with Aneurin Bevan and this relationship is generally thought of as the start of the NHS as an idea. Cronin also wrote scripts for the BBC 'soap', Dr Finlay's Casebook, from 1962 till 1971.


The lethal state

How to get away with murder

In whom we trust?In whom we trust?
It was one of those ironic moments, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, John Humphrys interviewed Mike Farrar, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation on the subject of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust. So one failing organisation up against another. The exact death toll stemming from the breakdown in care at Mid Staffs may never be known, it could be over 1000 lives. And on the other side we have the BBC, employer of Jimmy Savile, although a serial hospital botherer and visitor Savile was not, as far as we know, lethal. Even so, this is hardly a platform upon which to build is it?

Humphrys, in Olympian terms gold, silver and bronze, was very much at the latter level. This was the setting used to interview the inept but now very wealthy George Entwhistle, the ex-head of the BBC. Bronze mode is what a boy might expect from the Deputy Headmaster having been caught doing something anti-social in the school library. So with Humphrys on a low setting Farrar had it easy he ran rings around Humphrys, he was brilliant.

And the reason for this? Well Farrar was well trained in the public servant's art of talking but not saying anything. Also Farrar's penny whistle reedy voice blandly cheeped and wailed while Humphrys sounded more like a bassoonist demonstrating his take on a complex musical score.


It's the world we live in - part 2

More on the public services

Rambo to the rescue? Rambo to the rescue?

Part 1 was posted before the results of the PCC elections. But even then it was obvious things where not going well, the results show the predicted low-turnout was true with many districts only just into double figures. Naturally a brave face was put on by the promoters of this idea, however, it will take a long time for the idea of elected local officials to recover from this set back. But that, as we suggested, is what some people wanted. The awful Sir Ian Blair is pleased, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, now wasting public money in the House of Lords spoke against the idea. And proved, if proof where needed, that the police force needs reforming.

However, the cherry on the cake was Blair's fellow traveller and equally awful, John Prescott, did not get elected as Hull PCC. This was despite, or even perhaps because ex-PM Tony Blair, 'helped' Prescott in Hull. As usual Blair confirmed our opinions of him, in the case of the statement about Prescott that he has 'lost none of his old magic' was nothing to do with Prescott but all about himself. As might be expected marmalade John, 'thick cut' fell for it, one might even feel sorry for him! However, the name Bliar was so apt for the ex-PM, then and now.

On the march

The police, the cuts and more

On the marchOn the march
It was not a good time for the police to march through London to protest about 'the cuts'. The same week the revelations following the trial of men in Rochdale for 'grooming' under-age girls for sex included the fact that the police had known of this and other cases for at least ten years. They had, however, not taken any action for fear of being accused of being racist, or at least this is what we are told. The immediate post-trial reactions of many people, not just the police, followed the usual path. Blame shift and denial, outrage and fresh threats of racist accusations were the basis of this phase. But we start with former MP Ann Cryer, for many years seen by her own party, Labour, and the liberal left elite as a bit of a liability for her campaigns on, amongst other things, forced marriage in UK Asian society.

It is said that she passed on information to the police, but nothing was done. Other people researching the darker side of UK Asian culture, female genital mutilation for example, have had a similar tale to tell. Nothing happens, nothing is done, statistics are not known or not admitted to.

Thin blue line or thick red one?

Who will vote on this, who gets to decide?

Thin blue lineThin blue line
Back HERE we praised George Monbiot for his article on policing, which highlighted the misuse of the anti-terrorism acts. Political policing is a fact in the UK not some airy-fairy point in a debate. Another fact is that the Guardian may parade itself as a liberal newspaper but it is from first to last a political paper. So along comes an opportunity for the paper to run an article rubbishing Cameron's plans for elected senior police officers, who would be accountable to the public, and they wade in with gusto the article may be signed by Mark Townsend, home affairs editor, but equally could have been written by a spinner from ACPO; it's kiss-and-make-up time! For this is no calm analysis, then put-down, we are told -

Senior police officers have launched a ferocious attack on David Cameron's law and order plans, warning that they will corrupt the traditions of British policing and undermine public confidence in the justice system.

And that's just the start, all the way through it's the same hysterical tone, there's nothing rational or forensic about it. It fails to convey an argument so fails to convince. So over the top and macho it's no better than a written version of 'kettling'.

Syndicate content