Friday 17 October 2014

What A Real Labour Party Member Sounds Like.


HARRY SMITH, 92 years old, describes the world in which he was raised. A world of poverty in which the ravages of ill health simply could not be resisted by ordinary working-class families. Harry lost his sister to tuberculosis and heard his neighbour succumb, with agonised cries, to cancer. "My life", he told the British Labour Party Conference, "is your history, and we should keep it that way."

In 1945, at the age of 22, Harry cast his first vote for Labour to secure the National Health Service which formed the centrepiece of the Party's manifesto. Seventy-one years later, he implores the members of the contemporary Labour Party to hold fast to the crowning achievement of their predecessors.

To Britain's present Prime Minister Harry Smith had only this to say: "Mr Cameron keep your mitts off my NHS!"

Video courtesy of YouTube

This posting is exclusive to the Bowalley Road blogsite.


Alan said...

In that articulate 92 year old is the passion and the conviction and loyalty to something larger than self. Early Labour men and women would understand. It was a call from heart and guts, and the listeners responded as they would here too.

Its inspirational message was a light year away from the appalling Tony Blair's Labour Party, and from our parliamentary Labour Party too.

Send the clip to them! A bit of such inspiration is needed at this time of scrapping over leadership crumbs shapes up.

Alan Rhodes

Tom Hunter said...

I do hope he's not putting his faith in the people who were sitting there cheering him on? Given the growing problems of the NHS he may be in for a bit of a surprise when Miliband gains the PM's chair.

I doubt he understands that the laws of economics grind on beneath the surface of even government owned and operated systems and that rationing is always the result.

Still, I think he will know that only so much money can be spent to keep 92 year old men alive compared to today's 10 year old girls - and as an old soldier he will surely understand the need to sacrifice himself so that the collective may prosper.

I was a little surprised that he did not speak out in favour of the NFA - the National Food Administration that has done so much to eliminate hunger in Britain over the last 60 years. God knows how many would have starved had all the food producers been able to take their profit slices out of the system. It's unthinkable.

Tiger Mountain said...

A good symbolic reminder of where the left came from and then degenerated to like Ken Loach’s “Spirit of ’45” film.

We have mean streets enough in NZ again but the solidarity is what is missing from earlier times. 6 People last night chained themselves to a huge truck and prevented for one day at least the removal of another Glen Innes state house. There should have been hundreds there.

To paraphrase an old saying about people “walking to the polls to vote Labour in in 1935 and years later driving down to vote them out”–mid level earners whose parents at least may well have grown up in a state house will now be queuing up to buy them for renters and capital gain”

There will be a spark that lights the mass movement again and it is likely to be either state housing/poverty or environmental degradation that kicks it off with a side helping of anti war protests.

james said...

IT is not Harry!s first claim to fame,speaking about humanity,and capitals usury of our being.He is also the old fella in that Rodger Waters,son Perfict Sense.

james said...

Chase the line,look these farm fence leaners,look they are laughing,at this old fool.Where is that relevant today.Look our milk powder is not giving our return,our greed debt has to be paid for.Prices up for our Kiwi,consumers,well yes, got to get our debt and its greed paid,opps sounding like that old fool and his knowing of care.But its ours that are diffrent,just ours.

Loz said...

During the time of Tom’s childhood Rev W. W. Averil, son of the Bishop of Auckland, gave a public address into the Abolition of Poverty. In it, he stated:

We have been too busy talking depression, 'cutting down out standard of living when the country has never been so prosperous in real wealth. The economic system is faulty : we are told there are fixed laws of economics— this is too absurd. These are matters which man can modify as necessary.

It’s refreshing to be clearly reminded of what the Labour movement achieved when it completely ignored the dismissive nay-saying from the Right.

Anonymous said...

For goodness sakes there is no comparison between food, which in its nature can operate effectively as a classical market given low entry barriers leading to a multitudinous and defuse provider space across time and geography - about a close as you can get to conditions for a perfect classical and therefore effective free market to operate (although let's not forget the importance of a huge Govt food safety apparatus in its smooth functioning); and health, the near opposite, that relies on ratcheting intensified local oligopolistic supply due to the rarity of the skills required, continually increasing capital requirements, and the population base needed to support them; and you are not in a classical position of choice - information asymmetries prevail (do you really know better than your specialist?) and the very health issue/crisis that makes you a consumer of the health system, makes you an imperfect and unclassical consumer and defeats the possibilities of a classic market operating – you are bloody sick for god’s sake, or dying on the side of the f%&king road, you can't even shop around in the limited choice there is, or make sensible choices if you could. Hell, you might even be unconscious.

So what the hell that has to do with implying health would be better off with more market orientation beats me - it says you are just an ideologue. Try getting cancer, go through the process, and see if it’s anything like buying a hamburger. For all these reasons, health in fact works about as well as it can, when government provision is if not exclusive, comprehensively available. And finally, notwithstanding the foregoing, health is a matter of public security, no different to policing. Maybe in your ACT fantasy people should take self responsibility for say, Ebola. Maybe if you can’t afford to quarantine yourself or get medical treatment, you should be able to wander around freely in a free market and whatever happens to the population of a country after that, happens, survival of the fittest and all that.

Anonymous said...

The NHS was established in 1948 despite Britain being bankrupt from WW11 and with a huge debt to pay back to the USA.The following three decades Britain was a happy country with low unemployment and a growing economy, the 50s 60s 70s and most important divisive extremes of wealth and income inequality were minimised with a progressive tax system. There was a sense of solidarity.That all changed when Thatcher got in and her destructive policies were covered up by the oil wealth bonanza of North Sea Oil. The UK is now tyranised by a Tory, City of London elite who have robbed the public wealth from the treasury of a trillion pounds to prop up a corrupt banking system. They are now imposing austerity especially on the unemployed,disabled in a cruel barbaric way. You now have the obscenity of destitute persons their lifeline cut by benefit sanctions dieing in their hovels and committing suicide while bankers get huge bonuses and property speculators make huge profits on London property, it's now the U$K a pale imitation of the revolting system they have in America where 50,000,000 survive on food stamp handouts.And Cameron is privatising the NHS by stealth, public wealth being diverted into private hands. The U$K should privatise its useless government and outsource the government function maybe say, Finland? I'm sure they'd do a better job.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Not only that anonymous 23:59 but they have pretty much abolished any investigation into tax fraud :-). As heard on national radio this Sunday morning. You heard it here first folks.

pat said...

Both this and FDRs speech, timely reminders as they are, and the subsequent comment re past glory s have overlooked (once again) the problem as it exists today.
While in no way suggesting that what both aspire to is not still relevant I would suggest that an examination of a couple of fundamental aspects of our contemporary reality highlight the complexity of achieving those aspirations.
Daily there are examples of employment opportunities (and all the social benefits that they bring) disappearing due to globalisation and especially technology...and almost invariably from the low /unskilled work area.....the reality is , despite all the rhetoric around upskilling and re education not everyone is capable of performing the tasks available, even with the lowered bars that have been applied over the past decades.
How does a country with the lack of size and influence as NZ deal with a world economy that promotes and indeed imposes an economic model that clearly has failings and runs counter to what many are calling for?
I would suggest that if many of the conditions that were in evidence pre Neolib economics were to return tomorrow there would be substantial rejection of them from todays electorate and possibly even more important , rejection from those powers that continue to advocate the Neolib way (until it all collapses that is).
What is needed, I believe, is not a return to the past(even modified) but drawing on the lessons of both the past and present, but a new way of organising our economy/society to account for the rapidly changing world in which we find ourselves. What is that new way? is the question that all political parties should be discussing, maybe then they will find the relevance they seek instead of continuing to be a series of least bad options.
This of course does not mean we abandon segments of society while we do that.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately Labour in the UK with mass immigration has reimported TB which was completely eradicated previously.

Labour in the UK are a complete nonsense. The working class are deserting them in droves simply because they represent nothing of what they orginally stood for. They have driven down wages by over 2500 pounds for the average worker and are compelety responsible for the peadophile gangs in the Northwest of Britain through their desire to maintain community cohesion over protecting minors from Muslims.

Nobody in NZ can properly comment on UK labour unless they have lived here for the last 5 years, I sincerely hope NZ labour are nothing like UK labour.

markus said...

And didn't the British Medical Association (BMA) fight tooth and nail against the formation of the NHS in post-war Britain ? They were the main obstacle all the way through. When Bevan published the bill in 1946, one former BMA Chairman suggested: the NHS proposals "look uncommonly like the first step, and a big one, to national socialism as practised in Germany." He described the Minister of Health as "a medical fuhrer."

I always think of Denholm Elliot in Michael Palin's 'A Private Function' as exemplifying the pompous, snobbish, money-grubbing upper-Middle Class British GPs of the period - with their highly lucrative private patients and Savile Row suits.

Tom Hunter said...

Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn’t “stand in the hospital corridor and scream” in protest at the “almost callous lack of care” with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

Describing how her 6’2” husband lay crushed “like a battery hen” against the bars of his hospital bed with an oxygen mask so small it cut into his face and pumped cold air into his infected eye, Clwyd said nurses treated the dying man with “coldness, resentment, indifference and even contempt”.

Owen Roberts died on Tuesday, 23rd October from hospital-acquired pneumonia.

God, who are these whiners?

Clwyd, the Labour MP for Cynon Valley since 1984 and Tony Blair’s former human rights envoy to Iraq, told the Guardian she fears a “normalisation of cruelty” is now rife among NHS nurses. She said she had chosen to speak out because this had become “commonplace”.

You can read the rest of What A Real Labour Party Member Sounds Like.

Chris Trotter said...

Uncertain of the point you are trying to make here, Tom.

Are you attempting to persuade us that the NHS was a bad idea?

Or (and I really hope this is what you ARE doing) is this gruesome story intended to show us what the NHS has become after nearly five years of Cameron's brutal austerity measures (and many more years of Blairite neoliberal managerialist pressures on the British health system)?

I believe it's important that our readers know it was not always thus in the NHS. It is, perhaps, the greatest evil of neoliberalism: that its harsh and inhuman worldview slowly but surely transforms the people required to work within its institutions into harsh and inhuman beings.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Not just in the NHS Chris. Those who work in the general area of social welfare will tell you that efficiency is more highly regarded than effectiveness, leading to more and more of this sort of thing. If you can quickly clear a case by deciding that someone is not entitled to your help, or for that matter by passing the case along to someone else – you'll do it. I've posted this link before, but it would do some people well to read it.

Tom Hunter said...

Uncertain of the point you are trying to make here, Tom.

Well in that case I won't bother dumping more such NHS horror stories on your readers - of which there are many - since the point I'm making with that piece is that you need to be on very solid foundations of rectitude before making emotive, shroud-waving calls that condemn the private sector and extoll the NHS.

If the point you're making - with partisan attacks on Cameron and ideological attacks on Blair and company - is that the problems are recent, then you're also going to find yourself standing on quicksand. For all the talk above about how getting cancer is not like buying a hamburger, the cancer survival rates in the UK are godawful compared to that supposed vipers nest of neoliberalism, the USA - and have been for decades.

The more recent disasters: one quarter of new mothers abandoned by their mid-wives during childbirth, thousands who've given up trying to get GO appointments, consulting rooms with maggots in them - may well trace some of their problems to the "managerialist" approach of Blair and company.

But that approach itself is a classic example of a left-wing government that still believes the same things that you do about NHS-style approaches to healthcare - thall shall not blaspheme against the state religion - but who have to face the awful truth that more money has not fixed the problems.

As the following parliamentary paper notes. -
The last financial year for which there was a reduction in the percentage of central government expenditure devoted to the NHS was 1996/97 - and as that paper also pointed out:

Expenditure on the NHS has risen rapidly and consistently since it was established on 5th July 1948. In the first full year of its operation, the Government spent £11.4bn on health in the UK. In 2010/11, the figure was over ten times that amount: £121bn. Growth in health expenditure has far outpaced the rise in both GDP and total public expenditure: each increased by a factor of around 4.8 over this period.

I well remember the delightful chirrups several years ago from Nine To Noon's UK correspondent about the wonderful Gordon Brown who had deluged the NHS with more money - all part of the campaign to paint him as a "real" Old Labour type, as opposed to that nasty Blair that it was hoped he would soon replace.

All wasted. All down the drain.

Tom Hunter said...

And if you want to talk about a "harsh and inhuman worldview" I suggest you read that Guardian article again, with the Labour MP's concerns about a normalisation of cruelty. Anybody who has ever had dealings with your average government bureaucrat would know the feeling.

Also - in response to the "it says you are just an ideologue." bloke above - let me say that if I was suggesting a complete abandonment by the government from healthcare, then that accusation would stand.

But I'm not.

What I would like to see is a government that focuses on the areas where the private sector would not go - the treatment of things like some types of cancer and especially focusing on people who cannot afford healthcare. The arguments about barriers to entry, knowledge and so forth, are increasingly not true in 21st century healthcare (and I would note the equally ignorant assumption that food production does not have these things nowadays - have you seen the price of land and capital equipment required just to grow food on a farm, let alone process it downstream?).

Perhaps it's a matter of size - there's no doubt that the NZ health sector works much better than the NHS. But in the UK at least, a left-wing government could do what I suggest - but not if it continues to mono-maniacally focus on near 100% health ownership and free universal access. In light of the many other failures of 100% government ownership, as well as the specific failures of the NHS it begs the question of who the real ideologues are here?

Finally - if electoral failure or the failure of left-wing governments that are elected with Hope and Change in your hearts (the 2008 Obama worship being an echo of what was lauded on Blair in 1997) to actually work miracles with Government Health Care - has still not convinced you that you're wrong, then the failure of the British public to support the Save Our NHS protests in 2011 should have. As the following article headlined: Why aren't the masses joining the protests to 'Save our NHS'? Perhaps because the NHS treats them with utter contempt

Voters, Ordinary people. Workers. Their everyday experiences with the State, rather than blaring Murdoch headlines, are what counts.

You used to know that.

Chris Trotter said...

Well, Tom, I think you've established your ideological credentials very clearly.

Who could doubt it - given your praise for the American system. (Which is, indeed, a very good one PROVIDED YOU CAN AFFORD IT!)

To argue for a targeted NHS only further polishes your "more market" credentials.

It also suggests that you have missed the essential message of Harry Smith's address: that health care is a core right of citizenship, not to be rationed according to one's ability to pay, nor to be provided on the grounds of deserving poverty; entirely.

And, sadly, if you missed that, then you've missed the most important aspect of the entire debate.

Tom Hunter said...

And, sadly, if you missed that, then you've missed the most important aspect of the entire debate.

I thought the most important aspect of a healthcare debate would be the which system provides the best healthcare outcomes in practice - but thanks for reminding me of the awful results that can arise from fanatical insistence on an ideology.

The fact that you think it's about advertising your ideological preference for universal, no-questions-asked access - even in the face of rationing that denies such things in practice - means that you will continue on this increasingly doomed quest.

I don't think there could be a better example of such an ideological approach than your statement that:
... given your praise for the American system ...

My praise is for a system that has almost 83% of women diagnosed with breast cancer, still alive after five years - compared to Britain's 69.9%. Or men's prostate cancer, where the five year survival rate is just 51.7% - barely better than the flip of a coin. In the US it's 91.9.

Those are collective statistics, societal statistics achieved in spite of "PROVIDED YOU CAN AFFORD IT", as opposed to NHS stats, achieved in spite of your "CORE RIGHT OF CITIZENSHIP". Even stipulating that the latter is morally and ethically superior to the latter, do the result not cause even a moments doubt in your mind?

Why would not such a system be praised. If you think that simply doubling the amount of NHS spending will achieve those results then do it. The results of increased spending to date suggest that you will be disappointed.

Practical results vs ideology. Tell me about it.

Oh, and by the way, all this talk about the horrors of modern Labour and Conservative approaches to the NHS put me very much in mind of this quote:
The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.

That's Robert Conquest of course, who very well understood the results of a fanatical application of ideological faith.

Best of luck with the arguments here over the most important aspect of the entire debate. Just don't be surprised when the toiling masses increasingly tune you out.

Chris Trotter said...

Well, Tom, here's a challenge for you.

Why don't you stand for Parliament on the platform of substituting our public health system for that of the United States - and see how many votes you get.

Your analysis of the ills of the current NHS is as superficial as it is mendacious. No one living in Britain would welcome your sermonising on the subject. They know what's been done to their public health system, and they know who did it. They know what would fix it, too.

Your referencing of Robert Conquest (a right-wing historian notorious for his splenetic hatred of the Soviet Union) simply confirms my original suspicion - that you are one of those unfortunate souls who swallowed the neoliberal Kool-Aid, cannot get rid of the taste, and now seeks company for your misery.

So, please, in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets": "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Tom's figures are a little disingenuous. We don't know for instance if they are before after Obamacare. And the devil may be in the detail 2 – for instance "treated". Many people simply are treated. Not as such. If you don't have any money, or any health insurance you are simply stabilised and sent home. A sort of emergency uncare. You can cherry pick stuff too. I think the best appreciation recently has been done by the Commonwealth Fund, which said the NHS was the best of pretty much all the developed world's healthcare systems. Consistently outperforming the others in most areas. It only took a couple of minutes on the Internet to find this stuff and I'd sooner believe them than some random guy I don't know, thanks. :-)

Charles said...

Game set and match to Tom I reckon, Chris.
I just came back from a climbing trip to the US and a friend (Kiwi) had a bad fall while climbing with another guy. His hospital care was simply fabulous, almost over the top. I asked friends I was staying with what happens to people who have no insurance and cannot pay. They get the same treatment, as the hospitals will be sued if they do not. And a large bill which gets written off if they cannot pay. So the people who get done by the system are those that don't have insurance but do have some significant assets for the debt collectors to chase. Those with no assets don't pay anything, just like in the UK but get much better treatment. Obamacare is set to fix this. Perhaps ....
The best system is the French in my view, where you pay or have insurance but get reimbursed by the state. Way better than the NHS with its ideology resulting in universal second rate care. Sort of like Cuba really.
So let me see: You raised the NHS as a great Labour creation and have been shot down. Then there was that appalling racist FDR. Woops. Oh and Kirk, who I only recall as a sour moralising windbag similar to but not as funny as Lange. He was a fake too: My socialist academic uncle went to a lunch with him once and came back appalled he had told them: "All you need to do to secure the workers' votes is keep the price of fags & beer down". He still voted Labour though, as he was an academic and so thought himself an intellectual, superior to thick Tories. Nothing much has changed eh!

pat said...

Private healthcare is great .....for the one percenters. A few stats for Tom.
World Bank 2009-2013
Percentage of GDP spent on healthcare UK 9.4%, US 17.9%
Life expectancy (all) UK 82 years, US 79 years
Infant mortality (per 1000 live births) UK 4, US 6

Add to this the fact it is estimated there are 10s of millions of Americans without access to healthcare.
Yes the market is a fine instrument to deliver healthcare....if your goal is some form of eugenic population control.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

The idea that people with no money get exactly the same treatment as people with money is nonsense. If that were so, no one would ever pay. They'd just hide their assets and pretend to be poor. As I said, and I get this from reputable sources rather than some random guy, they are stabilised and sent home. No follow-up care at all. It's all done in the emergency department.

Chris Trotter said...

No, Charles, I haven't been "shot down" because Tom has tossed some unattributed and decontextualized figures into a comment and then, like you, proceeded to heap praise on the United States' market-driven health system.

And what can one say about your notion that US hospitals treat uninsured people for free out of fear of being sued - other than it reveals you to be every bit as one-eyed as Tom.

Do you read nothing, either of you? Honestly, the ignorance you fellows both display - all the time believing that you are highly intelligent men of the world - is astounding.

Your friend was treated well in an American hospital? Because? He had insurance? Yes? Well, I'd say that's QED for all of us who understand that the US has an excellent health system for those who can pay. And a crap health system for those who can't.

Of course, the fact that those who fall through the cracks are overwhelmingly Black and Hispanic renders them utterly invisible to smug white gentlemen of right-wing opinions like yourselves.

Which says rather a lot about both of you - and none of it good.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

There are a lot of myths about healthcare, both the NHS and the American system. One of these myths is that care is rationed under the NHS but not under the private system. Of course, it is rationed under both systems, just in the private system it's called economic rationing if I remember my economics papers from years ago. Those who can afford it can have it.

Anonymous said...

It was about a week ago, when Sean Plunket on Radio Live was playing part of this speech by Harry Smith, and abusing it, by not highlighting the actual purpose of the speech. He abused it by claiming that the speech showed, how out of touch "lefties" here in NZ were, as (according to Plunket) we have it better than ever, and as we would not have "real poverty" in this country.

I sent Sean Plunket an email, pointing out that he was mischievous, and that Harry Smith was speaking to highlight the appalling fact, that the tories want to privatise the NHS. Of course he did not reply or mention my email during his show.

That is how many in the media in NZ now operate, they manipulate progressive and leftist politicians and supporters, by playing them off against each other.

And indeed, Harry reminded people of what life in Britain was like, before the NHS, and before social security, and what he meant was, that if we do not fight the tories now, we may one day be back there, where Harry and his comtemporary fellow citizens once were.

Shame on Key and this government, wanting to sell off 20,000 Housing NZ homes, and to privatise social housing and welfare!

As for the British Medical Association, they also support the culling off sick and disabled off benefits in the UK, which is slowly happening here too:

Also google 'nzsocialjusticeblog2013' for more info!

Tom Hunter said...

Do you read nothing, either of you? Honestly, the ignorance you fellows both display - all the time believing that you are highly intelligent men of the world - is astounding.
Given the above, would you like to retract those ill-chosen words? I’ve been reading about various national healthcare systems for years - apparently to a greater degree than you or your commentators. I find it astounding that your friend did not run across the Lancet data, given what I wrote. A simple Google search lasting not minutes but seconds. Tell me about ignorance again if we choose to talk about drug treatments, hip surgeries and other such treatments instead of cancer.

By contrast the ignorance buried in the comment about the cancer stats - We don't know for instance if they are before after Obamacare. - is just begging to be unpacked. Who in this field would ever imagine that a system which did not go live until the end of 2013 could possibly have had any effect, positive or negative by now? Or did you imagine the effects lead back to it's mere passage into law in 2010? Not to mention the hilariously unbounded faith that any government legislation could have such miraculous powers.

As I said, and I get this from reputable sources rather than some random guy, they are stabilised and sent home.
So we’re back to talking about the treatment of individuals rather than collective, societal outcomes? Given the horror stories uncovered by NHS studies themselves I’d say you’re on shaky ground comparing US and UK shrouds - and the collective outcomes still favour the “awful” US system.

… proceeded to heap praise on the United States' …
I merely pointed that specific outcomes from the US system - in this case cancer treatment - were superior to those of the NHS.

If I wanted to I could find plenty of non-praise for the US system - probably more than you could. It’s just that my critiques would be different to yours.

Tom Hunter said...

Finally there is this gem: The idea that people with no money get exactly the same treatment as people with money is nonsense.
True. Unfortunately it’s still true even for systems like the NHS or Canada’s that were specifically set up to avoid that. Several years ago this led one American health economist to make the following scathing comment:
Aneurin Bevan, father of the British National Health Service (NHS), declared, “The essence of a satisfactory health service is that rich and poor are treated alike, that poverty is not a disability and wealth is not advantaged.”
More than 30 years after the NHS’s founding, an official task force found little evidence that it had equalized health-care access. Another study, 20 years later, concluded that access had become more unequal in the years between the two studies.

He’s referring to the The Black Report from 1980 (commissioned in 1977, before Thatcher) - (which actually says that unequal access to healthcare was widening even then) and The Acheson Report from 1998. Because I’m concerned about superficiality and mendacity I’ve provided the link to the latter (it should take you mere minutes to track down the former) and will even provide a quote from it
For many measures of health, inequalities have either remained the same or have widened in recent decades.
These inequalities affect the whole of society and they can be identified at all stages of the life course from pregnancy to old age.

The Whitehead Report published in 1987, and the Marmot Review in 2010, came to the same conclusions.
Similarly for Canada:
In Canada, the wealthy and powerful have significantly greater access to medical specialists than do the less well-connected poor. High-profile patients enjoy more frequent services, shorter waiting times, and greater choice of specialists. Moreover, non-elderly, white, low-income Canadians are 22 percent more likely to be in poor health than their U.S. counterparts.

Which led the US health economist to finish off with this observation:
In developed countries generally, among people with similar health conditions, high earners use the system more intensely, and use costlier services, than do low earners. It seems likely that the personal characteristics that ensure success in a market economy also enhance success in bureaucratic systems.

Except the bureaucratic system you have so emotively defended also produces poorer healthcare outcomes - and all this with steadily rising expenditure on it.

What a winner. It’s no wonder that British people actually have welcomed such sermonising reports (and the headlines) rather than “ra ra” support of one-eyed fanatical theorists, while also constantly returning to power the people ”they know” have ”done these things”. Apparently they either don’t know ”what would fix it” or have no faith that it can be.

About the only thing you've been correct about is that you’re certainly all stocked up on crazy here.

Chris Trotter said...

The reports cited address the inequality of treatment arising out of class differences. Surely Harry Smith's starting point?

Tom's argument similarly fails to address the simple historical facts that Harry uses to illustrate why the NHS was necessary. His over-riding concern, rather, is to demonstrate the superiority of the US market-driven health system.

The straightforward concern of Harry and millions like him was to have the State provide access to basic primary health services and hospital care for working-class people. That is what Labour did - to the vast improvement of ordinary people's lives.

Tom's facility for pulling ideologically-skewed "evidence" out of his market-driven hat strongly suggests that he is affiliated to (or an avid customer of) the vast "evidence" factories of the American Right.

These are the millionaire and billionaire-funded "Think Tanks" of the USA and the UK which, since the 1970s, have been advancing their bought and paid-for "studies" as proof that, in the case of the USA, health care must never be socialised, or, in the UK case, would be improved by privatisation.

Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

Tom Hunter said...

the vast "evidence" factories of the American Right. These are the millionaire and billionaire-funded "Think Tanks" of the USA and the UK which, since the 1970s, have been advancing their bought and paid-for "studies"

You'll be posting the first third of my comment, which contains the link to the cancer stats published in the Lancet Oncology magazine any moment now, won't you sweetie?

pat said...

the debate over healthcare delivery systems has already been decided by the evidence... an essentially completely market driven private system (U.S.) has consistently been shown to be less economically efficient AND produces worse outcomes, all the reports and posturing in the world will not change that amply demonstrated fact.
So the "bureaucratic" systems (e.g.NHS) are not perfect and have problems, I dont think anyone would dispute that, however advocating the repair/ enhancement of an imperfect system by applying an even less successful method of delivery is patently absurd.
As has been stated, prior to the the social provision of health care there was essentially nothing available to large segments of society with the the consequent suffering, shortened life spans,nor was there the medical advancement and economic benefit of a largely (comparatively) healthy population.
Aside from the humanitarian aspect of universal healthcare, I suggest you consider what your Rolls Royce Silver Ghost would be like now if it wernt for the advent of Ford, Nissan or Toyota....I would suggest that the few thousand or so beautifully handcrafted technologically stunted examples would be struggling to go anywhere due to a lack of roads or refineries.
Inequality of provision/ access in all things will likely always be with us, is that a reason to abandon at least the attempt to provide for all?
If so just come out and say it...."let the poor die and be quick about it".

Chris Trotter said...

No, Sweetie, I won't.

The Black and Acheson Reports entirely vindicate Harry Smith.

Your use of them to attack the NHS was (to be kind) utterly disingenuous.

Go peddle your craziness someplace else.

Charles said...

Excuse me Chris, you think relying on what you choose to read is superior to talking to people first hand? Have you been to the US to try it? These people I talked to are Obama supporters. Yes left of centre mate. Would be Labour voters here even.! So you are wrong. My friend was treated it their expensive system (one of its faults) before they even knew if he had climbing cover. And he was not a Yank. Turns out he did have cover so yes perhaps his later treatment was better for that and he will not be chased for payment.
But you do not read well perhaps: I said the French system best. Both the US & UK systems have major flaws. But you have lost this core argument: The Brit worker is not better off because of things like the NHS Labour there is so proud of. You are a Labour Pom now btw?
Capitalism & its science and technology is why all Brit & Yank workers no longer starve and die of bed sores, as they still did in many socialist countries until that system died quite recently.
Game , set and whole tournament to that well informed Tom. Are you a doctor perhaps Mr Hunter?

Grant said...

"A 2014 study by the private American foundation The Commonwealth Fund found that although the U.S. health care system is the most expensive in the world, it ranks last on most dimensions of performance when compared with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The study found that the United States failed to achieve better outcomes than other countries, and is last or near last in terms of access, efficiency and equity. Study date came from international surveys of patients and primary care physicians, as well as information on health care outcomes from The Commonwealth Fund, the World Health Organization, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.[80][81]"

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Actually Charles yes. As long as what you choose to read is proper research. You have is anecdote. Not at all scientific :-). In fact, I posted a quote from the British medical journal that showed the Acheson report blamed differences in income for differences in medical outcomes rather than anything to do with the national health service, which was held pretty much blameless. Doesn't seem to have shown up, but it is easy enough to find. I think the BMJ trumps your random guy in the street American though he may be.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Come to think of it, if the American healthcare gives poor people the same treatment as the wealthy, why was that Liberian immigrant with Ebola sent home with painkillers, even after he told them he came from Liberia? Surely he should have been rushed into an intensive care ward and given all sorts of anti-Bola treatments. If it were true :-). Mind you Charles, this is anecdotal evidence too :-).

Anonymous said...

Well said, Chris. It amazes me how right-wingers can lie through their teeth so consistently and shamelessly.

I remember watching a documentary on homelessness in the US (another blight that the market has so skilfully managed to heal).

There was a man who had hurt his back and could no longer work. Since their was no free healthcare (the market failed to help him, surprisingly) he eventually liquidated all his assets and ended up sleeping in a homeless camp out in the woods with mentally ill and violent drug addicts.

The beautiful and efficient purring of the market system was unable to help him in this case.

I'd say he's not alone given there are over a million homeless people in Tom Hunter's beloved USA. I'm sure they wouldn't mind a bit of NHS love.

pat said...

Am currently reading Saskia Sassen's Expulsions...your million homeless appears to be an understatement....but if you stop measuring they magically no longer exist.