Pollock on NHS privatisation

Excellent video by Professor at QML:

Before privatisation started to happen in the 90’s under New Labour, the NHS cost between 4-6% of GDP; after privatisation the costs have more than doubled. Before privatisation administration costs were 6%, after privatisation much more (in the US 36% goes on administration and billing).

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act removed the responsibility from the secretary of state to provide care to everyone. Commercial providers can now choose who to give care to, which means, for example, that older people or people with chronic conditions may not be able to obtain care. That’s why people are calling for its re-nationalisation. There is currently a proposed bill to re-nationalise it and undo the 2012 act. Please support it.

Between Theology and the Political

BTatP poster jpg

Abbey House blogpost on Rose


Rose conference update

The Rose conference at Durham on 9th January will be held at the Lindisfarne centre in St. Aidan’s college, Durham (not the business school as previously advertised). Dinner will be in the business school nearby.


I’ve apparently just become a fellow of the Higher Education Academy, though I’m still waiting for my certificate. Thanks to the excellent team at Durham who guided many of us through the whole process.

You should read this

All of it.

Irrational politics

Remember when Habermas wrote a book with the title Towards a rational society?

Yesterday a council in Essex painted over a mural by Banksy. His piece was an ironic comment on immigration rhetoric, particularly the irrational (bordering on racist) line of UKIP, before which all the other parties (except the Greens) have kowtowed. Somebody apparently complained it was racist. Did the council decide not to act on the mistaken view of someone who doesn’t understand blatant irony? Did they put up a sign explaining why the artwork is not racist but an attack on racism? Did the council protect the right to free speech against somebody’s hurt feelings? No. They painted over it. Not long ago, Hilary Mantel was attacked for writing a fictional story. Same deal.

Yesterday morning, the Today programme interviewed an advertising person – not a policy analyst, not a political philosopher – about political speeches using individuals’ first names (as in the ‘Joe the plumber’ US affair). They asked, ‘does it work?’ This question almost outright admits that a great deal of our politics is manipulation and propaganda. They may as well have asked, ‘which psychological and sociological tricks can be most effectively played on the electorate to make them vote for one party rather than another?’ Interviews with people from the main two parties are almost never proper discussions of ideas, just an excuse for a politician to trot out some pre-arranged, PR-trained, smokescreen speech.

We talk up our democracy as if it’s some shining example. It’s actually closer to a plutocracy in which most people are not given the means meaningfully to participate. This sums it up pretty well. Here endeth the lesson.

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