Andy's Blog

A Blog about me, Andy. The name says it all.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Worrying rise of the fundamentalist right

Just another example of how America is getting more and more strange by the day. What's more worrying is that this kind of sentiment is being exported over here like everything else from America (including the loss of civil liberties).

And we call the West civilised...?

The vote by the Senate (and the house of representatives earlier in the week) in America to allow what is tantamount to the torture of prisioners (all in the name of the war on 'terror') is startling. It perfectly highlights America's current disregard not only for human rights but also for international cooperation and treaties. The law allows the president to interpret the Geneva convention as he sees fit and then allow military comissions to torture prisoners for information. Now I'm no legal expert (and I'm sure Bush isn't either), but doesn't the Geneva convention explicitly say that torture is wrong?

Also, what is interesting is Bush's admission that this law simply ratifies a practice that the CIA were carrying out in secret anyway. How long is the UK government going to let America go along with out condeming it for the blatant human rights abuses and unilateral arrogance it is currently practicing? Quite a while, I should imagine.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Excellent article by George Monbiot

George Monbiot has written an excellent article in the Guardian today, which shows exactly how big business can be evil (and I do mean this literally), self-interested, self-serving, and against the common good.

It also shows how easy it is to persuade journalists (e.g. Daily Mail and Fox), that what they want to hear is the truth.

It also shows that the scientific conflict over climate change is fabricated and that we need real action now. Let's stop being at the beckon call of corporations and actually do what's right for a change.

I urge you all to read the article.

Another step towards NHS privatisation

Patricia Hewitt, UK Health Secretary, today addressed a labour-friendly think-tank and said that the only way to bring NHS reform was to include private companies. She refused to rule out any cap on private company involvement and advocated strongly for the privatisation of services, funded by the tax payer.

To me, this is simply mad. Privatisation of services is not the best way to provide patient care. All the examples of privatisation that we've seen so far (PFIs, out sourcing of services, privatisation of public bodies), have resulted in higher costs for worst services.

All the government is trying to do is reduce its costs, so it can give tax breaks to the really rich. At the same time, they'll be giving the contracts to said rich evil people, making them even richer.

It's time that the public start being realistic about this. Their health service is under threat. They will simply be screwed by private companies, treating health as a way to make a profit. We should not exploit people's health and well-being. I thought the welfare state was meant to move beyond profit to an egalitarian view of humanity and helping people. Obviously, a growing number of self-interested and powerful individuals feel otherwise.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Today I'm angry about...creeping NHS privatisation

Yesterday the government announced another example of creeping NHS privatisation (or blatant NHS privatisation in this case) to little media attention.

The not-for-proifit company which manages the logistics for the whole of the NHS has been contracted to DHL in a 10 year deal worth £3.7bn a year.

What I don't understand is why a successful not-for-profit organisation that is highly motivated and effective (according to them) and award winning (according to someone else) needs to be sold.

The government hopes to save money through increased effeciency, but does it really expect to save £1 billion when DHL will be looking to extract a massive profit from this? It also claims DHL will save money through economies of scale, but I think this effect will be small when NHS logistics has the purchasing power for the whole of the NHS anyway.

What I'm even more astounded at is that this is supposed to be a time when the government is promoting not-for-profit organisations as running public services (something else I disagree with, but that's a different matter). So why, then, is it selling a shining example of something it is trying to promote?

This is just an attempt to line the profits of the already rich. We have lost another part of a valuable (soon-to-be-extinct) public service.