Monthly Archives: December 2013

Will people get off their backsides about the NHS please

The National Health Service has already become too big, but has it now finally reached breaking point? Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the BMA thinks it has, and I do too.

An article in the Guardian today discloses comments made by Dr Porter which include:

  • An “arbitrary” straitjacket on the NHS’s budget by Whitehall is leading to job losses, recruitment freezes and inadequate care for patients.
  • Forcing the NHS in England to make £20bn of “efficiency gains” by 2015 at a time of rising demand for healthcare was wrong and damaging.

He is, of course, exactly right. Making cuts to the 5th largest employer in the world is inevitably going to have a negative effect when the government is its only source of income.

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The article goes on to quote the Department of Health:

  • “The key thing to remember is that there’s effectively a policy that results in redundancies because the single most important policy determinant in the NHS is the spending limits on it imposed by the government.”
  • “The NHS’s budget should be based on population growth and people’s health needs rather than arbitrary Treasury spending limits.”

Again, I agree with these comments. Where I start to disagree with Dr Porter, the DoH, Labour, the guardian, the BBC, and in fact, the majority of the british people, is on how to fix the NHS. We can’t throw more money at it (Unless you know someone who has a tree on which money grows) because our government is already spending too much (Not to mention the debt!).

If I had it my way, I would gradually reduce the NHS by replacing services with a true free market in which private healthcare companies can operate. This would drive down the costs of healthcare compared to the NHS and would save UK taxpayers £billions. In fact, in a previous post I described how the NHS could save 8% of its budget in one swoop by privatising GP services. Do you want to pay for people picking up sick notes for work off their doctor?

Anyway, this idea is probably impossible to achieve due to the media’s grip over the word ‘privitization’. The only real difficulty that occurs due to privatization is it means people would have to shop around themselves for the best bargin. It means they would have to get up off their backside and make their own decisions instead of being forced to pay for one price by the government.

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It’s Christmas!!…cartoon time from the US

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Government regulations are weighing down santa this year!

Government regulations are weighing down santa this year!

Don’t expect to get your present on time this year!

Less is more when it comes to government (and the NHS)

People always say to me “You can’t be interested in politics, you’re not even old enough to have lived through any!” all the time. This is one of the problems with our society at the moment. People think that you cannot have your own political view unless you have either studied a politics course at university or are actively involved in the political system.

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This problem intensifies when your views are not mainstream (Where mainstream means that you do not support one of the parties currently in government). I for one am an anarchist, and people often think that an anarchist is someone like Guy Fawkes who wants to blow up government. This could not be further from the truth. The definition is simply this:

Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies often defined as self-governed voluntary institutions, but that several authors have defined as more specific institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations. Anarchism holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, or harmful.

Now obviously there can be people who take this philosophy into their own hands and become extremists. But this happens with any philosophy, for example take the recent Greenpeace activists who proved they were terrorists when stupidly trying to board a russian oil rig illegally.

Holding the state to its actions is a key view of mine, and which I think should be second nature to everyone. Yet in this modern democratic world, nobody seems to even want to think this way. In fact, when things go wrong the only ‘right’ solution, people say, is for there to be more government, and more government spending. Yet government is bureaucratic, not value for money, makes many decisions without public consent (Because they think they know what is best for us) and takes money from people by holding a gun in their face.

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A government can be compared to the NHS, which is also all of the things I stated above. Yet whenever I list problems with the health service in the UK, people always shout back at me “…but the solution is simple, the NHS should increase its budget and expand”. Once I try to explain that the opposite is true, and that it would perform more efficiently and effectively with decentralised bodies (possibly county level) which can compete against each other and that GP services should be privatised people look at me as though I hate the NHS and all the hard work its employees do on a daily basis (Dan Hannan has also noticed this phenomenon). IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NHS EMPLOYEES; it has everything to do with how the NHS is great at wasting money, not being accountable and being overly bureaucratic (and here).

However, things are looking up for my point of view. Here is what a recent YouGov report had to say:

YouGov’s 2013 ‘Healthcare Choices: NHS versus Private report’ shows the public would welcome the private sector taking a greater role in the provision of their health services. Also, (62%),believe the private sector has a role to play in reducing NHS waiting lists, with just over one in eight (13%) thinking it should not.

Hallelujah!! Now people just need to apply this way of thinking to government itself. As I have mentioned previously in this blog, socialism is the philosophy of failure and is the natural course of all governments around the world. People need to wake up and realise that less is more in terms of government.

The philosophy of failure

This following piece of text explains why democracies constantly head for disaster when politicians who promise to give the people more are in charge. For many people, these policies are often too good to refuse, but their long term effects can be disastrous (particularly when you view the current national debt). 

The folks who are getting the free stuff don’t like

the folks who are paying for the free stuff, because

the folks who are paying for the free stuff can no longer

afford to pay for both the free stuff and their own stuff.

And the folks who are paying for the free stuff

want the free stuff to stop.

And the folks who are getting the free stuff want even more

free stuff on top of the free stuff they are already getting!

Now… the people who are forcing the people who pay

for the free stuff have told the people who are RECEIVING

the free stuff that the people who are PAYING for the

free stuff are being mean, prejudiced, and racist.

So… the people who are GETTING the free stuff have been

convinced they need to hate the people who are paying for the

free stuff by the people who are forcing some people to pay

for their free stuff and giving them the free stuff in the first place.

We have let the free stuff giving go on for so long that there

are now more people getting free stuff than paying for the

free stuff.

Now understand this.

All great democracies have committed financial suicide somewhere

between 200 and 250 years after being founded.

The reason?

The voters figured out they could vote themselves money

from the treasury by electing people who promised to give

them money from the treasury in exchange for electing them.

The United States officially became a Republic in 1776,

236 years ago. The number of people now getting free stuff

outnumbers the people paying for the free stuff.

Failure to change that spells the end of the United States

as we know it.

 

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How to save 8% of the NHS budget, make people pay for their GP care

I am convinced that private healthcare operating in a free market is always the best option for the taxpayer in the UK. Yet once you have a state run health service, its incredibly difficult to get rid of and you can even be told that you are unpatriotic for suggesting a way of improvement that doesn’t involve throwing more money at it. However, reducing government spending and burden on taxpayers is one of the themes of this blog and I’ve found somewhere where the NHS can save money for UK taxpayers: The GP service.

A report on the ‘evolving role and nature of general practice in England’ explains that GP services account for 8% of the total NHS budget. It also says that GP services for a whole year cost less than a single day’s hospital admission!

General practice accounts for 90 per cent of patient consultations and just below 8 per cent of the total NHS budget. Funding for GP services has risen in recent years in line with a strategy to increase the investment in general practice. Prescribing accounts for a significant proportion of general practice expenditure.
Around a quarter of the total expenditure on primary care relates to prescription drugs, and 98 per cent of these drugs are prescribed by GPs (National Audit Office 2007). Compared to other parts of the healthcare system, GP services are estimated to be less costly. GP care for a whole year costs less than a single day’s hospital admission. GP consultations cost less than outpatient consultations, accident and emergency and
ambulance calls. A face-to-face consultation with a GP costs the NHS about the same as a telephone consultation with a nurse through NHS Direct (Royal College of General Practitioners 2008b).

Surely we can save approximately 8% of the NHS budget if we just asked people to pay for their GP consultations and prescribed medicine. Personally, I understand the moral case for free healthcare, particularly in life threatening, emergency situations. But when people need to visit their local doctor to pick up a sick note for work, or to obtain some antibiotics for an infection etc. why should we not pay for that ourselves?

On a separate note, one of my all time pet hates is when people say that the NHS provides FREE healthcare. I wonder if they would see the light if they knew that more than £95.6bn (NHS England) of their money is spent on it every year.

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One man’s fight to abolish the common agricultural policy

The common agricultural policy is a product of the european union. It was first introduced in 1962, and since then has grown considerably. It consumes a massive 42% of the EU’s budget when only 5.4% of the EU population work on farms.

One man has been fighting against the absurd policies of the CAP for many years in the european parliament: Stewart Agnew. He is a UKIP MEP and also a farmer in the UK. Here is a selection of videos of his fight against the CAP:

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Government bureaucrat cancels christmas!

Government intervention and regulation in any industry can cause massive problems for companies. In fact, if an industry is over regulated, the companies simply leave the country. Even christmas movies can help explain this phenomenon! Just watch the clip below from Fred Claus the movie about a bureaucrat cancelling christmas.

KEVIN SPACEY CANCELS CHRISTMAS

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How can you ‘like’ politics?!

If you go back 100years ago, everybody was actively engaged in, and interested in politics. In present times, it is the complete opposite. I know that when I go home to spend christmas with my family they will take pity that I engage myself in current affairs. I’m sure other people who involve themselves will also experience the same thing. Nobody is interested anymore.

But to not be interested in politics itself is a dangerous thing. This is because democracy relies on all of the people and their individual views.

Anyone who says they are not interested in politics is like a drowning man who insists he is not interested in water

Yet people are understandably bored by politicians, who in modern times act like robots, trained to spew the same rhetoric over and over. But how do these politicians get away with doing this? The answer is simple, its because of the lack of interest in politics by the majority. If everyone was actively involved and engaged, politicians would be made to answer questions with real answers or face real public revolt.

In the current situation, not only does a lack of interest bode well for those in power, but it also fuels bigger government. This is not good from a libertarian perspective!

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Smile for Gibraltar!

Smile for Gibraltar!

Mariano Rajoy, spanish Prime Minister and Herman Van Romuy, the president of the european council.

The community…by the people, for the people

What is the difference between a government run service and a community run service? One is run by bureaucrats, the other run by the people for the people. A community run service would be more value for money compared to government intervention and the people who run the service will be directly accountable for their actions. Furthermore, the community can decide what the service should entail to provide the best service for their community, whereas the government service may be part of a national service, thus, the concerns of the local people are bound to be ignored.

People always confuse me when they oppose government cuts during times of austerity. Would they not rather run some things themselves? The amount of waste and corruption that happens when the government is involved is obvious.

I know setting up a community service is not strait forward but it can be achieved if everyone works together. 

Similarly, some people may not want the service altogether. By having a community service in place, this means that they are not forced to pay for that service by the government. If the money supplied to run the service directly depends upon its actions, then it will seek to achieve the best service for the people. Alternatively, a government service always knows that it will receive funding, therefore targets are, most of the time, lower than what they should be. 

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The EU…based on democracy, human rights, accountability and transparency

The council of the European Union had a debate today on the external action service. As I was reading the report, one section caught my eye: “EU support for democratic governance” of nation states around the world. These were some of the points outlined:

  • The EU’s support should be based on a rights based approach,
    encompassing all human rights, and the principles of participation, non-discrimination,
    accountability and transparency.

  • The Council underlines that better use should be made of the wealth of experience the EU
    has accumulated in the area of democratic transition

Wow, this is alarming considering that the core structure of the EU does not encompass all human rights (particularly some UK rights that are overruled by the ECHR), is not fully democratic, and is certainly not transparent! Where are those accounts that should have been signed off for the past 19 years?

Here is some more text from the report:

  • Notwithstanding the partner country’s needs and the commitment of the EU to provide
    predictable funding, the Council notes that elements of an incentive based approach can stimulate progress and results in democratic governance.

  • The Council also notes that while financial incentives are not sufficient to trigger democratic reforms, an incentive-based approach works best when a critical mass of funding is available in order to generate significant impact and results, and where allocations form part of a broader strategy of EU engagement.

So basically the EU are going to do more of what they are already doing which is wasting millions on trying to persuade nations around the world to become more democratic, even though they acknowledge that financial incentives don’t actually work!

The report can be found here.

ps. The president of the council is non other than Catherine Ashton, who incidently has never been democratically voted for in her entire life.

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When will it become illegal for politicians to print money

If politicians are allowed to print money to cheat the system, why are we not? Over the past 50 years, it seems as though people have forgotten how economies function. Some economies do well and prosper, some economies do badly and fail. If it fails, the politicians must answer to their citizens why they got it wrong and they should be accountable for their actions.

If this natural process is interrupted by printing money from thin air to postpone an upcoming crisis then no one learns the lesson. Here are some examples of how money in circulation has increased dramatically over the past 30 odd years:

The US:

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The UK:

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The eurozone:

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Japan:

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China:

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India:

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and some fun cartoons:

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Increasing government burden does not promote growth or prosperity

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VAT itself is actually the only fair tax that is used in the UK at the moment. This is because the rate is the same for everybody. However, I question whether it is even necessary when it has been proven that the most effective way of promoting growth, is by lowering taxes. Particularly when that tax forms part of a double/triple/quadruple taxation system. For example my monthly wage gets taxed, then with the money left over I pay my energy bills, which are also taxed, I go to the shop and by some food, again this is taxed, then I also have to pay council tax, next I put petrol in my car, tax, then I buy a ticket for the train to get to work, tax, and I could carry on all day. Would it not be more simple to phase out VAT and to implement a universal flat income tax to relieve the hardworking families of the UK? A tax system is most effective when ordinary citizens can work out their tax returns with a piece of paper, a pen and a calculator.

What is the best country in Europe?

I have always thought that Iceland, Switzerland and Norway were the countries with the most common sense in Europe. However, I found out today that Estonia is probably the best and here is why:

  • It is a pluralist democracy
  • A market based economy
  • It has liberalised trade
  • It has no budget deficit and total debt is 5% GDP
  • Unemployment is 1.8%
  • 90% of the economy is privitised
  • You can register a business in under 18minutes (14months in Italy)
  • It has a flat tax
  • It is the law for the government to have a balanced budget
  • The Estonian Central Bank is barred from lending money to the government
  • It has the worlds largest number of start-up companies per capita
  • All their policies were inspired by Margaret Thatcher and Milton Friedman as admitted by former Prime Minister Mart Laar

What an incredible country. This is an example of what can be achieved with the right policies after breaking away from the soviet union (Ukraine should take note!).

Furthermore, Estonia was hit very hard during the recession, unemployment reached 18%! Since then, Estonia now has the lowest ratio of government debt to GDP and the lowest budget deficit in the EU.

Estonia ranks high in the Human Development Index, press freedom (third in the world in 2012), economic freedom, civil liberties and education. It is often described as one of the most wired countries in Europe (Internet), and is recognised as a leader in e-government.

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