Wednesday, 31 August 2011

We need Independent Advice for everything

It's come as a bit of a surprise to me as I thought we in the UK were pretty relaxed about the whole issue of abortion rights etc.
Nadine Dorries MP and Frank Field MP's main current beef is that the charities which perform the procedure also provide advice on options etc. and should be stopped from doing so in favour of "Independent" services. -
She also said
"The important thing is that the government have highlighted and agreed that counselling by organisations that are paid to conduct the procedures is not independent [...] That's very reassuring"

And Mr. Field went as far as to say :
"It is a general principle that advice and services should be separate," [...] I have no evidence of [biased advice]. But we had no evidence of mis-selling of pensions until people investigated." (Guardian)

I suppose the implication is that the charities are pushing more women into abortions to make huge bumper profits for their charity.
Now I would never, ever, go so far as to say that an elected member of our country is smearing an entire sector with vague unsubstantiated innuendo's of downright dishonesty with no evidence.
I'm sure that may be going to far, even if I am a supporter of evidence based policy (which there appears to be not much of around here).
Therefore I'm going to take at absolute face value the suggestion that advice and services must be completely separate.
As a result I've decided to petition the government to make the rules consistent when it comes to treatments offered. As far as I can see it there are plenty of providers who currently provide advice on things that they have a hand in providing.
In order to be fair we need to make it a legal requirement for these things to be treated equally in all cases. I decided to start with dental treatment.
Heres the wording of my petition
It has recently been established in proposed amendments to the health care bill that organisations that are paid to conduct procedures are apparently not independent enough to advise on procedures.
Therefore I propose that all patients of NHS dentists have a legal right to receive counselling and advice independent of the dentist who performs the treatment, before the treatment is performed.
Indeed there is currently nothing to stop dentists proposing unnecessary treatment for patients as they receive money for each piece of dental work completed.
This makes sense and is consistent with other pieces of legislation that are currently being proposed
I think this is a completely logical extension to the proposed amendments, and I look forward to Nadine Dorries's support when the petition goes up.
In fact this should be extended to NHS treatment (performed by all willing providers) when the NHS is remodelled under the current governments NHS legislation. Doubtless, to be completely consistent Nadine and Frank will also fully support my next petition at that point.

If you wish to sign the petition - please look here  -


Monday, 22 August 2011

In Which I proclaim the Death of Satire

Tom Lehrer, was famously quoted as saying that political satire died the day Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I never thought satire could be dead, until recently.

I've been trying to think of something vaguely satirical to write on this blog recently, and I failed miserably as I couldn't satirise the ridiculousness of the truth. I think I'm going to have to declare the end of satire as I know it.

Here comes a few examples, of things I tried to think of something funny to think of, but failed miserably as they are far too absurd to start with (apologies in advance as these are a bit UK centric).

  1. "Big Society" Tsar quits, as he doesn't have the free time.
    Explanation may be needed here for foreigners and other weirdos. "The Big Society" is the current government's key idea, basically for voluntary organisations and people in general to take more part in helping their local society etc. Which is fine as far as it goes, except most people see it as a thinly veiled way to stop providing local services in the hope people do it for free. And it's generally been an utter failure as people worry more about their jobs than about how they can give back more....
    In a society where people work more than ever before, this is found funny. The fact a person who was championing this idea, had to quit as he didn't have the free time is deeply hilarious.
  2. ATOS Get's contract to run IT for Paralympic games.
    The IT company ATOS has been in the news here (in the UK) recently as it has been the administrator of "Work Capability" assessments, which are an software based test for determining whether a person claiming Incapacity Benefit is capable of going back to work. (Incapacity benefit is a benefit that goes to people incapable of work, largely through disability, but also possible through severe injury, long term illness etc.)
    The test has been roundly criticised, by many in the press, users of the service, and MPS. Not least because 40% of it's
    decisions are overturned if people appeal.
    Indeed an MP said in Parliament ATOS assessments cause "Fear and Loathing" in claimants.

    The absurdity that they are put in charge of a key part of an event that is intended to portray disability in a positive light is quite staggering....
  3. Mcdonalds, Pepsico and Diageo take a key role in UK Health policy
    Yup, those bastions of healthy eating form part of the government advisory groups on obesity, and alcohol problems......
  4. Catholic Church Child protection officer is paedophile....
    I can imagine the conversation in head office before appointing him
    "After the damage that paedophilia scandal has done to the church's image, we'd better appoint a child protection officer to make sure it never happens again.
    Shouldn't we check that he's not a paedophile first?
    A paedophile in the Catholic church? How likely is that?"
  5. Tory Government Advisor declares (in the midst of recession) that most people have never had it so good.
    Now many people down the years have characterised members of the Tory party as a little out of touch with the common man, being a little posh, or rich. Often this is satirised.............but who needs to when peers like this prat talk utter rubbish.
  6. Sacked News of the Screws Executives get offered jobs in Siberia
    For your crimes against Journalism Carole Malone, You are being sent to Gulag smile.gif
  7. Of Course it must be noted that Iran recently tried to make their own entry into the satirical comment market when it declared that it wished to send human rights observers to the UK in response to the recent protests. (Although I'm not sure if that should count as I suspect the schadenfreude was strong with this one)