Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blunt and sharp

From a post at the LPUK blog:

However as is usual with our lefty friends they don't actual [sic] present any solid arguments in support of the NHS.

The basis of their argument for the NHS is that if we didn't have the NHS we wouldn't have a health care system. And everyone would die. Which is utter tosh.
The problem is, the post at Liberal Conspiracy being criticised makes no such claims. It's a silly post, but it doesn't suggest what is attributed to it. Left wing critics of health care reform in this country are, as His Eminence pointed out recently, curiously conservative, resisting change for the sake of it, waffling about our institutions being "the envy of the world" like some 1970s Tory talking about the (then eye-wateringly corrupt) police force. They let their own dogmas stand in the way of the simple pragmatism of taking the best from health systems around the world, and people suffer and die avoidably as a consequence. There's lots to criticise in this type of approach, but it's hard to see what attacking arguments they haven't made is likely to accomplish.

The LPUK post goes on, describing quotations from the LC post as "lies... nonsense... and spin": assertion without argument, solid or otherwise. When an argument does finally appear, it is this:
As we all know the 'free at the point of use' line rolled out by lefties to support the NHS is one of the most incredible examples of mass delusion possible.

It's similar to buying something online and then claiming it is 'free at the point of delivery' when it is posted through your door. Quite how anyone can suggest something is free when you've already paid for it is beyond me. Do people think hospitals grow on trees or something?
"Grow on trees"? That's parent-speak. I'll give you grow on trees...

The NHS is free "at the point of use". Arguably that's one of the things wrong with it; the addition of a small consultation charge for GPs might discourage frivolous use of their services. The qualifier "at the point of use" recognises that we pay for the NHS through our taxes.

In the LPUK post is a clip of Daniel Hannan being interviewed by Judge Napolitano on a Fox programme called Freedom Watch. Hannan is introduced as an MP (he's an MEP) and Prime Minister Brown is described as Chancellor Brown. Hannan is excellent but he is not surrounded, in these cases, by the sharpest implements from the tool kit.

LPUK showed some early promise, I thought, but seems to have turned into the saloon bar at a home counties golf club; its members have, for some reason, elected as their leader a cross between Captain Mainwaring and David Icke.

All very odd.

On the other hand, the Oxford Libertarian Society blog is worth an RSS subscription. There's a good piece here about the recently deceased G.A. Cohen's critiques of liberal and libertarian thinking. Among other things, it points out what is on the face of it a contradiction in some Marxist thinking: the notion that it is exploitation for capitalists to benefit from the labour of their employees suggests that these employees have moral ownership of the entire total of their individual outputs, whereas the idea that part of their outputs should be redistributed (according to need) suggests they don't. If someone can take away some of their output, why not those who have financed the business as well as, or instead of, the State?


dearieme said...

'The NHS is free "at the point of use".' Except for dentistry, prescriptions, glasses and ...anything else?

Anyway, the economic pickle that we are in means that the NHS, and a great deal else, will bloody well have to change. Thank God someone is lookinhg at wot furriners do.

John B said...

Eh? The NHS is cheaper than wot furriners do. The Germans and French spend 2% more of GDP, or about 20% more in actual money, on healthcare than we do (and that's *post* Labour's pointless 'every GP a millionaire!' spending hikes).

It might be less good than those systems, but the *economic* pressure for reform is negative.

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Von Spreuth said...

Except for the quarterly "Praxisgebühr" (Fine for being ill) of €10, the German health care system is ALSO free at point of use. (Another exception, as "Dearieme" pointed out being opticians/glasses, and dentists). Sweden, Denmark, and many others are similar.

AND if we need an M.R.T, or any other urgent procedure, we can get it TOMOROW in most cases.

So why do the Brits always insist that the N(o) H(ospital) S(afe)is some kind of one off world wonder?