All hail the NHS

A well known political ploy is to release bad news at the same time as some other major issue hits the headlines. The past few weeks have seen a lot of media focus on the EU withdrawal bill, the World Cup and President Trump’s actions over illegal immigration. The announcement that the NHS will receive additional funding (from higher taxes) also dominated the headlines. Buried in all of this was the latest scandal from the NHS – the needless deaths of hundreds of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

A report authored by the former Bishop of Liverpool James Jones (who also ran the Hillsborough inquiry) found that of 1,500 deaths studied at the hospital 456 died following inappropriate administration of opioid drugs and possibly 200 more patients died prematurely as a consequence. The report named Dr Jane Barton, a GP who worked as a clinical assistant and found that she had been overprescribing opioids to patients from the mid 1990s. What is particularly disturbing is evidence that other professionals and managers at the hospital knew about it and not only did nothing; they bullied whistle blowers into silence. The matter has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration so we don’t know if Dr Barton was at fault, all we do know is that she was named and we also know that 456 people were killed. Whatever the truth of it, the calls from some quarters to consider this as a crime of mass murder I find hard to ignore – a simple test for you, don’t say 456 people died, say 456 people were killed as I have just done, then see how you think.

A rogue nurse or physician has a particular dread given the trust that is placed in medical professionals. Fortunately such rogues are rare and they are certainly not unique to this country. However they do seem to be able to operate more freely and thus kill more people if they work for the NHS. This is not the first time hundreds of people have died at the hands of the NHS, Between 1975 and 1998 Harold Frederick Shipman killed an estimated 250 people most of whom were elderly women. Shipman’s murderous activities were not halted by anyone from the NHS; it was John Shaw, a taxi driver who reported to the Police that he suspected Shipman of murdering his patients.

The Alder Hey scandal although not involving the deaths of patients provides a further example of how malpractice flourishes within the NHS. Professor van Velzen retained organs from children’s post mortems at the Alder Hey hospital without the consent of the parents. The anguish this caused to grieving parents who yet again had to attend a beloved child’s graveside is unimaginable but a troubling aspect is that there were already concerns about Professor van Velzen before he was appointed to the post, perhaps what is worse there was no monitoring of his performance thereafter.

Once again it was not the NHS that halted Professor van Velzen’ s pitiless practices, it was the determination of Helen Rickard who lost her 11 month year old daughter (who died undergoing open heart surgery). Helen demanded to see a copy of her daughter’s medical notes and found out that the pathologist had retained her daughter’s heart. This took place at a different hospital – the Bristol Royal Infirmary but thanks to Helen an inquiry was set up that uncovered what was going on at Alder Hey.

The Gosport report was not the result of any action from the NHS it was the result of campaigning over two decades by the families affected. The NHS not only seems incapable of intervening where medical malpractice is concerned it does its utmost to conceal it, to punish those who to speak out and to protect the perpetrators. How many more examples do we need before people realise the NHS is not the shining guardian of the nation’s health it would have us believe?

In an earlier blog I argued that whilst I support the provision of universal healthcare, I maintain the NHS is one of the worst systems that could be designed to deliver it. Spain and the Netherlands are two examples of countries that have much better systems – and much better outcomes for their patients. Yet here we are – throwing more taxpayer’s money at a system that systematically kills hundreds of its patients and carries on as though there is nothing wrong.

Of all the countries in the world that have adopted universal healthcare not a single one of them has copied the NHS model but rather than considering a different approach our politicians have weaponised the NHS, Labour sees it as some form of medical Stormtrooper to be sent into battle in every election campaign, the Conservatives too timid and too weak to touch it for fear of a public backlash.

I doubt the money being given to the NHS will much to improve patient outcomes, more likely is that some of it will be used to hire even more Diversity Managers and LBGT Outreach workers, even more will be wasted providing services to people who are not entitled to it and right now, right this minute at a hospital near you people are dying before their time, killed using our money, killed by a bureaucratic machine that has a dark heart.

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And that girl had a wooden leg – how the Dark State media lie to you

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For some time now I have been observing the way the establishment and their mouthpieces in the elite media manipulate information. To a certain extent I think this manipulation can be beneficial to a society, the AIDS campaign during the 1980s managed to scare the pants off (or should I say pants on?) the entire nation but I am quite sure many lives were saved as a consequence. I would also accept the argument that in times of war a Government has the right to misinform or conceal information that would harm the war effort. Perhaps more borderline is the observation many historians have made about the way journalists covered the war in Vietnam, whilst high command had learned to button their lips, the war was presented to the free world as unwinnable. Some have long argued the war was lost on TV screens at home, personally I feel the press for once did their job and told the world what was really happening and helped shorten the war and saved thousands of lives on both sides.

So having accepted that in certain circumstances a Government has a level of justification for misinformation then where is the line to be drawn? For me the two examples of protecting public health and the prosecution of war could be justified but I have a real problem when a government is not at war or trying to protect the public from a biological threat. I have a really big problem when Government misinformation is used instead against the interests of the people it is supposed to protect.

You may recall the confected outrage over the treatment of the so called ‘Windrush’ people. The name comes from one of the first boats to arrive in the UK bringing people from the Caribbean to British shores to start a new life here. I have no particular issue with the event, I went to school with some of their children, they formed part of my life. My focus is on how their story was manipulated to achieve something else. Quite clearly some of them had been unfairly treated and most decent minded people accepted this and wanted it put right. However I would believe that our establishment deliberately threw some of them under a bus to orchestrate something else. The story was whipped up in the media and a cabinet minister was forced to resign – the narrative of a ‘hostile environment’ in terms of the Home Office attitude to immigration was subtly planted in our minds.

Having managed to create a media storm over the affair and generate a sense of misrule within a Government department the path was clear to appoint a new Home Secretary, one who could now implement a softer approach and begin to remove the few remaining controls we had over illegal immigration throwing open the gates to the biggest source of illegal immigration to the UK, student visas from the Asian sub-continent. This I think was the real intent of the Windrush saga. The past week or so has provided yet another example of this form of manipulation. A mother was prevented from bringing cannabis oil into the country, the oil was to be used as a treatment for her child who suffers from terrible convulsions, she maintains the oil alleviates the condition. The Home Secretary (the same one removing our border controls) issued a special licence to permit her to have the oil which at present is illegal in the UK.

It is difficult not to feel sympathy with the mother for bringing in an illegal substance to treat a sick child – after all what parent wouldn’t do the same? Yet there is something that does not ring true for me. Given our lax border controls what are the odds on the mother being stopped in the first place? After all she hardly fits the profile of a drug smuggler. Why the rush to issue the licence? Why issue a licence when there is little evidence that cannabis oil has any therapeutic value for any ailment?

Yet the story unfolds, William Hague, the former Conservative Party leader quickly follows up with comments that the war on cannabis has been lost (as though it was ever fought). Cue now a manufactured debate about the legalisation of cannabis (which inevitably will lead to legalisation of all illicit drugs). It is worth pointing out that as a younger man I was familiar with cannabis – and a few other drugs besides. I stopped many years ago, I did not like the lifestyle changes cannabis brought, I became lazy and self-obsessed, happy to withdraw from the world into the comfort of an artificial drug induced one. I saw with my own eyes the damage drugs did to some of my friends, I remember a friend breaking down in tears before me crying ‘Charlie’s got me by the b*lls and there’s nothing I can do’. Drugs are bad, drugs are very, very bad and only the bad or the deluded would want them legalised.

Sadly there is a very vocal, very influential group of bad / deluded people that have sought to legalise drugs, some because they have no concept of the damage drugs do to the poorest in our society, some because it is that very damage they seek to achieve.

The manipulation technique follows a pattern, don’t tell people your real intentions, find a human interest story instead – a young child at a refugee camp in Calais, a sweet girl in a wheelchair from Syria. Tug on the nation’s heartstrings, create a media storm that something must be done then quietly implement what you really wanted to do under the guise of reacting to ‘public pressure’.

The events in America over the past few days are directly from the Liberalists playbook, President Trump, who has a democratic mandate to control illegal immigration, has been vilified by the elite media for separating families. Whilst I would agree he does appear to have been a bit heavy handed, pictures of children in cages have not been used to attack his approach – they have been used to silence anyone who thinks nations must control their borders or they cease to be nations. Notwithstanding the fake hysteria it is the sheer hypocrisy of the Liberalists and their attacks that I find hard to stomach, shipping millions of military aged men across the Mediterranean Sea is separating families on an industrial scale but that’s OK because that’s a ‘Liberal’ policy? For real?

I have forgotten the name of the movie but I remember a scene where a man is presenting an inspiring story to an audience describing the triumphs of a little girl, he concludes to his audience ‘and that little girl had a wooden leg’. The film was a comedy, the speaker later confided he had made the story up but the scene perfectly captured how we can get manipulated by the use of a personal tale that touches our hearts.

This is how our establishment and the elite media work against us – so beware the next time you hear a little girl with a wooden leg story. Something else is going on and it almost certainly is not to our benefit.

 

Tommy Robinson – criminal or dissident?

A couple of years ago I went with some friends to see an exhibition at the Royal Academy of the work of the contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai is held in high regard within art circles and I did find many of his works interesting, although I was not particularly impressed by the way he sometimes destroys antiques and antiquities to create an artwork and I am certainly not convinced by someone who uses the work of an artisan to create a piece even if they are the inspiration. This is however beside the point, Ai Weiwei is also famous as a Chinese dissident. Ai grew up in China under Mao, in 1958 his father was denounced by the regime and his family sent to a Labour camp.

Ai Weiwei has long opposed the regime in China and used his art as a form of resistance. This aspect to his art I find much more engaging, few can doubt his bravery given the consequences of falling foul of the Chinese regime. An example of the clever way he uses art is a piece called Straight, made up of 150 tons of twisted steel reinforcement recovered from the rubble of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The story behind the exhibit is even more impressive; Ai felt that the Government was covering up the truth about how poor building standards had contributed to the death toll from the earthquake. Ai launched a Citizen’s Investigation and managed to compile a list of over 5000 people who had died in the earthquake, many as a consequence of corruption between local politicians and construction companies. Ai was arrested and beaten by the police so badly he later needed brain surgery.

I am struck by the parallels between the treatment of Ai Weiwei and the increasing number of arrests of activists in the United Kingdom. Set aside your views on some of them and consider this instead. Ai Weiwei broke the law, he broke the laws of the regime in China and as a consequence the regime moved against him – their laws legitimised their actions. I think most fair minded people are sympathetic to the cause of Ai Weiwei (and many other Chinese dissidents) because the only way they can express their views or question the regime is to break the law.

Now consider the recent case of Tommy Robinson. For clarity I am not one of his followers though I would defend his right to express his opinion – I just don’t like the provocative way he goes about it. Tommy was filming outside a court where a trial was taking place that had reporting restrictions. Tommy also had restrictions placed on him from a previous court case. The police arrested him for breach of the peace and a judge sent him to prison for contempt of court in respect of existing conditions.

From what I can gather Tommy is no angel, he had a recent run in with the law over a mortgage application. Tommy is not however a stupid man, he would have known the consequences if he had been arrested. This is at the heart of this post and the point I am trying to convey – for all his faults Tommy was prepared to go to prison, the deeper question is not why he broke the law, it is to ask why he felt he needed to?

We live in a country where the true scale and horror of Muslim rape gangs is being concealed by the establishment, at times it almost feels as though they are not only being concealed, they also enjoy some level of protection. Our media fails to do its job, one or two newspapers will run a hand-wringing piece from time to time but there is a consistent failure to ask the simple question – why is it that the followers of a particular religion seems to feel it is acceptable to operate in this way?

The victims of these gangs are mainly white working class (Sikhs are also targeted), yet whenever a working class person tries to speak out they are denounced and vilified, branded a xenophobe, a cruel label when it is they who are the victims of xenophobia not the perpetrators.

So ask yourself this – when the ordinary people, already reeling in the wake of terror attacks, are hearing of gang rapes of children happening all over the country, the perpetrators protected and their crimes ignored, are you really surprised when they turn to a brave individual like Tommy? When leaders no longer protect their citizens then they turn to people who can. When a State acts as though it hates its own people what options do you leave them?

We can call Tommy all the names we want to, we can join in with the smug delight of the bien pensants over his imprisonment, yet none of this addresses the perception both here and increasingly around the world that this country does not have a Government, it has a regime and this regime will brook no dissent, it is a regime that really does not like its people very much.

You don’t need to believe me, you can find out for yourself how the story was run on foreign news outlets, it doesn’t look good. Self righteousness on our behalf does not alter the fact that the Government and our media have lost the narrative. Put more bluntly it doesn’t matter what we may think about it if it is not how the rest of the world sees it.

So to all of those who are happy to see Tommy in jail I say this – why do you assume a regime that will willingly lock people up that it doesn’t like will always lock people up that you also don’t like? What happens when they start locking people up you do agree with? Because one day that will almost certainly happen if we say nothing.

Recently a statue of the suffragette Millicent Fawcett was erected in London; she is depicted holding a banner stating ‘Courage calls to courage everywhere’. Whatever your views on Tommy he did have the courage to try and get the truth about what is going on to the outside world and he has succeeded in that. He was arrested and convicted, yes he was, no argument about that, the question for us all is whether this makes him a criminal or a dissident?