Democrat January-February (Number 127)
Point of view by Arthur Smelt
In spite of the economic crisis Britain is said to be one of the richest countries in the world. However, that wealth is being misused in many different ways and unless drastic changes are brought about our problems will become more severe.
There are some Europhiles who put forward the idea that Euro-sceptics are ecstatic about the trouble the Euro is in and its possible demise. However, those Euro sceptics who are aware of the plutocratic nature of the system that engineered EU and see those responsible using obfuscation, deception and downright lying to justify and excuse the utter chaos they have created, there is little in the world of EU politics and economics to be ecstatic about.
The nature of plutocracy involves the rule and control of society by a wealthy elite. A state of government characterised by this has brought about an environment where masses of ordinary people have been put at risk of increased impoverishment. Mass unemployment brings with it failure to maintain reasonable living standards with food, clothing and shelter.
People are unable to set up a home because rent or mortgages are beyond their reach. Public utilities in absolute essentials like water, gas and electricity have been sold, often to foreign companies whose aim is profit rather than service to the public. Health services and care of the elderly and the mentally handicapped etc. leave much to be desired. Railway services which were sold to the private sector at give away prices, are now an expensive mess. Other transport services also leave a great deal to be desired. Post Offices, postal services, education, local authority services are being handed over to the private sector where private profit will be the top line. In Greece the worst hit country of the EU, suicide rates are reported to be up by 40%.
Increased unemployment will result in more crime at a time when police forces are being cut back. Austerity will only exacerbate an already fraught situation where purchasing power is falling and businesses are going to the wall. This will cause even more unemployment and business failures. In the face of all this, financial waste continues.
The full extent of bureaucratic incompetence and maladministration, both domestically and within the EU is such that it would take volumes to list and describe. One example which epitomises the utterly unbelievable is a report which appeared in March 2011 indicating that under New Labour, over £250 million was wasted by paying in advance, private health firms to carry out operations on NHS patients. Operations which never took place. Such mismanagement must seriously damage the morale of nurses and staff generally.
Originally £1,689 billion was paid in advance to private health firms who carried out £1,437 billions worth of work which meant that £252 million went into the coffers of private medicine as a free gift. It was also reported that private companies were paid far more than it would have cost to do the operations on the NHS. Firms like United Health of the US and Net Care South Africa were hired.
This huge sum of money was paid out during 2003 to 2010 when the NHS was refusing expensive cancer drugs to NHS patients. In the West Midlands private health firms received 1.7 times more than they were entitled to. This kind of incompetence if that is how it can be described, is not confined to the NHS or the public sector but there are those who would have us believe this is the case.
When these events were taking place, millions were being wasted on PFI schemes which readers of the Democrat will be only too well aware of. Unless serious steps are taken to stop such crazy behaviour, ecstatic feelings will not be the only element in short supply.