Government Penny Pinching - The Economist

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by tattybadger, Sep 22, 2006.

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  1. The Economist has an incisive article about the pitiful managment of the UK's defence budget and the armed forces by this government. It clearly details the problems facing the services and identifies this government's failure to support service personnel on operations and during training.


    Succinct and Incisive Economist Article

    If serious journalists and service personnel have identified that this government has failed in its duty to its Armed forces then it is high time that the chain of command took politicians to task about it. Servicemen and women are paying the ultimate price on operations - it's time the politicians in their comfortable armchairs had the balls to commit sufficient resources (+) to ensure operational success and the safety of every single deployed serviceman/woman.
  2. I hope you're not suggesting that the people at the top might seriously consider their positions? And sacrifice their pensions? What kind of world do you live in?

    The pact has been broken for some time now sadly. If the chain of command can see the wood for the trees, then frankly, there's little hope left.
  3. "Soldiers wounded in Afghanistan and evacuated to a Birmingham hospital had, until recently, to pay to watch television.'

    A Land Fit for Hereo's.
    Whats an MPs overnight lodging allowance ? Let alone a Minister.
  4. Where is the money going? The Telegraph reckons that the treasury is now raking in over £1 billion per day (link). In return we get the worst public health service in the developed world, an education system that now sits between Malta and Portugal in the European league and the highest levels of violent crime in Western Europe.

    Where's the cash going? They can't be spending all of it on John Prescott.
  5. Personally I think You are talking b0ll0x. Where are Your links to the statements You have made???
  6. Always good that the picture isn't British troops...
  7. Really? Which statements do you think are wrong?
  8. NHS being the worst in the developed world, perhaps - or the education system jibe. The latter makes the education system sound bad - is the system in Portugal really terrible???? Exaclty where in the "developed world" does our education system come???

    Show me the links to the ORIGINAL studies - not the Daily Expresses take on it since they, like all Redtops, regularly lie through their teeth
  9. Sven - clearly you either do not have children, or can afford to send them to a private school, where they receive a decent education.

    It is also equally clear that you are fortunate enough not to have had the misfortune to subject yourself to treatment at the hands of the NHS. Now, before you start jumping up and down, I am not having a dig at the staff who, like the military are under-staffed and whose management waste huge amounts of their budget on PC ideas, duplication etc. I can cite specific experiences my family have had, if you like.

    As for the education system, this government has (not many people will be surprised to hear) have changed the system in such a way that it makes no sense at all. Teachers are drowning in paperwork, meaning that children get homework from 5 years old. To make the whole thing more stressful for parents and children alike, teachers often give homework to be done in a manner which the parents do not know - causing huge amounts of stress to all concerned. And I am only scratching the surface - there is plenty more.

    Basically, for a supposedly highly developed country, neither our education or health systems are fit for the job they supposedly exist to conduct.

    Had you been in either of the above circumstances, (and I qualify on both counts), you would either be a lot less dismissive of AM's comments or qualify as a Neu Arbeit clone who cannot bear to see the truth.

    I await your rose tinted view of these two labour sacred cows with interest. I note with interest that you do not question the Economists view that this government has consistently under-funded and over-used the military - so there is a chance we might on something!
  10. I have no 'rose tinted view' to offer, but unless you are equally familiar with all of the education and health services, in Europe and 'the developed world' respectively, then your personal view of these areas doesn't actually amount to evidence that challenges Sven's view. And Ancient Mariner's point eludes me: Is he saying that someone is siphoning off government funds to avoid spending it on defence? If not, then I fail to see the relevance of his post.

    Fascinating as all this may be, it does seem a bit of a rabbit hole from the original article. Surely the issue is the amount that the country chooses to spend on defence, and the Economist's view that the amount is inadequate to support the current level of commitments. Amen to that.

  11. Hmmmmmm

    How about.

    I have a brain condition that is not going to go away. Because of its presence I bother the staff both at my local surgery and at the hospitals in the next town along, Leeds and St Thomas' in London all too regularly. Before 1997 I never had a scan, a chest x ray or a sleep study - after 1997 things started happening the way it was supposed to be and I was actually found to have seveeral complications. Since 1997 I have been able to try out several different and very expensive drugs which do not have the side affects I have had to endure.

    Or how about.

    In August 1999 I had a car crash (nothing to do with the brain condition) and I was in hospital for 3 months.

    As to Education.

    No I don't have children, but I am the proud uncle of three children who so far are getting an excellent education - I have also banged on before now about my cousin who has acheived what no one else in my family has ever done - a 2-1 at uni. All under a Labour government.

    Oh, and I'm a school governor

    Edited to include "very expensive"
  12. Sorry El G

    I was laughing so hard at the first part of Your post that I missed this bit.

    I don't deny that there is a lack of defence funding under this government and I think it ludicrous that they are enforcing the cuts in the present climate - but that wasn't the issue i was taking up with the ancient one, now was it :roll:
  13. Don,

    My point is that it's not just defence that's underfunded. We have seen huge increases in taxation since Labour came to power and our public services, including defence, are still among the worst in the western world.

    My question isn't meant to 'suggest' anything. I simply don't understand how the government can have so much money pouring in yet still provide public services that are, by any objective measure, atrocious. On health alone, they've spent the best part of a trillion quid since coming to power.

    With respect, if you'd had to fetch and empty bed pans for a dying relative because every single nurse on her ward had buggered off to a New Year party in the staff room then I think you would see the relevance of the point I'm making.


    I'm pleased to hear that your experience of the NHS and the education system has been good. My experiences have not been good.

    After being admitted through A&E, my wife nearly died in hospital because the nurses on the ward she was sent to 'forgot' to administer the drugs prescribed by the A&E doctor. The nurses were all foreigners. We were told, informally, that many of the foreign nurses at the hospital can't read English well enough to follow written instructions. This has been a problem in the NHS for years - take your pick of news sites that you trust and do a search (e.g. link). Hospitals aren't even allowed to test some foreign nurses 'cos that would be racist wouldn't it.

    I would suggest that there is no other country in the developed world that allows the functionally illiterate to practice medicine in hospitals. If you think this is 'b0ll0x', I'd like to know why.

    The ward my wife was admitted to wasn't just dirty - it was squalid. Blood stains on the walls, sh1t all over the toilets and used dressings lying on the floor. Ward staff repeatedly told my wife to discharge herself against doctors' advice because the ward was 'hoaching with MRSA' as they put it.

    I believe the rate of infection in UK hospitals is 10 times the rate in Holland, but I dont have a link. UK hospital infections are now being described as out of control. If you think the bloke with the PhD in microbiology who made this statement is takling 'b0ll0x', do let us know why.

    In a list of 30 countries compiled by OECD, only Mexico had fewer CT scanners than Britain (link). There are growing problems with malnutrition among hospital patients (link) and even a lack of painkillers for the terminally ill (link)

    The government itself admits that thousands are dying in hospitals because of negligence (link) and hundreds of thousands more are being injured. There is no other country outside of the third world that tolerates a situation like this. Is this b0ll0x too?
  14. Sven , I think AM has covered the deficiencies of the NHS sufficiently. I will therefore stick to the education system you say is so fantastic.

    If that is your experience, then I envy you. As I am a serving soldier, my two children suffer the vagaries of various education authorities. In my previous post, I referred to homework. Imagine having been taught addition and subtraction in one area, moving to another and finding out that the first method you learnt (ie the one we learnt as children!) is not used in the second authority. Imagine then that you go home with homework you cannot do, and nor can your parents, as they are un-familiar with the 'new' method, apparently called estimation. This caused a huge amount of stress for my son, wife and I in the following months. Then, just to add insult to injury, in the next school year, they began teaching the method my son had first been taught. And they call this a proper education?

    I could cite other examples, but suffice it to say that my childrens experience of the education system beqeathed them by this government has not been the enlightening one your family members are fortunate to have enjoyed. (Fortunately for my family, we will not have to suffer the 'bog standard' education supplied by whatever education authorit, as we are moving to another country with an (allegegly!) better education system).

    If you doubt me, I would refer you any decent university or large business, who are both telling the government and anyone else who cares to listen (not you then Sven!) that 6th formers are still leaving school with inadequate literacy and numeracy skills. So much so that many university students cannot write comprehendible assignments and universities are being forced to introduce 'literacy' classes covering spelling and grammar. Equally, business is finding that many who leave school do not have the required skills and are therefore struggling to employ young people leaving school. Another outstanding success for the government then? I'll let you judge that too. Or are you blinkered enough to think this is all a media plot to discredit the government?

    And that is at the top end, this countries 'brightest and best'. Let us not forget that the current Education minister was revealed to have timed the release of bad news about primary school literacy results with good news about another increase in GCSE pass rates. Whilst I would agree that the media are often guilty of following their own agenda's, if they had been wrong about the last story, the government would have told us so. The lack of denial tells its own story.

    We are both entitled to our opinions, and clearly in this case they differ. And the differ because our experiences differ. Just because your experiences of both NHS and education has been better than either AM's or mine does not mean your experience is of those systems means they are universal experiences. Indeed, the very fact of our less fortunate experiences proves that all is not well. Do you routinely deny other peoples experience based opinion, where it differs from yours? Or are you prepared to admit that, actually, there might be problems that need addressing and soon?
  15. AM

    I am really sorry about Your wifes experience in the hospital she ended up in. It sounds as though they really put her through the mill. This is not the work of the NHS as a whole but of a few putting out shoddy work. Don't we similarly have shoddy unit in the forces - we all have some experience of them, but HM Forces are stil the best in the world.

    I'll take Your other points one by one. Yes there are some foreign nurses who cannot speak good english and who falsify their certificates, but this is not endemic. They are by far in the minority.


    You are quite right, MRSA is a hell of a problem - what theTorygraph doesn't tell You is that the rate of infection is dropping - here is a link to the Health Protection Agency which gives facts, not dodgy statistics - 15,368 in 2003, 14,974 in 2004. Further evidence that that right wing bastion has its own agenda is that the head of the NHS Confederation said "Rates of MRSA are low and going down" (from the Beeb). Further, and You probably got this from Your Telegraph as well, the rates of infection in the NHS is not double that of Holland, rather it is 2 percentile points higher, and one point higher than in Spain and Denmark. What Your Conservative rag doesn't tell You are the MSRA rates in other "developed countries" - 10% in the US, 14% in Austria and 18% in Germany. All figure from this website.

    Onto Scanners. We have a problem with scanners - I accept it, but it isn't the one that the Torygraph highlights (they mention it in passing - but give no reasons). We simply do not have the ability to attact radiographers or radiologists. Not because of funding and or education - we just don't have enough people leaving education to fulfill the societies needs. Recruitment is not just a problem in the NHS, it is a problem with engineering, in the sciences and even the armed forces. This is because our birth rate is just 1.7 children per family. Nor is this a problem just in the UK - have alook at France where they are paying for families to have a second or third child.

    Starving Grannies???? If You read the article closely it will say that
    (my bold). Yes, the article states that over 7 billion is spenton the effects of malnutrition - but it doesn't give figures of how many starve in hospital. Perhaps it doesn't count those suffering - if it doesn't count them then how does the article come to that figure.

    Finally, the shortage of diamorphine. Yes, there is. Apparently not just in the UK, but worldwide. Look through the Afghanistan pages and You will see more than one poster referring to it.