Monday, October 10, 2011

Twitter Madness, Anarchism & The NHS

Yesterday on Twitter I let myself go a little bit mad.
Somehow some evil little worm got into my head shortly after waking up, while was still drinking my first coffee of the day. I saw a Tweeter who'd tried to distance the Block the Bridge protest from the Labour Party, who are likely to turn up, make speeches and try to score political points, despite their own appalling record while in office. And then another Tweeter had responded to say that if the Labour Party did turn up on the day to score political points then that would be OK because we were all on the same side. Her definition of the "same side" was that they had turned up to protest. Somewhat tautological I'm sure you'll agree.
So it was probably justified for me to jump in as I did. I suported the original Tweeter (who failed to support me at any point, surprisingly) and ended up in a row with the second Tweeter. I mentioned Blair and Clegg as examples of leaders on the left who had petended to be leftwing, made slightly promising noises, and then turned out to be fully fledged Tories in disguise. I got unfollowed for my trouble.
Then a 3rd Tweeter who I rather admired for her Tweets jumped in and scolded me (doncha love these patronising middle class 'liberals' eh?). I made a friendly reply, not wanting to argue with her, then discovered that she too had unfollowed me. I Tweeted to say that I would not be childishly responding in kind by unfollowing her; and I didn't.
 Later in the day I went off on one about the NHS, stating that as an Anarchist I cannot support a huge state bureaucracy  I know this is controversial, but if an Anarchist society is to work at all then we need to start debating how we fill the gap left when the NHS disappears - or do you believe that the NHS could survive in any form without support from the state? As a huge mega-organisation it does not give value for money and it does not offer a wholly positive contribution to society. Think of all the people not being treated just because they live in the wrong postcode (I was one a few years ago until I moved), the ones that die from malpractice, neglect, and super-bugs circlating around the system, sick from inappropriate treatments, people being treated for fictitious ailments, people being over prescribed, given bad advice, etc. 
As well as that - I pointed out that as a society we should have moved away from the health crisis that existed in the UK up until the 1940s; Illnesses caused by work, poor housing, malnutrition, etc etc. These days we seem to be going backwards. Blair's big promise on health care was the same as in education and crime, he was going to attack the causes of ill health. There was about a year of lip-service to that effect, but it was not long before big pharma were back in, and we were throwing billions at private companies who contributed f*ck all to the health of the nation. And remember all New Labour's grandees who sat on this committee or that committee and probably made themselves very wealthy in the process, a directorship here or there, maybe even a seat in the House of Lords, who contributed f*ck all to the health of the nation.
I believe it is time to shut down this huge mega bureacracy which eats up wealth and lives. NOT privatise it, or turn it into a cashcow for Big Pharma, but to move us on to the next level of evolution. a post NHS Britain, where we all have the knowledge, the resources and rights to look after our own health. Some sort of successor for the NHS could be developed on a local basis, to catch the ones that get ill despite the improved environment, and to catch those who suffer from the illnesses we cannot eradicate such as cancer. With far fewer getting sick we could focus on these people without needing to spend over a £100bn a year on - what? What exactly? Huge improvements could be made in preventative care to reduce or eliminate diseases such as heart disease, diseases caused by diet, pollution, stress. Improvements in conditions at work could reduce vocational diseases; bringing all homes up to a minimum standard, starting with council and housing association homes, and a drive to bring private landlords up to speed could have improved conditions still further. Send people back home to  sick housing and the get sick again. What a waste of resources. what a waste of people's lives!
The fact that this society is so sedentary. People drive to the park so they can have a short walk. People drive to the gym. But most people just drive to the supermarket to buy more over-processed crap that makes them ill so they don't want to walk so they spiral down into an unhealthy old age. If we could reduce dependency on the car and get people active again, teacht hem and give them incentives to look after themselves, stop pedalling lies about nutrition and pollution - then we really will become a healthier nation. but there has never been a serious attempt to do this? In fact what has happened is that children are kept in more, sports grounds are sold off, and cycling is seriously discouraged.
And finally - why did we not take the chance to fully understand the causes of mental illnesses - not the ones people are born with, but the ones that are created from stressful, miserable lives that the many poverty stricken people in the UK have to deal with daily, and bring up families, and feed them, all the time fending off bailliffs and gangs and fecking do gooders from the state, or Local Authority who may well do more harm than good, and can never deal with the true causes of people's misery - poverty. No let's just throw more money at the problem and make everyone drug dependent. Why bother to understand why someone is ill when we can give them drugs and tick a box instead?
So the NHS is only needed in a sick unbalanced society; a healthy society and we could almost certainly devise something much less Kafka-esqe, and something that does not struggle to fight the symptoms but gives people complete control and supports them so they can keep themselves healthy.

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