John O'Connell: Today's health debate
The health spokesmen for the three major parties today debated their positions on the Daily Politics. It was like a microcosm of the entire campaign: lots of promises with very little detail of how to pay for them. The closest anyone came was Lib Dem Norman Lamb, who said that a cap on pay rises to £400 in the NHS would be used to help pay down the deficit. A start, but not exactly a barnstormer. And even this was said in the sheepish tone of someone who did not want to be seen to be advocating taking money out of the NHS.
A new glut of government positions on the internet today bring with them this week’s non-job, another ambiguous post with a self-consciously ‘modern’ title. More generally, it’s astonishing that of the 384 public sector jobs advertised on the Guardian site today so few relate to practical frontline service delivery and so very many (like today’s choice) are concerned with short-lived initiatives and constructing PR veneers to present to the taxpaying public.
It seems to be a case of missing earplugs in Greece, even at this late stage. Siren songs continue to lull the unions and politicians into impossible economic shallows. The beguiled rowers pull towards the breakers on the shoreline, lulled by sweet tunes of impossible honeyed futures. The wrecking of the ship draws ever nearer.
A couple of snapshots from the past help explain a little of the mess behind the Greek crisis, and how it has come to this state of affairs.
"Business leaders who backed the Tory campaign against national insurance rises have ignored evidence from their own companies which shows no correlation between employment and social security costs."When you read on it doesn't look quite as powerful, though...
My local council’s free newspaper dropped onto my doormat this morning, the front page boasts that the publication – Hackney Today – is “circulated to 108,000 homes and businesses in Hackney”. A little bit of research reveals that the fortnightly rag was “re-launched with a brand new look at the end of 2007… increasing in size to 36 pages” and that they “try and ensure delivery to every home and business in the borough”.
Now, if something has to be re-launched with a new look, it’s normally because it wasn’t doing that well in the first place. Call me ungrateful but the last thing I want is a newspaper written by my local council, I definitely don’t want a bad newspaper written by my local council, and I doubt any taxpayer wants their council tax cash to be spent on said paper being re-vamped, made LONGER and still persistently thrust through their door!