Thursday, 23 February 2012

David Cameron and the Ford Pinto of Shame

Comedy lizard and spoof prime-minister (well I'm hoping so - for god's sake he'd better not be serious or we're all fucked) David Cameron shuffled further away from the reality that should be etching the word 'shame' into his forehead on a daily basis, by declaring in a robotic monotone that "Business is not just about making money, as vital as that is. It's also the most powerful force for social progress the world has ever known." Shortly after, every cat within a 7 mile radius was found dead, it's face frozen in a rictus grin. But I digress. In and of itself, this statement is true - business isn't just about money, it's also about avoiding hostile takeovers and unethical competitors pushing you out of your target market, usually by resorting to even more underhand and unethical behaviour. It's about offsetting the cost of repairs against the cost of a human life. It's about work, and getting as much of it out of your employees before they break down, quit, die or retire. No no. Business isn't just about making money. It's merely the single most important aspect of it. And yes, business is a force for social change. Just look at how Monsanto has 'changed' life for the few farmers Africa was able to support, or how Nestle has 'changed' the life expectancy of infants in developing countries, or lack of proper adherence to health and safety codes is 'changing' live workers into dead ones. The thing is, to me this just shows how far removed from reality David Cameron has become (sidenote - I'll have to refer to him as DavCam from this point on, since if you say his name three times he appears behind you with his sexual organs exposed. All nine of them). Anyone who can look at the NHS wholesale and say that the same business thinking that went into the Ford Pinto is a good thing to have in an organisation concerning healthcare, is, I suspect, an automaton placed in position by DavCam for when his people invade. I worked for the NHS. I saw how the one thing that was crippling it was the fact that it was being run like a business. Hospitals competing against each other just means hospitals (and even departments) don't work together. Incorrect diagnoses are made, because (for example) the MRI department doesn't want someone's tests coming out of their budget, so they refer them to a less expensive test, or another department. Everyone assumes areas where there is the slightest overlap is 'someone else's problem' without ever checking it's being done. And the structure of the NHS should lend it to some of the most creative problem solving ever, and yet it is almost entirely staffed at a management level by business school graduates, who apply competitive thinking strategies because they don't know how to do anything else. And at the end of the day, that's fine to NHS management, because it's just numbers. The red bar on their statistics sheet isn't a pile of bodies, it's just a red bar. When they save money, the red bar goes up, and so does public outrage, but the trick for them is to keep cutting costs while keeping the outrage below an 'acceptable' amount. And maybe this is the thing. We're all taking too much. In terms of cost-benefit analysis, either our threshold as a nation is too high or the government has decided to just stop listening. Either way, it can't be a good sign.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Politeness Costs Nothing

Good old Beeb, I knew I could rely on you for my daily splurge: The bent of the article isn't (as the title suggests) the loss of the written word, but of patience and of self-censorship. Hastily written words don't impart the meaning they should, as the frenetic pace of social media discourages people from drafting, editing and clarifying. I've personally lost count of how many arguments I've been involved in over something as simple as a misplaced comma. Of course in that case, it was because I was drawing a comma on someone's forehead with a Sharpie while screeching "USE PUNCTUATION YOU COMPLETE BASTARD!"

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Nothing Kills a Muse Like Happiness.

So as you can see, the site is now in a more-or-less in working order. And I SWEAR I had an idea just now when I was doing the washing up, a self-deprecating train of thought stringing fascinating ideas together into a halfway cogent ramble. Unfortunately that was then, and now that my laptop is up and running I'm unable or unwilling to retrieve the idea from the great compost heap manned by hunchbacked goblins that is my imagination. Oh wait, here it is: Happiness is counterproductive to the great creative splurgings I need to get myself on the way as a writer. It's a weird feedback loop because for years I was miserable and unable to motivate myself to pour out the tale of woe building in my system on a daily basis. But there was a story there. Granted, most of the protagonists underwent Kafka-levels of emotional torture just to get through their miserable existences, but nevertheless there were beginning, middles, ends and even inciting incidents. Now, I stare into the hollow core of my being where the stories used to be, and I find a smile there. It's enough to make me want to sick up a fridge. So where do I go from here, now I'm done tweaking the layout (apart from the single post pages, and a few bits on the sidebar that are still nagging at me)? I suppose write. Have ideas and write them down, so other people can read them. The usual. I've categorised them into Rants, Daily, Free-Writing and stuff I want to Share, which might help. Or not. Still, tomorrow is a brand new day. Oh god that's even more positivity, how the hell am I supposed to get anything done round here? I'm off to get a hammer. See you later.