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Sunday, December 30, 2012

I watch TV

I have been watching Call the Midwife on PBS. I've read a number of reviews of the show and a bit of the background.
Here is what strikes me as interesting. The utter lack of irony.
Now, you have to realize that I read, "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner" when I was 13. It was about this time that I listened to my brother's Kink's albums so perhaps it all warped my understanding of the welfare state and what a painful transition it was for ordinary people. The sort of people it was supposed to help.
All we really have to show of the old days are lead glass windows propped up for display in the Blue Goat with came from the old row houses that were torn down. You don't even hear Muswell Hillbilly on the oldies station.
So what is my point?
In "Call the Midwife," we see the poverty and the criticism of the "old ways." The horror of the workhouse and the wonders of socialized medicine.
I say that the modern welfare state has resulted in social disfunction and it is painful to see those in the USA who look to the welfare state as an ideal.
I say that the horror of the work house and drunken 20 somethings are both the results of social engineering and policy makers being way too clever for their own good.
I say the grand future envisioned by the clever folks in post war Britain turned out somewhat wrong just like the grand future envisioned by social reformers at the turn of the 19th century.
That is just my take on the subject.
I actually enjoy the show. Just what I was thinking this evening.

Edit: After thinking about this for a while I suppose I should issue a disclaimer. I do realize that just because I own a 1969 Triumph motorcycle, read James Herriot, Jeeves, A Once and Future King by T.H. White, and listen to the Kinks, it doesn't make me any sort of expert on British social issues...


  1. Whatever age we live in the grass was always greener. And remember that you will only ever hear the bad as thats what sells papers.
    I'm proud to live in a country with a national health service that won't let people die just because they're poor. Although our system is not perfect it's better than a system where your level of care is determined on what insurance you've got. I read a lot of blogs where people have alments and won't go to the doctor because they can't afford it, thats not the case in the UK.
    A couple of months back I had to take my baby into hospital in the middle of the night as she was sick and I had no worries about paper work or forms to fill out, the only thing that mattered to that doctor was my baby (she was fine anyway just wrecked the carpet) and I had no bills to pay or insurance company to go to.
    This is a bit of my soap box I'm afraid, I know if I'd rather be with or without the health service. The rest of the welfare state needs sorting out a little (benifits, imigration) but they're going through it slowly but it's quite a fair system no matter what scare monerging you hear.

    1. I am afraid that you have just as distorted an image of this country as we have of yours. When I was a child we had no insurance and little money. When my brother needed surgery on his eyes, it was done. When my father had his finger cut off in an industrial accident, it was sown back on. When my mother needed surgery, she got it.

      Today when I, with all my insurance, walk into a hospital in the middle of the night, I wait in line behind all the people who have no insurance and are using the emergency room as their GP.

      I don't know what America you are talking about. We don't have poor people dying from lack of care. It doesn't happen. The system requires people to be cared for.

      I can only assume that the stories we hear about people in your country being put on waiting lists and dying before they get tests or surgery are also distortions. What kind of response would you receive if you were 70 and went in to get a test. Would you get it or be put on a waiting list? I know the answer here.

      Grace and peace.

    2. Pumice, you know if the clever folks here are obsessed with European and British healthcare there must be a problem with it... Cause anything thought up by the smarter folks always results in pain and failure. Take our mental health system.
      We go from warehousing and electroshock to "mainstreaming" lunatics and wondering why cops are shooting the mentally handicapped in Portland, OR.
      (Of course it is a lot easier to recruit someone MENTALLY Handicapped to blow up a great public building if you are an eager government agent.)
      What we need is a more compassionate and flexible system where people with mental problems can get treatment and be hospitalized and rehabilitated. The reason we can't do that is that it requires intelligence and compassion and society doesn't have either.
      Here is the same issue but in a different subject.
      40 years ago loggers (there used to be a timber industry here) were required to clean snags out of the streams to improve water flow-because that is what the Gubment science said to do. Now, that is horrible and old school and it was of course the fault of the greedy timber companies. Now you must leave in place any tree that falls across a stream and millions are spent to put snags back into creeks.
      So, you go from the work house to the welfare state. It is the same group think bureaucracy where you ban landmines but it is ok to torture prisoners of war and use depleted uranium and kill Pakistani children with drones.
      Wow that was a leap of logic!

    3. Pumice, I guess my distorted view reflects yours of our country then. I live in aa rural area. The hostipal isn't close but we dont have to wait very long and can normally see a GP in the same week or eariler if serious.
      I guess films like John Q have influenced how we see american health care. Also the statement thats being bounded around a lot is that more americans go bankrupt due to medical cost than anything else.
      But then if they said it was all fine and good it wouldn't sell a paper or make us watch the news. I suppose it's a bit of a lesson in how the media treat us and I'm always glad to hear another side to the story, I'm glad it's not as bad as I thought it was but I suppose I still know very little about the subject.

  2. It wasn't me that tick the offensive box either, I enjoy a good debate!

    1. Kev, I know the rest of the world gets the image of the USA as gun crazed, smog belching cowboys, who can't afford healthcare and rich people who live like kings.
      THis is only partially true.
      Likewise we see "the nanny state" and horror stories of old folks dying because they are refused treatment. You hear of old folks being kept on life support forever.
      We read people being prosecuted for saying the "wrong" things, a fellow being shot by police sniper because the copper thought the table leg he was carrying was a gun, and the idea of old folks being starved because they are "too old" and are terrified it will happen here.
      It does happen here, the same way it happens everywhere. It is the general direction the world is going.
      You must realize however, if I were your grumpy farmer neighbor I'd be one of those annoying old farts that are angry about the metric system and the Euro and that you can't catch a black cab in London any more cause of all that air pollution stuff.

    2. I always think that with a lot of these terrible things that happen have always happened, it's just that we've become such a small world where the news travels so fast. 100 years ago you's stuggle to know what was going on in the next town over let alone the other side of the world.
      We've got a show over here call Good News and it's a piss take of the weeks news but only focusing on the light hearted stuff and nothing too deep.
      As for the metric system I should be a full convert (as I'm only 29 and it's how I was taught in school) but somehow I always end up using a mixture of the two. Impertic I call it, it works quite well.
      dont even get me started on the Euro...

    3. When I was in my 20's my brother and I rode trains around Europe and toured England a bit. It was the waning days of passport stamping and the beginning of the whole Euro thing. I am in favor of the individual. I think small individual countries and their accompanying nationalism and the odd chance that they will start shooting at each other is the best chance for large scale individual freedom. I think it is the monolithic Corporate/Political/Bureaucratic state that will enslave us. (Sort of like the USA in the 21st century.
      So, I suppose I oppose a national health service for the same reason. I'd rather go bankrupt than give my rights to the corporate state.

  3. I do hear a lot of scary accounts of huge bills and debts for surgery and health care in the U.S. though. Big monthly insurance bills help to pay in some cases but I also hear of people who avoid doctor visits or postpone as they just can't afford it. My parents both had major surgeries and joint replacements. No bills, no questions. Am I paying for it through my taxes? Maybe, but it helps me sleep at night.

    1. Ralph, I think you pay one way or another. I'd rather see lower tax rates and competition between insurance companies. I think this is what the USA is doing it's best to avoid. What we are trying to do is create a "welfare state" for whatever corporation it was that spent the most money lobbying for the President's healthcare bill.
      I have a very high deductable and good coverage after the deductable and I pay cash for checkups (which gives me a discount).
      I think the bottom line is that Change is Bad. Whatever changes that will be made in our healthcare system will not benefit those who work hard and don't make a lot of noise.


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