Friday, 19 August 2011

Everywhere you Look

Keep your eyes open and Statism is something you'll invariably encounter in your everyday experience. Sometimes, the connection is not immediately obvious or may in fact run counter to the surface appearance with which you are met. Having just returned from picking up an NHS prescription (plenty has been said on here about how Statists leave many of us with no choice but to rely on an outdated model of healthcare), I found two further forms of Statism in the space of minutes.

One was completely of my own free will and is something of which I have been aware for many years now. Smokers are absolutely detested by the state - in fact, anti-smoking sentiment has become a convenient smokescreen (no pun intended) behind which some of the most nasty and vindictive forms of Statism have been allowed to hide and take pot-shots at decent people over a perfectly lawful lifestyle choice. I'm looking forward to seeing the new, improved, cigar-smoking Malpoet later on now that he has heeded the Statist call not to enter Mr McGregor's garden. Sometimes I think about quitting what is a pretty expensive and filthy habit in order to save a few quid more than anything - occasionally, I actually manage to kick cigarettes completely for a brief period of time.

However, without even knowing it, perhaps the constant wailing of nanny to put it out and stop being such a naughty boy actually makes me determined not to stop? Of course, alcohol is now going the same way as tobacco, and the typical yin and yang of a beer or glass of wine in one hand aligned with a cigarette in the other may soon be a frighteningly expensive form of escape from the soul-destroying nagging that people face in their daily lives - be it at home, in the workplace or via the unanswerable propaganda machine of nanny, who may present herself as Mary Poppins, but in reality is more akin to the rather gruesome Miss Trunchbull from Matilda (an interesting choice for a YouTube tribute, but then the sight of nanny troughing her way through the cake seems strangely appropriate to the point I'm making!!) .

Seconds before entering the tobacconist (one of those brilliant little independent shops that seem to be diminishing in number by the day, so I'm more than happy to get my fix from there if I can), I was approached by another of those 'charidee' collectors, who as I've stated previously, are invariably lovely in a multitude of (at least superficial) ways. Of course this is merely part of the general marketing strategy and is therefore not something this bunny should get too pious about - were I looking to seal a deal and knew an attractive member of the opposite sex to the potential customer, who also vaguely knew the subject matter, I'd be sure to include them in the conversation if I could get away with it. After all, physical attraction has this alarming tendency to soften even the toughest of people and bring out their more generous qualities.

Last time I discussed the issue of charity, someone pointed us in the direction of this excellent website -, which explores the lengths to which many organisations masquerading as concerns of the voluntary sector actually rely heavily on monies confiscated by taxpayers by force. So much of what could be seen as goodwill or compassion has now been nationalised, to the point where many of us (this bunny included) are now sceptical about giving a penny to 'charities' for two very good reasons.

First up, if the state sector was doing such a wonderful job as we're told, then surely there would be no gaps for the 'third sector' to step in and fill? Moreover, a charity may be serving its clients best by openly criticising the government's approach to whatever issue it is concerned with. If it receives x per cent of total funding from the state itself, then is an unwillingness to bite the hand that feeds not going to compromise the integrity of that organisation and its stated aims? Then there is the more simple observation that any corporation in receipt of so much as a penny obtained by taxation is in fact not a 'voluntary charity' at all. That is not to say that they do not do anything useful, merely that their claim to be a part of the 'third sector' is a fundamentally dishonest one.

A few years ago, a mate of mine came back from holiday with a story about a meal he'd had in a restaurant. The waiter, upon producing the bill, had 'helpfully' inserted a 'tipped' ammount at the bottom, which my pal had naturally got rather upset about. He ordered the waiter to come back with a new itemised bill, minus the offending and rather presumptuous item.Upon weighing up the scale of the damage, and considering the level of service he'd enjoyed, my friend put in exactly the same sum of cash as the waiter had originally assumed to be his tip. The point of course is that he wasn't being selfish or tight by any stretch - he simply wanted to hand the money over of his own free will as opposed to feeling that it had been taken from him by stealth.

Whenever I see nationalised compassion or state-funded charity at its worst, I realise that nanny is very similar to the waiter that my friend encountered - maybe like him, she just doesn't understand the feelgood factor that comes with giving something to a deserving individual without any sense of compulsion? This is a terrible shame, since in my experience most of us are prepared to find what we can for a cause that touches our hearts. If any readers wish to promote charities which absolutely do not receive a penny of taxpayer funding (note - the AP Withers benevolent fund does not count), then feel free to do so in the comments section. Take care and I'll catch you tomorrow.


  1. The other problem with the nanny state is that if they ban smoking almost everywhere, as is happening now, where is all that tax they get from ciggies quite frankly going to come from? You'll also notice that such Working class pleasures as smoking and going darn the boozer, are also those which are heavily taxed! In general where tax and charity is concerned, the regular person on the street gives far more than the so-called professional classes ever do; another hypocrisy that needs challenging.

  2. What model of healthcare would you prefer?

  3. Quite right as ever TC

    Dinesh, I'd prefer a voucher system where people could stay in or opt out of the NHS completely of their own free will. If you think that's extreme then wait til Mal comes on!!

  4. Daz, agree with the voucher system as long as it has numbers and the queens head on them.

  5. Thats interesting Daz. I practice both privately and within the NHS. Its a shame that my private patients are effectively paying twice.Do you have private medical insurance yourself?

  6. Hi Dinesh - can't afford it mate.

    I'd give the voucher system a go and see how many people stayed in. My hunch is only the badly-run, MRSA-riddled hospitals would lose their customers and have to shut down...

  7. Daz,

    I don't understand, how would you pay for your medical treatment, if you can't afford insurance and you want to opt out of the NHS?

    Perhaps I have misunderstood. How in detail would your system work?

  8. Hi Dinesh - it would work the same way in both health and education.

    In the way that you can get a place at a private school or private medical insurance for 12 months, people would be issued with a healthcare and education voucher for that year. They could then use the value of this voucher to either purchase state healthcare/education or put in an additional ammount if needs be to go private.

    The ability to opt in or out would put pressure on state services to be more efficient and lead to the closure of bad schools/hospitals while those that performed stayed open.

    Hope that makes sense...

  9. So would the voucher have a monetary value? I suppose it must have in order to calculate how much extra would have to be paid for private provision. But how much? How much is a persons annual healthcare worth? What would you set the value at. Would all the state hospitals charge the same? I don't really understand. Does this system operate in any other countries?