Sunday, May 25, 2008

Gang warfare

Apparently the odious Jacqui Smith—how is it that I find even her tits offensive?—decided that she'd try to placate the police by announcing a crack-down on gangs. Over at the ASI, Eamonn Butler identifies a few more gangs that the government might consider tackling.
Mind you, there are a number of slightly older gangs that the government could usefully tackle. Like the legal profession, for example, which succeeds in extorting vast amounts of cash from their clients, making it impossible for people to get real justice these days, unless they are very rich (or very poor and eligible for Legal Aid). By restricting the supply of lawyers, they can charge what they like. And the fact that the courts are a state monopoly doesn't help either. Sure, you can go to arbitration on contract disputes. But if someone owes you money, for example, you don't have much choice.

Doctors are another gang that should be tackled. Again, they decide how many people should qualify as doctors. So they don't go out of their way to pass too many. And again, the medical system is a state monopoly. People might not have to pay cash, but they certainly do pay in terms of reduced access, poor service, and lower recovery and survival rates than in many other advanced countries (and some non-advanced ones).

I could go on. There's the Health and Safety gang, which cancels village duck races and stops firemen from using ladders. And another shady group, known as the Quangocracy, which has all sorts of powers to regulate and fine people, without any democratic control. Not to mention the Westminster Gang itself, which is adept and robbing ordinary people in order to line the pockets of their own supporters.

Quite. Especially that last one: the state—the ultimate monopoly...

UPDATE: Martin Kelly (occasionally of this parish and who happens to be a lawyer) in not too impressed...


Capra Hircus said...

Blaming doctors for the state of the NHS? How very... New Labour.

As for reducing the monopoly powers of the medical profession, your man's a little behind the times (see Dr Crippen passim).

Alexis said...

There is no medical monopoly. Where is the restriction? AFAIK anyone can start a medical school if they have enough time and money. Anyone from anywhere in the world with the right passport from any medical school can practice as a private doctor.

The monopoly only sort-of exists in the government system and I guess anyone can create their own "monopoly" if they like. But anyone can leave this if they want. The fact that doctors, hospitals and patients choose to stick with the NHS is due to their own foolishness. The fact we all have to pay for this is an issue for the politicians who tax us, not the doctors.

As Martin points out, describing doctors as a shady 'gang' is amusing indeed if you don't need their services. I am struggling badly to read the screen as I have just returned from my ophthalmologist - I was seeing spots and was convinced I had a retinal detachment and was going blind. You kind of appreciate their learning when they can do a proper examination and reassure you that you will not be losing your job and will be able to see your family's faces tomorrow.