Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Cost To Society Today

Picking up on a post by Burning Our Money, I highlight some items in the media today.

Violence in schools - "Police are being called out to deal with 40 violent incidents in schools every day; a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers found that one in 10 state school teachers has been injured by a violent pupil.

Plague Hospitals - "Sir Richard Branson, who was recently appointed vice-president of the Patients Association: It feels like they have tinkered rather than really got to the heart of the problem. The hospitals are there to cure people. They are not there to kill people... In the airline industry if we had that kind of track record we would have been grounded years ago.

Non-Policing - "Police are failing to investigate almost four in every ten crimes... Victims' groups have condemned this practice of 'screening out' offences - but it is alarmingly widespread. The Met, the country's largest force, decided that 51 per cent of crimes were not worth full investigations as there was little chance of catching the culprit. It said that in the 2007/8 financial year it screened out a total of 437,888 offences. These included 26,709 offences of violence, 338 sex attacks, 5,562 robberies and more than 60,000 burglaries. For burglary, the Met only investigate one in three cases reported to them. In Bedfordshire, which last year screened out 42 per cent of crimes, one in three burglaries doesn't get a full investigation.

Taken together, these three underperforming services - schools, health and police - now cost us at least £180bn pa, or £7,000 per household.

The really frustrating thing is that we know what needs to be done. Teachers need to be put back in charge of classroom discipline. Nurses need to be put back in charge of hospital hygiene. And policemen need to be put back in charge of policing. Plus of course, schools, hospitals, and police all need to be made directly accountable to their customers, not to the commissars.

The fundamental reason that the  Virgin Airline works so much better than the NHS (or Aeroflot) is because unless it delivers what the customer wants, it goes bust. Whereas our state schools, state hospitals, and state police don't. Even when their customers get annoyed they take their business elsewhere, they still have to pay to maintain the dysfunctional state service.

I have nothing to add to the above other than to say: The three main parties all talk about 'local government' but their policies are empty of any real practicality or intent. People, when are you going to wake up to what is happening under your very noses?

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