Tag Archives: Sky News

The other side of sickness

Sky News gave me the idea last night. I was half awake (hence: half asleep) when the news (at http://news.sky.com/story/de-niro-offers-100k-reward-to-media-for-truth-about-controversial-childrens-vaccine-10771445), when de news stating ‘De Niro offers $100k reward‘ became visible. When I woke up completely (a few hours later), I saw the full Monty: “De Niro offers $100k reward to media for ‘truth’ about controversial children’s vaccine“, which was a little more descriptive. Now I am not media, but I have decided to take a look at it. First off, it is never a good idea to meet your idol when he is still alive, but I think Robert got through it OK. What more is there on the article?

The first part is “willing to publicise criticism of a controversial children’s vaccine“, which is an odd start, so the important part is Thimerosal, which is the medication part that needs to be scrutinised. The other part we get is “a substance containing mercury, in the generalised MMR vaccine, which protects children against measles, mumps and rubella“, now we are off to the races. You see, Mercury is toxic, so is Arsenic. Yet Arsenic was used in the past as a treatment (in very small doses) against Syphilis. It is not the only example. In small doses it is used against Osteoarthritis, which contains a substance that got someone ‘accidently’ poisoned to death in the 60’s, yet in those days Boron (the substance in question) was not tested for, because the body will have it. It is merely the concentration that took care of the non-breathing part in the end.

So what is the story with Thimerosal? Let’s start at the beginning.

last_case_07Vaccines go all the way back to 1798 (roughly) when a man named Edward Jenner decided to pioneer a solution against Smallpox. The solution he came up with was to infect a person with the cow version of the disease so that the human body would see the weaker version as a threat and the body would be fast and more effective fighting the actual disease. So I grew up in the 60’s getting all kinds of vaccines and injections, the conclusion in my case was that I have had no real dangerous diseases for well over 35 years. The World Health Organisation proclaimed that after vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the global eradication of smallpox in 1979.

So vaccines are seen as a good thing, so what changed our minds?

There are a few issues that have grown that give voice to the anti-vaccination feelings. Yet, there is documentation out in the open showing exactly the opposite. I witnessed this in the Netherlands (at https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4914a2.htm), in the time frame between April 1999 and January 2000, which gives us the quote “a cluster of five cases of measles was reported among the 390 students attending a religion-affiliated elementary school in the Netherlands. Persons belonging to this religious denomination routinely do not accept vaccination. Municipal health services (MHSs) investigated and found 160 suspected measles cases among children attending the school. By February 4, 2000, 2961 measles cases, including three measles-related deaths, had been reported by 35 MHSs to the national registry. This report summarizes the investigation of the measles outbreak in the Netherlands, which indicated that measles can be a severe disease among unvaccinated populations in the Netherlands“. This alone should clearly show the essential support for vaccines.

Yet now we see the second element in this. You see, the population on a global scale is getting wearier and less trusting of vaccines. It is a $26 billion market and is expected to grow to $61 billion in the next 3 years. We are confronted with flu vaccines and there is no clear proof or documentation that they are actually a benefit. Even as the 60’s were a clear indication that the foundation of vaccines was sound and essential, the movement of big pharma and the essential need for profit has given vaccines the place where it potentially leaves too bad a taste in the mouths of too many people. This is the place where Thimerosal finds itself in. Mistrusted because of the makers and mistrusted due to a lack of proper information and in similar size the massive misinformation that we now see on the lack of benefits that other medications (like Multi vitamins) find themselves in, and to some extent, the media has been too often, little to no help at all. To a larger extent, they are chasing facts, or not showing the dangers ahead of time in too many cases. At http://www.globalresearch.ca/big-pharma-and-big-profits-the-multibillion-dollar-vaccine-market/5503945, the Canadian Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) gives us “While the main fixation of anti-vaccine groups is an old, discredited study linking vaccination to autism, another is a conspiracy theory circulated online that both doctors and pharmaceutical companies stand to profit financially from vaccination—which supposedly leads to perverse incentives in advocating for the public to vaccinate. But that argument is historically unfounded. Not only do pediatricians and doctors often lose money on vaccine administration, it wasn’t too long ago that the vaccine industry was struggling with slim profit margins and shortages. The Economist wrote that “for decades vaccines were a neglected corner of the drugs business, with old technology, little investment and abysmal profit margins. Many firms sold their vaccine divisions to concentrate on more profitable drugs“, at this point I offer in opposition, if that was true, why would there be a sudden rush to get into vaccines? If certain diseases have been eradicated, would the need for vaccines not decrease? If the flu cannot be cured through vaccines, what is its benefit? Two question that have not been properly addressed ever. The press have remained on the surface too often and too long. There is too much profit in advertisements for the media, too many concessions and the people notice, the people at large deduce their own wisdom and facts in what they see. Are they wrong?

What is Thimerosal?

The National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) gives the following Factsheet where we see “There is no evidence that thiomersal in vaccines has caused any health problems except minor reactions, such as redness at the injection site“, another fact shown, a part that seems to be ignored in a few points of visibility. It is “Methyl mercury is more potent; it accumulates in the body because the time taken for the body to eliminate it (known as the ‘half-life’) is about 50 days. Ethyl mercury (in thiomersal) does not accumulate in the body to such an extent, because its half-life is only about 7–10 days“, the dangerous side I was aware of, or the danger I perceived is not a factor here.

  • Thimerosal is also known as thiomersal, hence the quotes from different sources have these two names.

Now we get the issue that is also a cause for concern and it is not the controversial accusation of autism. The issue is that if we accept the initial fact, then why are we given “the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) asked vaccine makers to remove thiomersal from vaccines as quickly as possible as a precautionary measure“, when we look (at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/1/149) the quote “Overwhelmingly, the evidence collected over the past 15 years has failed to yield any evidence of significant harm, including serious neurodevelopmental disorders, from use of thimerosal in vaccines“, personally I would love to see that data! There is also “Dozens of studies from countries around the world have supported the safety of thimerosal-containing vaccines. Specifically, the Institute of Medicine, and others have concluded that the evidence favours rejection of a link between thimerosal and autism“. The AAP publications show 7 links to academic papers confirming this.

There is also: “Although there are clear neurotoxic effects of methyl mercury absorption, ethyl mercury has not been associated with those consequences“, so one mercury is not another, yet how deep has this been investigated? As we see that ethyl mercury might have been a massive push for the profitability that vaccines became, there is still the question on the need for vaccines. I am not debating that the larger good exist, that evidence was given in the Netherlands, a place where Measles suddenly resurfaced, in a place where vaccination was rejected on religious reasons. As we reject ‘en mass’ to a larger extent on flu-vaccines and on the pharmaceuticals that need too much profit and as it is seen by many at the expense of them all.

Projection, publication against the interpreted fear and rejection through despise of the pharmaceutical community.

Yet in all this thimerosal is just an element, the actual vaccine in all this is the MMR vaccine. Robert De Niro did not oppose the MMR vaccine, just the use of thimerosal. When it comes to vaccines, there is one paper that does have an impact. It is a paper by Ami Schattner published in 2005 called ‘Consequence or coincidence?: The occurrence, pathogenesis and significance of autoimmune manifestations after viral vaccines‘, which could be seen as alarming (at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X05003506) giving us “Very few patients may develop some autoimmune diseases following viral vaccination (in particular — arthropathy, vasculitis, neurological dysfunction and thrombocytopenia). For the overwhelming majority of people, vaccines are safe and no evidence linking viral vaccines with type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS) or inflammatory bowel disease can be found“, with the emphasis on “The occurrence and significance of autoimmune manifestations after the administration of viral vaccines remain controversial“. Now, if you picked up on it, you will state that Autism is not an autoimmune disease, then you are right. Now for my speculation in this part, if the creation of a Immune system disorders is rare, I am speculating that the creation of autism through vaccination is even more rare than that. A vaccine is the introduction of a disease to the body, so the immune system is actually directly attacked. If that does not abnormally react, the consideration that another disease like Autism, which is a neuro developmental disorder seems extremely unlikely unless the vaccine was specifically for a neuro based disease, and at present it seems less and less likely that it is the case.

An escalation that we are confronted with all due to a fraudulent paper from Andrew Wakefield et al, who decided that 1998 was a good year to misrepresent facts and opposing the MMR vaccine in support of a competing vaccine. It would be my speculated assumption that greed got in the way of his better angels and more likely than not, to an even larger extent by that competing brand as well. It is that competitive approach, with support of a former academic that the mistrust has grown in the people, especially the parents on a global scale. There it is that we find thimerosal, removed in many places as a mere precaution. That against a large supported foundation that thimerosal is not dangerous. So does this make the view of Robert De Niro incorrect?

No!

I believe that he is asking valid question, in addition, let it be sad that his view as stated: ‘he just wants a safer way to prevent diseases‘ is a noble one, especially in an age where the profit needs are pushed through too often and too fast. Procon.org gives us (at http://prescriptiondrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005528) a list of 35 FDA approved drugs that were later pulled from the market. This includes Accutane that was on the market for 27 years, Cylert for 30 years and Darvon & Darvocet for 55 years. Now, we have to accept that the tests then were not on a level we have nowadays, yet when we read the effect of serious toxicity to the heart, with a death toll of well over 2100 deaths between 1981 and 1999, there is an issue and as such, the request from Robert De Niro is not that outrageous. In opposition we see that the overall testing is a lot better, and if there is enough support that the half-life of Ethyl mercury is 7-10 days, there should be clear warnings with using it, but if there is enough support for the safety, what is the problem? I see it to some extent in ‘does not accumulate in the body to such an extent‘, to what extent does it accumulate? That is the serious question that needs a clear answer. Are there exceptions? Is there an issue to the parts that do accumulate? Questions that are not available at present (as far as I can tell), so in all this Robert De Niro is asking the right question and it gives concern, because is the AAP consideration we see in ‘removing thimerosal use in preservatives as a precautionary measure‘ also a misrepresentation? Is it a precaution, or was this released in 2013, in the time of the Obama Administration, voiced as such to prevent an anti-vaccine panic from happening?

Is that so far out of bounds? The problem is that for the most the media does not have the knowledge, the many who do have the knowledge tend to work for pharmaceutical companies, or they work for government installations working for politicians who depend on the support of pharmaceuticals. It seems that in no way will the people be more likely than not be properly and correctly informed, that part has been proven for almost two decades.

The only part that worries me is that in the end, it is the $100K payment from Robert De Niro for the media to take an optional serious (opposition) stand. When you google FDA you see very little actual news, when you Google Pharmaceuticals you get loads of news, and 99% linked to awards, pricing, acquisition and profit performance. This is exactly why the people are getting less and less trusting of pharmaceutical companies. It is not merely a marketing thing, it is a distrust that comes from several paths of information.

Here we get to Vexxed, a movie by no one else than the debunked and fraud driven Andrew Wakefield who became writer director of the movie after he was gutted in court. A five-member statutory tribunal of the GMC found three dozen charges proven, this was on 28th January 2010. It includes 4 counts of dishonesty. In addition the panel ruled that Wakefield had “failed in his duties as a responsible consultant” which tends to be a very serious charge. The 1998 publication was, on the findings of the GMC’s, noting that elements of the manuscript had been falsified, fully retracted.

The fear the paper brought by Andrew Wakefield have had consequences, a false paper that led to vaccine mistrust and resulting in serious illness and deaths, which now beckons the question, if this result repeats after the movie, can Andrew Wakefield be arrested and convicted of murder? The paper has issues that there was no intent to endanger lives, but the movie is a repeat of the previous event, intent can be the natural acceptance of a repeated fact. The issue I see is that pharmaceutical companies have actively created waves of mistrust fuelling the existence of conspiracy theories, the movie Vaxxed could be seen as such. I have not seen the movie, so I am keeping an open mind, yet the truth is that I am a child of vaccines in the old age, in this new age, where it is less about health, and more about profit, the voice of conspiracy theorists might have valid views. I say again ‘might’, I wonder how these people look at a movie like Contagion, the masterpiece of Steven Soderbergh who shows in a fictional setting the nightmare that the CDC faces in an ongoing fight to find solutions of some of the most contagious and in some cases still incurable diseases. I reckon that if you feel you want the truth, seeing Vaxxed, whilst never seeing Contagion will never ever get you the truth. Because the fear we see in Contagion was a reality after WW2. Millions in a weakened state and diseases like the measles were running freely all over the world, now we see statistics from 1980 with 851,849 European cases, to 16,899 cases in 2014, a clear decrease due to the vaccine regime of the 50’s and 60’s. Now see a mortality rate of 0.1% – 0.2%, whilst in 1900 the mortality rate in the US was 4% for measles. Smallpox in the periods 1900-1904, had a mortality rate of around 11.5%, we can claim (to some extent) that even though there were mitigating circumstances (like hygiene), vaccinations have been a great success. There is little to no opposing debate on that.

So how is this for the MMR vaccine and thiomersal?

This is the issue that Robert De Niro is raising and in addition to him raising this he is asking very valid questions. It is however equally important that a person like Andrew Wakefield should not be taken at his word. This is not merely him versus the world, when you look at all the information, the competitor he promoted remained silent for all this time as far as I have been able to ascertain, there was no open outrage of this competitor coming with academics showing valid numbers in opposition of the tribunal findings, in addition no evidence that there was a danger, that part has never ever been shown. Did the news dig there, did we get a clear low down from the World Health Organisation (WHO)? Is it that far-fetched that as the Andrew Wakefield scandal caused an increase in morbidity due to lower vaccinations that both the WHO and the CDC would have a clear need to intervene with facts? Are these questions so strange?

In that same part we see the Huffington Post in 2014 giving us, via columnist Lawrence Solomon quotes like “Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistle-blowers. A third whistle-blower, this one a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, also promises to bring Merck grief following his confession of misconduct involving the same MMR vaccine“, from that point of view, the moment Vexxed was announced, the CDC should have a clear voice stating the issues (if there are any) regarding the MMR vaccine, in equal measure, if Lawrence Solomon is ‘merely’ a columnist, why this news did not make it to the front pages on a global scale, and if this was not true, why did the Huffington Post run with it? (at http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/lawrence-solomon/merck-whistleblowers_b_5881914.html), it even has links with the court documents, which is even more of a concern.

In conclusion I need to state that if we accept that the Andrew Wakefield disaster came with deaths when the paper was published, the deaths that could be proven to stem from Vexxed require the courts on a global scale to indict Andrew Wakefield with attempted murder for those who get sick and murder for those who die due to non-vaccination. This is not a ‘maybe’ or a ‘freedom of speech’ issue. When it causes the intentional deaths of others it is murder, plain and simple!

As for Robert De Niro, he does make a case to get medical solutions to the people in a safer way, but which way cannot be stated, because it is a track that takes a long time, he has the option to get the support of the media and the medical profession to take another really serious look at thiomersal. I still had questions and next to Robert De Niro, I am the clever one (read: nothing wrong with my ego)!

This gets us to the final part that the Washington Post gave us in May 2016. The quote “create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data“, which we basically covered earlier, yet to see it this harsh is still important and it changes the taste of the movie by a lot. In here we also see “Actor Robert De Niro, who has an autistic son, originally lobbied to put the film on the schedule for the Tribeca Film Festival in March. But several days later, he said he had a change of heart“, which is another matter, in that that his questions and the fact that he puts up $100K is still valid, perhaps even more valid. It is my interest that gets piqued with “Dozens of top journals — including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Paediatric Infectious Diseases and the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders — have published papers that looked into a possible link and found none“, with the part that the visibility of all this has not been that high, it is my believe that whomever puts the Robert De Niro story out (as it is valid news) should also show all links to these journals, because as it is, Andrew Wakefield gets, due to the global scepticism of pharmaceuticals, a little too much consideration.

So as we gave the smallest consideration for the other side, we must give vision to what is an actual solution for the children of the world, in that the questions of Robert De Niro remain valid, we need to get solution to the people in a safer way and some questions regarding thimerosal remain, perhaps the journalists who are vetting to get a $100K bonus will take another look and answer those questions too. It is not some conspiracy theory thing, it is merely how the AAP decided to voice it, not wrong, just in a way that left us with questions.

 

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The excuse from a failed politician

The NHS has been in the news more than once as it is an important issue. It is today’s article in the Guardian that is a much bigger issue than most people will realise. Let’s take a look at the issue. The title ‘NHS would be put under threat by Brexit, says Jeremy Hunt‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/mar/26/nhs-under-threat-from-brexit) is only the beginning.

To show you part of this we need to look at this part by part. The first part is shown at the very beginning “The National Health Service will face budget cuts, falling standards and an exodus of overseas doctors and nurses if the UK leaves the European Union, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said“, which gets my initial response ‘Let me play the worlds tiniest violin for you Jeremy! Why don’t you consider an alternative job like in a taxi or perhaps become a barber, it’s just a suggestion!

Is my response to harsh? In this light, which should always be considered, we need to state the following:

  1. The NHS will always face budget cuts, Brexit is not a factor in that reality. Remember that the NHS works off the UK national budget, which is under pressure to say the least, the EU donation not being the smallest expense in all this.
  2. Failing standards if Brexit happens. This might be the most ludicrous reasoning. Ludicrous because standards are either being met or not and at present from several sources they are not being met, the EU seems to be setting unrealistic high requirements in some cases, requirements that many nations are failing, it should be about British standards, they should be the highest and they should be met, EU be damned (and all that).
  3. An exodus of overseas doctors and nurses when Brexit happens. This could have been an issue, but it was clearly stated in my blog ‘The News shows its limit of English‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/06/22/the-news-shows-its-limit-of-english/), where I showed how both Sky News and the Guardian were basically fucking up and creating unneeded panic. That article called ‘New immigration rules will cost the NHS millions, warns nursing union‘ showed the lack of investigation by both news sources as the UK government had published clearly in section 79E ‘is expected to demonstrate that he is being paid either at or above the appropriate rate for the job, as stated in the Codes of Practice in Appendix J‘, the nurses are clearly mentioned and the expected income as set out in the charter.

As I see it, I had to explain that to the press in my article on June 22nd 2015, so why would Jeremy Hunt state option C? In his defence, some people might be nervous if the UK leaves the EEC, yet a British passport is one of the most revered ones on the planet. So any non-EU medical employee would do a lot to gain that status and the UK government has done its share of keeping these highly qualified people interested in staying in the UK. So tell me, why is Jeremy giving us part C?

He actually gives us a decent answer through “Hunt argues that, with the NHS budget already under huge pressure, funding levels can only be maintained if the British economy remains strong“, it is only partially an acceptable answer as the NHS has been a mess for almost half a decade now, so these issues had been known, even if Brexit is an additional element, the danger of Brexit had been a fact for at least 6 months, that is, the chance of it becoming a reality, so the consequences of diminished economy has been an element for almost a decade. Even as the UK had been fortunate, the dangers of a receding economy have been a danger for the larger extent and when we realise that other EU nations have not been this fortunate, we should see that part in the light of ‘Jeremy hunt has had an economic advantage until now’. Not being ready for that risk is clearly a failing of health secretary Jeremy Hunt (as I personally see it).

After that he then kicks in his own windows when we read “He cites a series of economic surveys, including from the CBI as evidence of the adverse impact of an exit on the UK economy“, the CBI survey, which was an absolute joke, as shown in ‘Is the truth out there?‘ (At https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/03/21/is-the-truth-out-there/), it makes for a decent read and shows how the CBI survey could be seen as another chapter from one of the most famous books in statistics called ‘How to Lie with Statistics‘ by Darrell Huff, a 1954 publications that shows us never to ignore the classics.

The quote: “Hunt suggests that progress the government is making in employing 11,000 extra doctors and 12,000 more nurses will be threatened and warns of the “damage caused by losing some of the 100,000 skilled EU workers who work in our health and social care system”. Some could leave because of uncertainties over visas and residence permits, he suggests“, which again I consider to be a load of (the word starts with a ‘B’ and ends with ‘locks’). There shouldn’t be any uncertainties on visas or residency permits and offering that even as a suggestion makes (again, in my personal opinion), Jeremy Hunt unqualified for his present position. It is his job to create calm and take stress away, not to introduce additional stresses to an area where he already failed, in addition to these points I am raising, personally, as a conservative. I believe that there are questions on Brexit and to be against Brexit might be the party line, but there are too many questions regarding the European Community, there are conservatives who seem to support Brexit. For one there is Lord Chancellor Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove, who gave his reasons at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-michael-goves-full-statement-on-why-he-is-backing-brexit-a6886221.html, that part is not up for discussion. The only quote in all this is “The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time“, which applies to the NHS because it is facing both technological and economic challenges already. The Labour party bungled the option to get part of the technological solution implemented that could have helped the NHS (perhaps you remember the loss of roughly £11.2 billion in NHS IT restructuring).

My issue in all this is that (again, as I personally see it) Jeremy Hunt is not much of a visionary, which means that as expected, he will follow the party line as any governing body needs to adhere to. Yet in all this, scaremongering is the wrong approach. We need to be the enlightened party, the leaders that give rise to inspiration by properly informing the people. The growing problem for the Conservatives is that like Michael Gove, more will see that the EU has stopped being a solution. Many will not be as eloquent as Michael was in his essay, as printed by the Independent. This does not matter if we are united in finding a solution. My big worry is that scaremongering is a dangerous tactic. It is also the wrong one to make for the reason that enlightening the audience creates trust, needlessly scaring them will only drive part of our party towards UKIP (or Labour), a choice that is a lot more dangerous! To govern one must be elected and the view given at present is not that encouraging.

Stephen Dorrell, the former health secretary and ex-chairman of the Commons health select committee gave us this “EU research programmes and single market legislation have greatly strengthened European cooperation in this area with substantial benefits for both healthcare and employment in the UK. It is a simple fact that Brexit would put all this at risk“, which we might see (initially), as a fair enough statement. Yet in my view, the information could be regarded as incomplete (read: speculative view). You see, when we consider Stephen Dorrell, Healthcare and Public Sector Senior Adviser to KPMG in the UK (at https://home.kpmg.com/uk/en/home/contacts/d/stephen-dorrell.html), we need to consider what KPMG could lose, apart from the NHS £1 Billion revenue solution, as one might phrase it. When we re-consider the info the Guardian gave, which is correct in the view that NHS funds will find cutbacks, KPMG has a clear danger that it will reflect on their 10 figure deal, all in pounds and a lot less on medical staff. This gives an additional weight to the view that Stephen Dorrell did not give all the information, because there is a lot more, not on the hands of Stephen Dorrell or in the hands of him mind you, but in the hands of his friends (read: associates), possibly with KPMG who are realising that Brexit will impact their juicy pharmaceutical profits, with a growing chance that India could move more and more into the UK pouch of generic medication and the expenditure cutback solutions they bring. Now, reader be warned, there is a fair bit of speculation here (the part about India), that speculation is partially because I think there are long term solutions here for the Commonwealth at large, partially because it seems to me that I (and the public at large) have had enough of fat cats (especially pharmaceuticals) avoiding taxation to the degree they have whilst selling overpriced solutions, that are being re-patented again and again.

The list of misinformation appears to be growing and I am trying to offer resistance, because my party should be better than that! After all, we aren’t the Labour party!

 

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The News shows its limit of English

It was Sky News that showed a dangerous escalation as per next year if the Conservatives do not change certain parts of their immigration plan. Even though this is now all over the news, the BBC reported this in Feb 2012, it is only that this administration will now be confronted with it. So could this government have made such a blunder?

It is the Guardian that produced the most disturbing quote (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/22/new-immigration-rules-cost-nhs-millions-nursing), stating “Employers have had since 2011 to prepare for the possibility their non-EEA workers may not meet the required salary threshold to remain in the UK permanently.”, as I see it, that quote boils down to “You have 4 years to get rid of them, or get them nationalised“, which is saying a bit much!

Yet, when I look at the immigration rules appendix i (final) i see the following at section 245HF

At (d)(ii)(1) it states:

(1) At or above the appropriate rate for the job, as stated in the Codes of Practice in Appendix J, or

After which we get the 35,000 pound issue, so when we look at appendix J (at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/420539/20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_j_final.pdf) we see the following: on page 18 and 19 we see category 2231 Nurses (the appendices are attached to the story).

So the question becomes, what were the papers making noise about? Sky News, the Guardian, Daily Mail, et al. Is it me, or are they just starting a needless panic?

Section I (at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/420536/20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_i_final.pdf) states: “Pay requirements which the Secretary of State intends to apply to applications for indefinite leave to remain from Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Sportspersons) migrants made on or after 6 April 2016

Then on page 2 we clearly see the issues reported.

Let’s go by the booklet:

  • First (a) no unspent convictions (so no criminals, makes sense….yes?)
  • Second (b) no general grounds for refusal and no illegal entrant (again, makes perfect sense)
  • Third (c) have spent 5 years lawfully in the UK, which was always a requirement, and in any combination of the following:
    As a tier one migrant, excluding the Post Study work, or the Graduate entrepreneur.
    As a tier 2 migrant (general migrant); the bulk of all nurses will be a tier 2 migrant.
  • Then this person also needs a letter from the sponsor (their boss) that they still require the applicant (basically that this person has a job, which as a nurse is pretty much a given).
  • In addition to this that the applying migrant is paid at or above the Codes of Practice in Appendix J, which gets us to the other appendix (J) which clearly states that a nurse does not need to make 35,000 pounds.

So can anyone tell me why these papers were not read correctly by the writers of the stories (or their editors for that matter)?

The paper clearly indicates that this is the situation with all nurses for 2016. So why are these publications stirring panic amongst the nurses?

Perhaps the journalists are not British citizens and they failed provision 245HF (f), where it states: “The applicant must have sufficient knowledge of the English language

OK, that was a mean statement to make, but in this day and age where doctors and nurses are nervous enough, adding silly levels of stress are just a little bit too silly for words in my slightly less humble opinion (just for today).

On the other hand, if there are new revisions and I was unaware of them (basically I had not found them at the GOV.UK site), I will be eating humble pie and upgrading this story as soon as I am aware of it.

20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_i_final

20150406_immigration_rules_appendix_j_final

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The second exploitation

It is always nice to see business to take a look at others and see how they can profit. As The US had to increase its Intelligence spending from 2004 onwards, many of us saw the outrageous amounts that the taxpayer had to dish out for intelligence resources. The biggest drain was not the need for more men, but the simple fact that much of the Intelligence community went private and those intelligence officers who were making on average $72333 year, suddenly in the private sector were asking for $172333. It was a simple ask and demand issue. This has gone on for some time and now we see how others are picking up the idea.

It is Sky News who informed us (at http://news.sky.com/story/1310468/nhs-hospital-paid-1800-a-day-for-nurse) on something so outrageous, that for a moment I thought they had just copied and pasted news from the Telegraph (the truth is far more shocking).

The first quote should be a massive wakeup call “On May Day Bank Holiday this year a locum agency was paid more than £1,800 to supply a nurse for a 12-hour shift, new figures show“, so a group that does not get anywhere near such an income supplies more funds for one day then most nurses will ever make in a week. Can anyone please explain that to me?

I know that I had given the answer in the beginning of this blog, yet in my blog of June 19th ‘Concerning the Commonwealth‘ I wrote “if we look at the NHS, then staffing and expertise are also a worry, which is by the way a worry in many Commonwealth Nations. Most of these nations have well over 5% unemployed; can some not be re-schooled in the healthcare sector?” Of course, that was after the event and long before Sky News wrote their article, yet overall, just as we saw on the mismanaged 111 helpline; it seems that hospital resources are not budgeted correctly either. You see, when we look at budgets, we think of coin and cost. It seems that most people think in that same way. Yet, hours and staffing is also a budget we must keep. The fact that we for some reason suddenly need to pay 1800 pound for a 12 hour shift comes down to the cost of a full day plumber (or the equivalent of two QC’s).

Yet the article is also lacking, WHY was this action taken? Perhaps there were valid (or better stated a host of) actions that resulted towards this choice. So, not unlike the Telegraph, we should ask the questions in regards to these events as they are told to us. This is why I decided to hold on to this, as it was clear that there was more to this than meets the eye. My initial response: ‘Bad Sky News, bad!‘ (Especially as the health strikes were already going on).

It is now, today August 10th that I see an article of the Guardian that does more than just put the Sky News article to shame. I am not debating whether the article was true, but it seems that there are sides that certain people are never happy to inform the others about.

This part is now seen (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/09/former-nhs-carers-intensify-strike-over-pay). If I read this correctly then these people are making just above minimum wage, yet these people are doing intense work, needing to keep a mind of everything (especially physicians at times), whilst making no more than the brain dead fast food counter staff tends to make. How is this even close to acceptable?

Perhaps Sky News did stumble upon something, but they ignored the other side. So at 7 pounds, a nurse makes 280 pounds pre taxation. If that person was staying at a homeless hostel, she would lose out on 105, which gives her 175 to live on for a week, which is 25 pounds a day, take in consideration underground, busses and such, which makes for another fiver down the sewage (as they would rightfully see it). So how can ANYONE live on less than 20 pounds a day? Remember, this still needs to account for food, clothing and a few other items.

There is no denying that leaving the NHS in private hands is worse than just a bad idea. It could be the first onset of death for healthcare in the UK. As politicians have wasted in excess of 15 billion pounds on failed approaches to healthcare, why think that the private sector (a greed and profit driven entity) would do better to the cost and even more disgraceful, better to the people it is supposed to take care of?

The article has a clear quote that shows the danger people face: “Once they have squeezed out the state sector, and the third sector, we will then see prices rise; then we will see profits; then we will see these tax-efficient structures working.” This is a clear ‘divide and conquer’ approach, a method, might I remind the reader of that has been around Julius Caesar, so long before Nicola Machiavelli decided to become devious. Attached to this is that as more and more cost cutting solutions are born, ‘surviving’ on tax shelter operations, then the treasury coffers will miss out on a lot more, which will just force a system of checks and balances which is no longer depending on any balance, it makes for a massively unbalanced future for both the people and the state.

The part that gets me is the people behind the strike “Fifty carers for the disabled are staging one of the longest strikes in the history of the health service to secure a living wage for staff working in privatised services formerly run by the NHS“. Have these people on minimum wage figured out what politicians, who make a lot more than that are ignoring?

The danger is that when (not if) the healthcare sector collapses, the fallout will be unimaginable. Those deciding on cutting costs (which by itself is not a bad idea), should also consider the dangers that follows. Government has health and medical options because (for now) it is not driven from a profit point of view, which is at the heart of this situation, this is not about cutting cost or making profit, this is about breaking even or losing an essential part of support for the living. When we are left to the devices of that what brings profit, we see the first steps into culling a population. It will not happen because they are killed, it will happen because services are no longer available. Then what will the government do, and who will they have to pay, or more interestingly, how much will it cost the government then?

Is that in any way a lesser form of murder?

The question becomes: ‘If a Service Level Agreement is set between government and the private sector, can any of these parties be prosecuted for murder?

You the reader will laugh now, which is fine, but when we see the first casualty because of these changes consider my words and consider how that person would still be alive if certain steps had not been taken.

 

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A political triptych

Whenever I see a trilogy I remember my first introduction to something in three parts. They were the works of Hieronymus Bosch. My earliest recollection of them was seeing his work with my own eyes when I was around 12 years old, making ‘triptych’ the most expensive word in my vocabulary in those early years. The events that have been at the centre of our lives lately seem to reflect the chaos we see in these famous triptychs.

First there is the issue I described earlier this week in ‘Here come the Drums!’. Russia has had an opportunity to throw ‘its’ image in several ways. Not because of me or because of the image it needs to have, but because of the image that it could have regardless of what the US claimed it to be. I was wrong! Whether Putin is as stupid as the US makes him out to be, or whether his advisers are working on self-serving needs is something only historians can decide upon. The fact that we see massive amounts of evidence that the local Donetsk population is giving the internet, the initial view (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fjpB5gw3iM) was nothing compared towards the anger we see clips where people are going through the debris (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGzcHd118mM). There were additional clips on how people were cheering on downing a plane and other issues of utter disrespect, which seems to have been removed from YouTube and seem too outrageous to add to this blog.

I should also revisit the comparison that I made with the question: ‘A lawyer walks into an insane asylum and hands an inmate a gun, who then kills the Warden of that place. Who is to blame?‘, I still feel it is relevant. The question was who supplied the BUK system, was it Russian, or was it captured? You see, in BOTH cases the international authorities should have been alerted to the dangers the area brought. It was the leaked conversation that angered many (including me). “Nikolay Kozitsin: That means they were carrying spies. They shouldn’t be f_cking flying. There is a war going on“, this baboon, or better stated, this baboon on Lysergic acid diethylamide is an army commander?

The fact that it was at an altitude of 30,000 feet should have been an indication that it could have been non-military. The events that follow, to the massive acts of disrespect and legal transgressions should have been a clear indicator that Russia should have stepped away from all this seems abundantly clear. Head my words, I am not stating that Russia had done anything wrong, the mere fact that it did not speak out loudly towards this transgression tarnishes them on (an undeserved) equal footing as Commander Nikolay Kozitsin. President Putin should have seen that one coming a mile away. This is nothing compared to the stupidity by Sky News shown on the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/jul/20/sky-news-presenter-brazier-mh17-luggage-crash), where Colin Brazier shows himself to be more ignorant then a first year Journalism student. His actions were met with outrage by fellow presenters Jacqui Oatley and Shelagh Fogarty. There is one correction that must be made, the initial information I had, was that the Data Flight Recorders (black boxes) were on route to Russia, whilst the information I currently have is that they had only recently been taken to Donetsk (at http://www.smh.com.au/world/mh17-black-boxes-under-rebel-watch-in-donetsk-according-to-separatist-leader-20140721-zv4lg.html). It seems only correct that I alter that part here.

There is another side to all this, as we see (at http://www.smh.com.au/world/john-kerry-says-us-has-enormous-amounts-of-evidence-linking-russia-with-mh17-disaster-20140721-zv4mz.html) that the MH17 disaster is linked to Russia, there are still questions that give worry to this. Yes, I agree that in my view Russia bares definite responsibility, not just by the possible SAM delivery (as the original is still in question), but the fact that the pro-Russian separatists were not stricken down in a verbal lashing from the Kremlin to give full cooperation, which is a much heavier transgression. Consider that these ‘pro-Russians’ would not listen, accept, or heed the words from Moscow; does that not make them simple terrorists? If that would be the case, how could Russia consider not distancing themselves from this disaster from the very first moment the events took place? If Russia is in league with these terrorists, then was the downing of MH17 not a clear act of war?

Is at the centre of it all?

Consider the financial situation the USA is currently facing, it is broke, which means it has no way to feed the war industry, which gives Moscow a distinctive advantage, if we accept that neither wants to go nuclear any day soon, then the acts of ‘sanctions’ is pretty much the biggest artillery the west can muster at present, even as we continue to see the results of acts within Donetsk. It is harder to tell whether I am right or wrong (I could be either), yet the inactions in Syria and now Eastern Ukraine seems to show a lack of directive from all NATO parties (not just the US). This all gives shape to the art on the left side of the Triptych.

The next issue is the one I also briefly touched upon, it is the escalating issues in Gaza, where it seems more and more clear that Israel has had enough of the threat Hamas has made over the last few years and the loss of support that Hamas is enjoying, as well as the US no longer having a clear and powerful hold over the region on an economic base is also a cause for Hamas to wonder whether their approach to issues would ever have worked to begin with. Now that Egypt is distancing itself more and more from Hamas, they are now hoping for a resolution through Qatar, where they seem to hope that the UN will be able to find options with the help of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. The Sheik is a diplomatic force to be reckoned with, as a Sandhurst graduate, which is regarded as the finest military officer’s education in the world. The only issue that would remain is whether Hamas is in any way entitled to such distinctive representation. In one way, it might actually result in actual cease fire talks between Hamas and Israel; it is however also one of the final straws Hamas has left, if they decide to break that truce in any way, the results could not just end Hamas, it might actually end the options for any Palestinian Gaza. It could result in the biggest poker hand the Middle East has seen in a few decades. That and the option that progress could be in result will only emphasize the amounts of power lost to the US (who was utterly unable to make any headway here). It will also strengthen Qatarian influence over a larger portion of the Middle East, which could be exactly why Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani might consider to assist in the matter as well as the motto he trained under ‘Serve to Lead‘. Achieving that might just leave the Academy General’s bursting with pride (the General who was leading the academy when the Sheik was a student there). If we go back to the Triptych, then this would be right side of the Triptych. So what is at the centre?

These two sides are linked to a much larger painting in the middle. It is without a doubt the economic sides we have seen overwhelming the left and the right side. It is not the economy of missile systems (which might be an implied reference), but it is the economic powers that are too scared to lose it all in a war, which is of course the smallest of reasons to consider war over, but it is a factor none the less. More important, it is the diminished economic power of the US that is centre on all this. It would be unfair to just refer to the US here, but the bulk of the EEC is in a worse shape than the US currently is, so that is why the US is still the central element in all this. Their inability to get control of their overspending is a massive reason for the ‘blame’ towards the US. But let us not forget that the UK is not without blame either. In its current shape (especially the massive debt) the UK is also lacking in power to set for the ‘demanding’ (or better stated ‘intensely requesting’) image that should be given towards Eastern Ukraine and Israel/Hamas in these matters. Even if we give the proper weight to the Guardian article on the GDP of the United Kingdom (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jul/20/gdp-surpass-pre-financial-crisis-level), the headline ‘GDP to surpass pre-financial crisis levels‘ is just an indicator and even though I admit that the UK is still getting back on the horse, the issue ‘ignored’ for now is that Gross Domestic Product is no real indicator of better times, only for now that this seems to indicate good times for the ‘rich’. People in the UK are still on massive levels of debt and that is not likely to change any day soon. There is still a shortage on jobs and those who do have a job are inclined to go along with outrageous amounts of legalised slave labour. Freedom comes at a price, or better stated, when big business rules (or massively influences) the actions of government, we see an unbalanced view on life and every inch they do not claim will come at another cost.

Here we see the elements of a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch. Either of the famous three of his triptychs could apply to the chaotic mess we are all facing. In the end there is enough imagery to debate which one is the best depiction. The economic sector would argue that we are in the triptych ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights‘, whilst the people under the pressures of this economy will counter that their fate is shown by the triptych ‘The Last Judgment‘. The view also reinforces the views outsiders have towards the entire economy. Partaking in it will always be better than watching the result on the outside looking in, because those on the outside will never get to partake in the game at all.

2014 might end up being a very decisive year for many of us!

 

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The Illusion of control

It is three days after writing ‘Concerning the Commonwealth!‘, I stand by my piece. I think that the Commonwealth is facing increasing issues all over the field and as the numbers go up and up and up, healthcare will take a centre seat in a diminishing population of workers, which by the way include issues that will hit Australian shores too. Today (at http://news.sky.com/story/1287088/government-has-lost-control-of-the-nhs) we get to see more about the NHS, the mention of a 3 billion pound fiasco, which gets attached to the name Andrew Lansley, who is currently Leader of the House of Commons. He is also behind the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which is regarded to be highly controversial. However, before we go into any controversial parts, try finding a document called ‘ABPI UK NHS medicines bill projection 2012 – 2015‘, it is a PDF file (the Google link was too messy). There is a massive revelation on page 5, which diminishes a bible chapter with a similar name to a mere Paddington bear story.

As we ignore earlier mentions of a shake-up gone awry at 3 billion and mentions of an IT structure at the price of 10 billion that never worked, here we see that over the term 2013-2015 the use of brands go up from 14.2 to 15.5 billion, yet generic medication needs only rises from 3.2 to 3.9 billion. The interesting part is that even though there is still a brand growth, the bio-similar mention (generics) go up from 134 to 328, so there is more than 100% growth in change to generic medication, whilst the cost is still growing steadily on both sides (generic versus brands), what would the brand side have done if the generic side did not exist?

Three days ago I was extremely outspoken in regards to the need to get the NHS costs down. It seems that the search for generic alternatives is taking a backseat to other options. In an age of finding ways to make ends meet, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 has no space reserved in regards to the need for a stronger presence of generic medication.

When we look at:

233 General duties
(1) In exercising its functions NICE must have regard to—
               (a) the broad balance between the benefits and costs of the provision of health services or of social care in
               England,
               (b) the degree of need of persons for health services or social care in England, and
               (c) the desirability of promoting innovation in the provision of health services or of social care in England.

Why was the following not added?

                (d) the choice of generic medication where possibility for a responsible health care alternative warrants it.

Now, I will be the first one to admit that my choice of words is not the best one, but it seems where it is known that generic medication is such an important part for the survival of the NHS, that no mention at all (as far as I could tell) seems to raise a few more questions. Key message 4 on page 11 of the PDF shows exactly the part that matters: “Nine of the current top 20 selling brands lose patent exclusivity between 2012 and 2015” and when we consider the growth through bio-similars, we see that the right path seems to be taken as we read the numbers from the office of health economics. So, there is a path to better growth through managed costs (to some degree), the question becomes, why is this report quoting Jane Ellison as secretly taped? More important, why is Sky News not giving proper light to the NHS issues as they are (to a small extent) resolved? Why are they not taking a look a Professor Adrian Towse, Jon Sussex, Lesley Cockcroft or Martina Garau. I would think that the latter two as statistician and economist might be able to light a candle in the tunnel of ambiguous ‘tell tailing’ darkness ‘some’ are sailing.

None of these matters are coming to light at any stage. Even the Guardian on April fool’s day, did little more then http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/01/health-service-biggest-challenge-history-nhs-boss. I will admit that the article of the Guardian was decent, yet the quote “the NHS is facing a perfect storm of rising demand, funding pressures and worryingly low staff morale“, no matter how true, seems to be about the hardships (which remain true). Yet the information that the Office of health economics seem to have is escaping these Journo’s of bad news writings. Slide 13 of the initial PDF shows an even stronger view on how the UK is getting by, whilst the US is facing an overall hike from 176% to 281% compared to the UK index, Only Spain, Finland and France were barely better off. That part remains in question when we consider their population, if the results was correctly weighted (small oops on that slide), then the pressures for patent change from American shows just how desperate the American position is, which is shown even stronger on slide 6 when we see just how hard medication hits both Japan and USA as they spend well over 2% of GDP there, whilst the population of Japan is twice that of UK and the population of the USA is set at well over 400%. These slides will also leave is with other questions in several regards, yet the initial positive view is not reverberated over the press sites, or by the UK journalists. It seems to me that the information by certain newsgroups, especially in the LACKING sight on the importance of generic medication leaves us with questions. However, the Guardian was all over the business side of Pfizer trying to take over AstraZeneca. Did no one properly wonder why they were willing to dish over 69 billion? When did a US company EVER spend such an amount unless they knew that they would end up with double the amount? When we consider those events, we should wonder why the papers aren’t a lot more outspoken in regards to informing the public.

Even if this was all not true, don’t you think that the press would (should is a better word) have been all over the members of the Office of health economics I mentioned asking them the questions I am voicing and a few more after that? Is the silence of the press not deafening? The late April article in regards to Pfizer – Astranezeca headlines as ‘Pfizer refuses to guarantee UK jobs if AstraZeneca takeover goes through‘, which should make us wonder whether this is about income, jobs or patents. Would that takeover stopped any patents, or at least delayed them? If many patents have 1-2 years left, why pay that many billions, which information was kept hidden from us? It is the quote from Pfizer CEO Ian Read that states “The combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca could further enhance the ability to create value for shareholders of both companies and bring an expanded portfolio of important treatments to patients.” This is a fair, honest (to some degree) and clear message. It is about the shareholders and the message that these billion will come back to ‘us’ and then some. This is clear business, I do not object, yet the overview for the UK? What will it cost them besides jobs? We saw little of that and the NHS has been played like a piñata donkey for a little too long. This is not me stating that the NHS is okay. Actually it is far from that, it is about getting the proper illumination on events, which does not seem to be happening either.

In the end, the quote in the Sky News article “A spokesman for the Department of Health told Sky News: ‘Giving operational control for the day-to-day running of services to doctors was the right decision but we’ve always been clear that ministers are responsible for the NHS’” might have been a correct one, the added information could have been a lot more insightful. When you Google ‘Office of health economics‘ you will not find any links to any newspaper, which is puzzling when you go to the Office of health economics and look at some of their publications. If I would add one more ‘light‘ remark then it would be that the members of the editorial and the policy board of the Office of health economics seem to have more degrees then a Kelvin scale, making them in my mind an essential source of health information for any journalist.

So where are these articles informing the public?

 

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Legally and Criminally Insane?

There is an issue that had been on my mind for a long time. First of all, I do not have a car. I had a motorcycle for a while, but not at present. I never cared for cars that much. When you live in the big city, a car tends to be an expensive asset and it rarely gives you additional time. I learned that if one manages their time correctly you get heaps done without a car. It does not always work that way, I can admit that and for almost half a century, I have only desperately needed a car around 10 times. So, for me, a car is really not that needed.

You might wonder where this is going!

I just read an article, basically the second driver in a series of thoughts (at http://news.sky.com/story/1286644/brakes-slammed-on-over-zealous-spy-cars). The first one is a number of articles all pointing back to speed cameras (at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/10613388/Motorway-speed-cameras-to-be-rolled-out-to-stop-those-driving-faster-than-70mph.html) and a third topic in this matter can be found at http://www.mindfulmoney.co.uk/trending-news/parking-fines-by-councils-reach-nearly-255-million-in-2013-with-tables-of-the-top-finers-by-local-authority/.

So, why these issues? We have traffic laws (UK, Australia and heaps of other nations). They are not like the three rules I got explained for driving a car in Egypt (in 1982), where it seemed that:

1. If you did not honk your horn, you are at fault.
2. The heaviest car has right of way.
3. A non-Egyptian is always at fault.

They seem simple and pretty much fit the bill.

In most Commonwealth countries we have set rules on speeding and parking. So, I do not get the problem when people start bitching over speeding tickets. Was there a speed limit? There always is and there is always a reason why it did not apply to that person. I reckon 1 out of 250 will have the actual honest defence that they missed the speed limit sign, which gives us 249 people who should keep quiet and just pay up, or should they?

Now, I will admit that I am slightly on the fence towards the topic with the title “Brakes Slammed On ‘Over-Zealous Spy Cars’“. Is that really a wrong approach?

Even though the heart of the matter quoted “These measures will deliver a fairer deal for motorists, ensuring that parking enforcement is proportionate, that school children are protected and buses can move freely, and that key routes are kept clear“, which is fair enough. My issue is that these people parked illegally, so why is that an issue?

The quote “CCTV spy cars can be seen lurking on every street raking in cash for greedy councils and breaking the rules that clearly state that fines should not be used to generate profit for town halls” remains funny as most town halls will never ever make profit, even if we fine roughly 87.2254% of the London motorists, London would still come up short by a sizeable amount.

It is in the area of the parking fines article we see this quote “The capital is extremely congested so we’d expect to see a higher number of restrictions in place and penalties being issued. However, there is a fine line between fair and opportunistic that councils shouldn’t be tempted to cross.” Here I wonder how to react. You see, if the council revokes a driver’s licence after 3-4 fines for no less than one year, it seems to me that the congestion problem will solve itself overnight. I agree that these transgressions are not in the league of Manslaughter or Grievous bodily harm, but laws are laws and are traffic laws any less? (Well, less than murder, yes!) There will always be excuses and some will remain valid.
L or P plates correctly displayed at start of journey‘, which in all honesty could happen. There is ‘on medical grounds‘, where the driver was helping a victim into a hospital. There will always be a grey area that we in all honesty must deal with. These are the parking fines and there are a few more valid reasons, but some are just out there. I felt a lot less lenient when it comes to speeding. You see, there is always that joker who thinks he is in control and when speeding goes wrong, he refuses to die for the sake of it, but will have killed someone else. When we read that: “X (name removed) was jailed for eight months for causing death by careless driving“, I wonder why that person is not spending life in jail for murder. the quote “Believing they were walking ‘deliberately slowly’, she engaged the clutch and revved the engine of her Honda Civic to scare them off the road while her car was still moving at around the 30mph speed limit” gives additional feelings of anger. These pedestrians were at a pedestrian crossing? 8 months jail and a two year ban is all she had to do, which in my book seems just wrong.

It is the quote “We are opposed to speed cameras in general. The evidence of their success in promoting safety is not good and in reality what is happening now is that the police are using speed cameras to fund their other activities through speed awareness courses.” by Roger Lawson, a spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) that gives additional concern. Perhaps these measures do not go far enough?

It is currently stated that if you are caught speeding then you will be handed an absolute minimum punishment of three penalty points and a fine of £100. How about making that four penalty points and a fine of £200? Also during special times, like Easter, Christmas and so on, the demerits double, making the driver extra careful. Next we see that ‘if you accrue 12 points on your licence within a three-year period‘, should then in honesty become ‘if you accrue 24 points on your licence within a two-year period‘ the driving ban should be no less than 24 months, no matter how essential your driving license is. If someone states that this is too draconian, then I personally agree as well, but many acts do not change the mind of the driver now, so why not give them something to fear. It seems that public transportation frightens them a lot.

What do we get from this?

That is indeed the question. It seems that a total disregard for parking and speeding rules is getting out of hand, and whilst it seems unfair to some, this is also a possible way to stop congestion. It also stops a little pollution, so we do get a double whammy on this front.

This all gets me to Law and Morality by John Gardner (at http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lawf0081/pdfs/lawmoralityedited.pdf). It should seem clear that my approach is ‘aim to serve the common good (Finnis 1980: 276)‘ and ‘aim to justify coercion (Dworkin 1986: 93)‘. There is no denial that this is about coercing the driver to abide by the rules. We should at that point also consider how unjust the laws of traffic are (if that is the raised issue). But is it?

How often could you not park because someone had taken the spot that was rightfully yours? How often have you or someone you directly known to be in almost direct danger because of someone speeding? When a population above a certain level states yes to both (as it currently seemed to be the case), should these laws not change to something more draconian?

Is it not so, that in my imaginary change, we are changing the premise that we all have a right to drive a car, into the premise that driving a car is becoming a privilege for those abiding by the set rules? Is this not deprivation of freedom? We are to some extent already imposing those rules to pilots, considering the lack of accidents there, should we not take the same approach with car drivers? Should we not pass a certain parameter to be considered a driver? We demand skills to many environments that are a lot less hazardous, so why not car drivers? You see, as I see it, the car industry had forever been an open field as it was so lucrative to sell to so many people. Now, with the saturation we see, cars are almost too available and gas prices go through the roof. What if it becomes a privilege? What if the car driving population goes down by 20%? Cars might not become cheaper, but gas certainly will as there is a 20% less need. Public transportation will suddenly get a massive boost and the chance that all this reflects on higher safety standards and less need for emergency aid is also a good thing. We will always need emergency services, but consider that they will have on the emergency services. Here is where I got surprised. When we consider the numbers (at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13040/acci-emer-focu-on-2013-rep-V2.pdf), we see that in the UK the response for ‘Road traffic accidents accounted for 1.4 per cent of type 1 department attendances in 2012/13‘. That was a number I did not expect to see, so am I looking in the wrong direction? When we look at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/255125/road-accidents-and-safety-quarterly-estimates-q2-2013.pdf, we see a rolling statistic of 1785 killed and 23,530 regarded as killed or seriously injured, which makes the Accident and Emergency (A&E) data in England a slight question. Especially as we regard page 17 of that PDF and the spread of the traffic cases on page 22. Well, No! The numbers make perfect sense; it just shows that the 23,000 are well spread over the timeline; it is just that these 23,000 are in the end only 1.4%. Yes, in case you wonder, I did notice they are not all from the same frame, but we see only a few percent change over these time frames, so that overall the picture is still usable for the most, just that the relief for Accident & Emergency would be minimal (alas). I had hoped that the traffic changes would lessen their work a lot more.

So, am I just trying to add morality to a traffic case? Gardner explains that at times morality needs law, just as law is in need of morality at times. So we are still with the question, is adding draconian measures to traffic laws morally considerable, or will the act result in a lack of morality for the law? That issue is brought to light when Gardner gets to item 4. “Does law have an inner morality?” There we have a nice consideration. Is morality not a setting of norms, hence in reflection is it not a form of discrimination? I am doing that by discriminating against the transgressors, but am I doing this in an unbalanced way? If we accept that morality is seen as a system of values and principles of conduct, and the bulk of people break speed limits, is the morality of speeding not one that should change? If almost all break the speed limit, is the law not unjust to being with and as such is this law, draconian or not a transgression of accepted morality and therefor a law that should not exist?

The facts now fit the statement that Roger Lawson gave us, is this about funding, or about safety? That is not easily answered and without knowing the true and complete course of the 1785 killed. How many got killed through speeding? If we accept that the UK has roughly 34.8 million cars in use, should 0.00525% decide the consequence of the rest? When we look at the deaths, that is what we see; we get 0.0676% if we include the wounded. So, when looking at this, no matter how we twist or turn the data, well over 99% suffers because of a few. There is no question that none of this changes for the victims of these events, but it shines a harsh light on certain aspects of traffic safety and the approach it has. Should the laws change however? There is growing evidence at this point that my Draconian approach is just not the way to go, it shows an increasing tendency to be unjust. We can all agree that unjust laws should not be followed. But in the second degree, are the current laws too harsh?

Here we have several other factors to consider. If congestion is the cause of many evil, then my draconian approach survives the test as it solves part of the problem, yet will it solve the situation? There is no real way to tell. We should however question whether we want to take away the car as a basic freedom, because that is what a car embodies and revoking freedoms is as we can all agree highly immoral.

It seems like we took an opposition approach and through this we learned that people like Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin have a clear case. The same could be said for Roger Lawson, which takes us to the question whether the UK should consider losing the speed limits all together. Would you believe that someone made that case? Norfolk Police Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett did this and makes a good argument for it, which gives wonder on what to do next? He stated “If we are going to do anything about speed and villages we ought to take down all the signs and say all villages are 30mph [48km/h] and you drive on roads like they do in Germany and Italy, as road conditions say”. So if this works in Germany and Italy, why should the UK not go that same way? It cannot just be the weather as the weather in Germany can be even more treacherous as it is in the UK. Is it not also the case that the simpler any traffic issue is, the less confusion we are likely to face? The Egyptian example at the beginning is an extreme one, but does show the effectiveness of simplicity (except for rule three which can be scrapped in Common Law on grounds of discrimination).

Perhaps some changes the UK could get by learning from its neighbours, who knows, perhaps after this the French, Dutch and others will follow the Italians and we might get a reasonable equal traffic system (one can only hope). The end of the article comes down on Stephen Bett stating “UK motoring organisations have dismissed Bett’s comments, with the Guild of Experienced Motorists describing them as ‘just nonsense’“. But is that so? The numbers seem to be in his favour, the evidence of simplicity as generic evidence has been proven again and again, so is it all nonsense or is Stephen Bett onto something? Even though he stepped aside as PCC while an investigation is carried out into his expenses (since yesterday), the points he made should be seriously investigated, especially if proof can be given that simplicity drives down the number of accidents and transgressions, which is a win/win for all people.

So as I see it, the act to add Draconian laws seems almost criminally insane, which is actually what is happening in Spain, but we will get to that in due time when we see the results of Spain implementing such harsh rules.

 

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