Saturday, March 23, 2013

Something has gone terribly wrong in the UK

If you happened to catch the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, you may remember the bit with the dancing nurses pushing beds - celebrating the National Health Service. If you live outside of the UK you probably will not of heard of the recent public enquiry that revealed that one NHS hospital had allowed 1200 people, mostly elderly, to die due to lack of care. Some of them left to expire in unchanged beds in their own waste.
You probably will not have heard of the young man, who died of thirst, immobile in his NHS bed while his carers ignored him. He tried to survive by drinking the water from his bedside flowers, he tried calling the police. No one came.
You will certainly not have heard that several more hospitals are now under investigation for similar failings. You will certainly not hear of any sanctions or consequences.
To pick on another UK institution, you may have heard that the BBC,  home of such beloved shows such as Dr. Who, sheltered an alleged predatory paedophile - the late Sir Jimmy Savile - and resisted attempts to investigate this after his death.
You probably will not have heard of the string of cases of children in public care who were abused by their carers and by powerful political figures now dead, although it is rumoured that some of the guilty still live.
You may have heard of the government minister, in power last year, who recently pleaded guilty to 'Perverting the Course of Justice'. The maximum sentence that a judge can impose is life; typical sentences are two to three years. He got eight months and will probably serve just four. If you live outside of the UK you probably have not heard of the Parliamentary Expenses Scandal involving dozens of Members of Parliament paying back improperly claimed expenses. The sums involved are enormous. Only a few have been charged.
All these problems and many more, have been caused by a slow deterioration in the way the United Kingdom runs its affairs. Political parties have been taken over by a managerial class that has little experience of the life outside of a political bubble, and pays no attention to it. The system of Representative Democracy that used to prevent scandals such as those I have outlined here, has broken down.
Recently a small group of people met in the town of Harrogate and have put together six basic demands that could - in time - lead to a constitutional convention and more responsive direct democracy. You can learn more by emailing me, or follow my own efforts to support them on twitter as @adwelly.

Andy Dwelly
West Sussex, United Kingdom

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