Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Patient to sue NHS over top-up drug

A woman's fight to halt the withdrawal of her free care could shatter goverment rules on drugs. But fancy having to sue to get the healthcare you have already paid for! I guess that's what's called socialist compassion

A WOMAN cancer patient is taking a landmark legal action against the National Health Service for withdrawing treatment because she has chosen to pay for a drug that the NHS does not fund. Sue Bentley, a potter, has had her NHS care withdrawn after paying privately for the drug Avastin to increase her chance of fighting lung cancer. The legal action will put pressure on the government to change its policy of penalising patients who try to improve their chances of survival by buying additional drugs.

An inquiry into the scandal, to be published at the end of October, is widely expected to propose that patients should be allowed to pay for additional drugs without losing their NHS care. Ministers will then consider changing the rules but patients such as Bentley say they do not have time to wait. Bentley, 67, from Monmouthshire, who was diagnosed with the disease last December, said: “We were told there was no way we would be allowed to top up and that we would need to opt out of the NHS and pay for everything. “It is quite frightening because, if I become ill, I know that we will need to pay up to $900 a day for me to go into hospital, as well as all the treatment costs.”

In addition to the Avastin, Bentley is also receiving two other drugs, cisplatin and gemcitabine, which are normally available on the NHS. She is now being charged for these drugs which are free to other NHS patients. She added: “Everyone else is getting the cisplatin and the gemcitabine for free. I am sitting beside them and I am being billed. It is horrendous.”

Bentley will challenge in court the decision by her hospital, Velindre NHS Trust, Cardiff, to refuse to allow her to pay for an additional drug without losing her NHS care. In previous legal challenges, the NHS has capitulated either by agreeing to fund the additional drug or by the hospital allowing co-payment. This is unlikely to happen in Bentley’s case.

Bentley’s solicitor, Melissa Worth, of Halliwells, the Manchester-based law firm, has a QC’s opinion stating that the NHS has no legal right to prevent Bentley paying for a private drug while continuing to receive her state-funded care. Worth said: “Ms Bentley has paid for her NHS care through insurance contributions and there is no bar to a patient purchasing a drug not ordinarily available on the NHS, bringing that to a hospital and having the NHS administer that drug. “These patients are not taking anything away from the NHS.”

Halliwells is not charging Bentley for its representation. Doctors for Reform, a group of 1,000 doctors, has a $70,000 fighting fund to pay any legal costs awarded to the NHS if Bentley loses her case.

Bentley’s companion of 24 years, Steve Rogers, 52, a conservationist, has paid for Avastin, which costs about $6,600 a month, from savings. He found trials on the internet showing that patients who add Avastin to their treatment are more likely to see their tumours shrink and will increase the time before their cancer returns.

The couple must also pay for the cost of the chemotherapy drugs, which would otherwise have been available to Bentley on the NHS, and the charges for administering them. Bentley’s oncologist, who is backing their decision to pay for Avastin, has waived his fees.

Velindre NHS Trust defended its decision to withdraw NHS care. Malcolm Adams, medical director, said: “Velindre’s policy is that patients cannot switch between NHS and private healthcare within a particular treatment episode. “The Trust awaits the outcome of this [Department of Health] review with considerable interest.”


Health and safety team enters conker championships

This sounds like a bit of that old-fashioned eccentricity that was once the glory of Britain -- and to a degree it is. It is also however a significant backdown from the insane safety obsession that has had Britain ban almost anything that moves in recent years. The game of conkers is played by two players, each with a nut threaded onto a piece of string. They take turns to strike each other's nut until one breaks. The game is about as harmless as you can get but has nonetheless been banned from time to time in British schools etc.

The World Conker Championships have found a rather unlikely sponsor - the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health. Keen to shrug off their spoilsport image and dispel the myth that they make children wear protective goggles for the playground game, health and safety officers have also entered a team in the tournament.

After years of being derided for banning such jolly pastimes as sweets being thrown into the audience at theatres and balloon modelling by clowns, the supposed killjoys have said enough is enough. Ray Hurst, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health president, said: "I'm looking forward to captaining my team to glory at the championships to show that health and safety people are not spoilsports. We like to have fun like anyone else. You just have to manage the risks, not ban them into oblivion."

About 500 other entrants from as far afield as Jamaica, the US, Brazil, the Philippines and Benin will compete to be crowned conker champion at the championships in Ashton, Northamptonshire, on October 12.


Blind Greenie propaganda in "The Economist"

A comment in reply by Philip Stott, Emeritus professor of biogeography from the University of London

Your assertion that "global warming is happening faster than expected" exhibits a disturbing degree of cognitive dissonance ("Adapt or die ", September 13th). Since 1998 the world's average surface temperature has exhibited no warming, according to all the main temperature records. The trend has been a combination of flatlining and cooling, with a marked plunge over the past year; many countries, including Australia, Canada, China and the United States, experienced severe winters.

Moreover, recent work demonstrates that the Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for at least a further decade through the impact of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. In addition, the next 11-year cycle of solar storms-Solar Cycle 24-is late by more than two years. The sun is currently spotless, conditions that obtained during the "Dalton Minimum", an especially cold period that lasted several decades starting from 1790 and which was implicated in the rout of Napoleon's Grand Army during the retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Finally, one expert, Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, has gone so far as to give warning that the Earth may enter a new "Little Ice Age" for up to 80 years because of decreases in solar activity. The immediate portents thus point in the direction of a cooling period.

Whatever one thinks about longer-term trends in world average temperatures and their possible relationship with carbon emissions, it cannot be claimed that currently "global warming is happening faster than expected". It troubles me when a publication with the standing of The Economist permits such a gap between observed reality and political rhetoric.


Be honest: we all love the sexist alpha male

By India Knight, an upper class British female, courtesy of the fact that her Indian mother married well -- several times

Many women will tell you that one of the most irritating things about life is that alpha males - great silverbacked gorilla types - strike us, maddeningly, as being rather more attractive than their kinder, gentler, more considerate dwarf-monkey counterparts. We know intellectually that it shouldn't be so, since the gorillas are often sexist pigs (just to mix the animal metaphors); but when push comes to shove and we're picking a boyfriend rather than a friend, few of us find beta males especially appealing.

In real life as in Georgette Heyer, the reprehensible, oddly sexy brute fares rather better than the sensitive flower. Now it turns out that the unreconstituted, sexist male chauvinist is not only more attractive to many women, but earns more money and is more professionally successful than the kind man who sympathises when you have period cramps and offers to make you a nice cup of camomile. Not fair, is it?

The Journal of Applied Psychology has just published findings from a University of Florida study based on interviews with more than 12,000 men and women. Between 1979 and 2005, they were questioned regularly about how they viewed male and female roles - whether they believed a woman's place was in the home, whether employing women led to more juvenile delinquency(!) and whether it was the woman's job to take care of the home and family.

Sexist men, the scientists found, made an average of $8,500 a year more than men who viewed women as work-place equals. Meanwhile, feminists earned more than their more traditionally minded female colleagues (but not a great deal more - $1600 a year, on average). And while there was only a small difference between the pay packets of "egalitarian" men and women, sexist men's wages outstripped everyone else's.

Surprised? Me neither. It's one of those stories that, even without being corroborated by the figures, has the horrible ring of truth about it: we've all worked in an office where the sexist monster is (a) very good at his job and (b) gruesomely and guilt-inducingly attractive despite his antediluvian attitudes.

The existence of such men is why sexism persists: it is obviously wrong on every level, as many an industrial tribunal will attest, but the combination of power and, shall we say, lack of political correctness can be a potent one - which is why everyone in Britain fell in love with Gene Hunt, the hulking great throwback in the BBC series Life on Mars, which was set in the 1970s. On paper the character was entirely despicable; in full flow he made his intelligent, evolved, sensitive sidekick look like a ladyboy. Men wanted to be Hunt; women wanted to be with him. This says a great deal about men's sense of being emasculated at every turn in modern Britain - a complaint that is, I think, pretty much justified and needs to be addressed before it does considerable damage.

It is surely no coincidence that men seem angrier than they have ever been; you notice it especially when it comes to pornography. Wanting to subjugate and violate powerless women used to be a specialist minority interest; it has now become mainstream. Nobody seems to mind much. I find that pretty alarming.

See also the extremes men now go to in order to punish their former wives or girlfriends: horrific news stories about fathers murdering their children and then killing themselves have become, if not quite commonplace, frequent enough to ring loud alarm bells. There was another one just last week. There's not much point in women saying, "Oh dear, how horrid - but anyway, about my right to breastfeed in public . . . " These are issues that need to be looked at urgently before the situation gets wholly out of control.

Women aren't powerless - au contraire. What is interesting about the sexist pay packet is that it doesn't happen despite women, but rather with their consent and, in many cases, their covert approval. The fact of the matter is that biology will always get in the way of gender politics; you can cogitate and reason all you like, but it isn't easy simply to eradicate attitudes and desires that have been hard-wired into us for millennia.

Wet men aren't generally considered desirable or attractive; manly men are. Manly men, knowing they are considered attractive, continue to behave in their retrograde way and are rewarded for it with popularity, success and, if they're good at their jobs, a heftier pay packet than anyone else's. And then everyone likes or admires them even more, secretly or otherwise: success, money, esteem - what's not to like, apart from the little matter of gender politics? And so it goes on.

Meanwhile, confusingly, everything we read and observe and are taught shows us that the object of our admiration is to be condemned and that being a victim of sexism is one of the most terrible things that can befall a helpless woman (in fact, it really isn't and we're not helpless: there are many worse things than people making jokes about your bosoms, especially if the jokes are quite funny. If they aren't, we all have a tongue in our head and, if need be, recourse to the law. Part of the problem with all this is the irritating assumption that women are constantly doomed to victimhood and need protecting from the big, mean boys).

No wonder people get muddled. So this is a little plea for the sexist alpha male - the one we all secretly think isn't as dreadful as he's made out to be. Isn't it time that we gave him a break from the full force of our disapproval? We live in a furtive sort of society where lots of women fancy men they feel they shouldn't and many men go through life pretending to be a great deal sweeter and more feminine than they actually are, because they've been told it's the only way to be.

It's unhealthy, really - smoke and mirrors masking the unavoidable fact that, underneath it all, women prefer manly men, even ones who make sexist jokes; and men prefer womanly women, even ones who whinge about being fat. Perhaps that's a terribly self-hating and sexist thing to say. Or perhaps it's just the truth.


The moralistic myth of the `demon drink'

The UK government's list of nine types of heavy drinker is based less on scientific research than puritan zeal. It's part of a campaign that is both absurd and insulting

Do you drink to `unwind and calm down and to gain a sense of control when switching between work and personal life'? Perhaps your preferred way to `reconnect with old friends' is to meet up in a pub. Maybe you drink in `fairly large social friendship groups' and find a `sense of community' in your local pub, or perhaps you don't go out, and just drink at the end of the day when all your chores are done.

If any of this applies to you, and if you're over 35, you'll soon be targeted by a UK government health campaign, which, according to public health minister Dawn Primarolo, will help people `understand the effects of their drinking habits and help them make changes for the better'.

Underlying this forthcoming campaign is new research by the Department of Health (DoH) which has defined nine personality types of `heavy drinkers', that is, men who drink over 50 units of alcohol a week, and women who drink over 35 units a week. These types not only include `depressed drinkers' and `border dependents', which might well indicate potentially serious alcohol-related psychological problems, but `de-stress drinkers', `re-bonding drinkers', `community drinkers', `conformist drinkers', `macho drinkers', `boredom drinkers' and `hedonistic drinkers'. The DoH hopes to use this segmentation to, in the words of one report, `tailor its propaganda to suit all the target personalities' (1).

According to the report, alcohol serves many functions: it's the `shared connector' that helps people to get along with old friends; it's the means to `feel a strong sense of belonging and acceptance' or a `sense of community' at the local pub; it's the tipple of an evening born of boredom; or it's a way to express `independence, freedom and "youthfulness"'. The net effect of the research is to transform normal behaviour like relaxing after work, socialising with your friends, or just relieving your inhibitions and having a good time, into pathological conditions dangerous to your health (2).

Yet, as with all governmental lifestyle regulation, the basis for the DoH campaign is moral and political, not scientific or medical (3). The cod-psychologising about `drinking types' aside, even the notion of a `heavy drinker' is suspect, based as it is on government-defined unit limits that have no scientific basis. A former editor of the British Medical Journal involved in the process of setting the government's recommended drinking limits, which were first introduced in 1987, recently revealed that reports advising that moderate drinking above these limits was beneficial to health were simply suppressed in favour of `useless' limits that were `plucked out of the air' (4).

Instead, the government seems intent on commissioning scientists to try to produce evidence to back up its essentially moralistic obsession with how much we drink. This July, for instance, research at the North West Public Health Observatory (NWPHO) fuelled suitably scary headlines, warning that 15,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths annually, a leap of 80 per cent on previous estimates. Alarmingly, over a quarter of all deaths among 16- to 24-year-olds were attributed to alcohol. On this basis the DoH stated alcohol-related hospital admissions totaled 810,000, costing $5bn a year (5). But on closer examination of the facts, the continued politicisation of science becomes obvious:

* The NWPHO research identifies 47 conditions caused by alcohol - 34 of them `partially', like cancer, and accidents like falls. This is actually a reduction from the previous total of 53, which was determined by the Cabinet Office in 2003, and included various scientifically unsubstantiated conditions (6). Despite this, the government continues to use its own dodgy figures to estimate alcohol-related National Health Service (NHS) costs, thereby claiming an increase from o1.7billion to o2.7billion between 2003 and 2006/7 (7). Moreover, the government continues to peddle its preferred figures of 810,000 hospital admissions and `15-20,000 premature deaths' when the NWPHO report identified significantly lower figures: 459,982 admissions and under 15,000 deaths (8). When the facts don't fit, just use your own.

* The massive leap in alcohol-related deaths is almost entirely related to the inclusion of these `partially' caused conditions (10,283 deaths out of 14,982), for which the evidence is weak. Associated risk factors are drawn from two decade-old pieces of research and have no `confidence intervals' associated with them. In other words, we don't know how reliable these numbers are. Given that we are talking about a few dozen or hundred cases of some conditions, the risk could be statistically insignificant. Furthermore, these `partially' caused conditions are largely accounted for by `mental and behavioural disorders caused by alcohol'. While it is true that many mentally ill people have alcohol problems, it is far from obvious that they are mentally ill because they drink. However, the uncertainties and qualifications scientists are compelled to indicate tend to be ignored in media commentaries and government statements. When in doubt, obliterate doubt.

* Even if we accept the figures as given, when put into context, they look far less scary. While 14,982 deaths sounds a lot, it constitutes just 3.1 per cent of deaths in the UK. Booze accounts for over a quarter of deaths among 16- to 24-year-olds, but in absolute terms this meant just 446 people in 2005; the percentage is high for the simple reason that very few people die young. Again, 459,842 hospital admissions sounds a lot, but it constitutes just 2.3 per cent of all hospital inpatient and outpatient admissions (9). Given that 70 per cent of Britons drink, these figures suggest a generally low health risk, with serious problems being confined to a hard-core minority. Despite popular belief that Britain has a serious drinking problem, the international figure for alcohol-related diseases is four per cent.

* The NWPHO report even admits that drinking seems to help prevent some conditions like heart disease, and initially its authors found drinking even saved 8,838 lives in 2005 - though they subsequently try to scale this figure back, selectively using research that found little preventive benefit, rather than the opposite (10). Still, if the context dilutes the message, dilute the context.

* The NWPHO research actually finds little evidence to substantiate the government's obsession with `heavy drinkers' beyond re-telling the already-obvious: that sustained alcohol abuse increases the risk of diseases directly caused by alcohol, like cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol poisoning and throat diseases. For some `partially' caused conditions, the evidence is very weak. The research actually finds that the incidence of cancer, hypertension and pancreatitis do not vary with alcohol consumption among men, and are in fact `attributable more to lower levels of alcohol consumption' among women. Instead of therefore questioning the link between boozing and such diseases, the report `suggest[s] that there is a requirement for harm reduction strategies to target the general population, and not just high-risk drinkers'. A failure to find the link is thus transformed into regulation for the entire population, on the basis of three diseases that account for a mere 0.07 per cent of annual hospital admissions (11).

Such contortions illustrate that scientific research is being harnessed to a pre-existing policy agenda that is rooted not in hard medical fact but in moral concerns. Put simply, elites have a moral problem with people who enjoy drinking. They describe town centres as `no-go areas', express amazement and disgust at the revelation that 5.9million of us `drink to get drunk', and hope 24-hour licensing laws will moderate our barbaric customs in the direction of `European caf, culture'. This contempt for the masses, coupled with the vacuousness of their own visions for how to take society forward, produces moralising and therapeutic interventions designed to wean us from the bottle.

The DoH suggests heavy drinkers booze because of a `general sense of malaise in their lives' and to `give their lives meaning'. Perhaps they do. But is it really the state's place to psychoanalyse us, pathologise our normal social interactions, and scare us into `making changes for the better'? After the smoking ban left them without a focus for public health policy, it's actually health ministers who experienced a `general sense of malaise' and now resort to hectoring drinkers to `give their lives meaning'.

So if you receive one of the 900,000 leaflets and self-help booklets being targeted at heavy drinkers in the next few weeks, do the rational thing: bin it, and tell the `health promotion' lobby that really should get out more.


UK's biggest school scraps homework

The dumbing down never stops in Britain. And these kids are backward already! It's just lazy teachers who don't want the hassle

A new school that will be the biggest in the country is to abandon homework because the head teacher believes it does not justify the detentions and family rows it causes. Nottingham East academy, which will have 3,570 pupils, claims it will be the first school to scrap homework. It will instead have an extra lesson and after-school activities such as sport, model aircraft-building and sari-making.

Government guidelines suggest primary schools should set pupils between one and 2 1/2 hours per week, while those at secondaries receive up to 2 1/2 hours a day. Many of the most academically successful schools in the private and state sectors prescribe three or four hours of homework a night for older children. Barry Day, who will be principal of the new academy, believes much of this time is wasted. "If you ask most heads what most detentions are for, they will tell you for non-completion of homework," he said. "Homework causes an enormous amount of home conflict and parents and the community certainly won't mind children coming home later. "It is often set simply because there is an expectation it should be set. It does not help with education at all."

Day's move follows news last week that Tiffin boys' school in Kingston, Surrey, one of the country's most successful selective schools, had slashed homework from two or three hours a day to just 40 minutes for the oldest pupils. [What you can get away with among bright kids can be very different from what works with average or backward kids]

Day believes his changes will be fairer particularly for children from poorer or illiterate families or those whose parents do not speak English. Nottingham East will retain some homework for exam revision and coursework, but otherwise will simply encourage parents to read books in a relaxed way with their children and ask the pupils to report twice a term what they have read.

Signs of moves away from homework were welcomed by Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which is campaigning for an end to the practice at all primary schools. "A lot of the time, state schools are just competing with the independent sector in setting lots of homework as they think that is what the parents want," Bousted said. "It is perfectly possible to teach independent learning properly within the school day."

However, Professor Dylan Wiliam, deputy director of the Institute of Education at London University, said Day was going too far. "Research shows homework does not make much of a difference, but that is because it is not properly planned and is too often, for example, just finishing off what you did during the day. "Properly designed, it can help pupils develop their autonomy in learning."

Geoff Lucas, general secretary of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of independent schools, warned that, if widely adopted, the policy would result in lagging comprehensives falling even further behind. "Private study and independent learning are vital skills for university and employment," Lucas said. "It seems a terrible shame to have a blanket decision like this. It will inevitably widen the gap between schools like this and our members and the best-performing state schools."

Kenneth Durham, headmaster of University College school, London, said he was an enthusiast for homework. GCSE pupils at his school were given about two hours a night. "It is an education in its own right," Durham said. "Well-managed homework programmes leave students better able to cope with independent learning and give them time management skills."

The new academy has been given the go-ahead by Ed Balls, the schools secretary, and will open next year, educating children from nursery age to 19. It will cost about $100m and will start life in former school buildings next September before moving into new buildings in 2011, when homework will be scrapped.

Nottingham East will make its vast size manageable by sharing children around three mini-schools on different sites. Balls approved it after a confidential review backed the plan in June, finding that education at one of the schools to be replaced, Elliott Durham, was "parlous". The school's head was quoted in the review as declaring: "The attendance rate is very low . . . swearing and shouting is [sic] common . . . students flout the rules openly."


British Green heretic persecuted for his nuclear views

The climate change expert Mark Lynas has been scorned by eco-colleagues for daring to speak up for atomic power. He states his case below

I know I should be furious. The EDF takeover of British Energy means that four nuclear power stations could now be built around the UK, the first nuclear new build in a generation. As a long-standing Green party member, one who chops his own wood, grows his own leeks, keeps chickens and puts the kids in washable nappies, antinuclear indignation should spring easily to my lips.

After all, energy is something I care about. The last time I checked my carbon budget, I came in at a fifth of the national average. I rarely fly, even when booked to address faraway audiences about my personal obsession, climate change - a subject I've covered in three books. Whenever the word "nuclear" comes up at my talks, a shudder runs through the room. Because everyone knows that real environmentalists loathe nuclear power. It is just evil. Full stop.

Except, well, I don't believe that any more. Just a month ago I had a Damascene conversion: the Green case against nuclear power is based largely on myth and dogma. My tipping point came when I discovered just how much nuclear power has changed since I first set my mind against it. Prescription for the Planet, a new book by the American writer Tom Blees, opened my eyes to fourth-generation "fast-breeder" reactors, which use fuel much more efficiently than the old-style reactors, produce shorter-lived waste and can also be designed to be "walk-away safe".

Best of all, these new reactors - prototypes of which have already been tested - can produce power by burning up existing stocks of nuclear waste. As Blees puts it: "Thus we have a prodigious supply of free fuel that is actually even better than free, for it is material that we are quite desperate to get rid of." Who could object to that?

Just about everyone on the eco-scene, it turned out. I began to receive e-mails from friends and colleagues warning me off the topic. Did I really want to risk my entire reputation by alienating the green movement? The backlash to my first magazine article on the subject prompted my inbox to collapse, the blogs to drip with venom, the dirty looks to multiply.

A former Greenpeace campaigner posted on my website that I needed to show "a bit of humility" and "less arrogance". On Greenpeace's blog my views were mocked as "wishful thinking of the day". On Radio 4's Today programme, Green party leader Caroline Lucas accused me of having "lost the plot". When I argued back, she accused me of "just being silly". I was a traitor.

This was a moment I had been dreading for nearly three years, ever since I first suspected that much of what I had been brought up to believe about nuclear power - that it is, without exception, dirty, dangerous and unnecessary - was untrue. Science has moved on. The old figures just don't stack up any more.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, nuclear is just as low-carbon a power source as wind and solar: the world's 439 operating nuclear reactors save the planet from 2 billion extra tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, which would have been emitted had coal been used instead.

And those dangers? They're still there but we need to discuss them truthfully. Take Chernobyl. We all know it was a disaster: the Greenpeace website states a death toll of 60,000 already and predicts another 140,000 deaths in the future. But these statistics fly in the face of mainstream science: according to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 28 people died in the initial phase and several thousand more have suffered from nonfatal thyroid cancer because of the accident. The UN report concludes that "there is no evidence of a major public health impact attributable to radiation exposure 20 years after the accident" - so the real death toll from the world's worst nuclear accident is tiny. On a deaths per gigawatt-year basis, nuclear is safer than coal and oil.

Curiosity whetted, I searched the scientific literature for evidence to support the other great green charge levelled at nuclear power: it kills its neighbours. I sifted through piles of rigorous epidemiological studies from all over the world, searching for proof that people who live near nuclear sites are more prone to cancer and leukaemia. None of the reputable journals turned up a link. These are just two examples of eco-myths: there are many more. If only we were allowed to discuss them without being flayed for heresy.

When I e-mailed a senior ecological scientist with my conclusions, he agreed, but only privately. "Do not cite me as promoting nuclear," he begged. I am still shocked that people of his stature are too intimidated to speak out. The result of this fear is that the public is dangerously misinformed about nuclear power.

I have finally thought of something useful that I can do with my Green party membership card: I'll auction it on eBay and send the money to EDF - with a suggestion that it beefs up its marketing department. Any bids?


A stupid priest who is so far out of his depth he is drowning "The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has spoken up in support of Karl Marx, defending key aspects of his critique of capitalism. Dr Williams warns that in the face of the credit crisis, the financial world needs new regulation and says that our society is running the risk of idolatry in its relationship with wealth. In an article in Friday's Spectator, Dr Williams compares today's debtors and financiers to the feckless young clerics and landowners described in the novels of Anthony Trollope. He writes: "Individuals find that their own personal financial decisions and calculations have nothing to do with what is happening to their resources, in a process for which a debt is simply someone else's wholly disposable asset."

There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.

1 comment:

hallblithe said...

The NHS as an example of 'socialist compassion'?! Only in the same way that the DPRK can be called democratic or Che socialist!
This should help: