On this island there are some good things, you don’t have to worry about locking things so much, not much of a traffic problem, my cat can roam free. But as befits a capitalist society there are subtle trade offs made, unspoken yet clearly there. Because it is a pleasant environment we are made to pay for that, the infrastructure is old and poorly maintained. No winter passes without power cuts and telecom faults. You can wait days and even weeks to be re-connected; BT has a monopoly on the telecoms even if you can pay your bills to a different corporation. Nothing gets fixed unless it really has to be, so this story about a power surge is not that unusual, lights dim and flicker all the time and as improving the power grid cuts into profits, don’t hold your breath. While this is true in all of privatised UK in remote areas these services make a real difference.
Where a general trend throughout the country finds a more focussed example here is in NHS dentistry, it has collapsed. I had an uncle and a good friend who were dentists and throughout the final years of the Tory government and the Nu-Labour debacle I saw a mutual neglect by both the political establishment and the British Dental Association allow a de-facto privatisation and if neither body wanted that they certainly didn’t do much to stop it. Governments fucked it with silly plans and unattractive contracts, the BDA seeing that because everyone has teeth they will always have customers were okay with privatised medicine (and it really galls them they can‘t call themselves Doctor). The few principled NHS dentists soldier on not feeling all that well supported. The new contracts trumpeted last April were a failure because again both sides never really tried, privatisation is easier if done incrementally and seemingly by accident.
Around here if a practice will take on NHS patients queues form in the early hours of the morning to sign a waiting list to get on the waiting list. New private centres that contract to do NHS work are opening, but again privatisation by the back door. On the island there are no NHS dentists accepting patients, only a third of people have any cover and most children have none. We get less money from central government than we should which is why this was news (w00t we got out fair share). But then they buried the lede, after this front page fanfare the real story came in the -continued on page 3- final paragraphs (and not on the web version of the story, the new hi-tech way to bury the lede). For all this great new funding, coverage would extend to a whopping ‘more than’ 40% of the population (any bets that means 40.1%?). So if you’re visiting, bring a toothbrush.