Are our services in safe hands? - 10-29-2013
by DBenson - Dennis Benson - http://dennisbenson.net
Are our services in safe hands? by DBenson - Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Whatever happened to our national sense of humour? One of the positive aspects of our chicken-breedingco-operative is that humour is very much in evidence, if it is true that laughter is the best medicine we should all liveto get a telegram from King Charles, the plant whisperer. Over the past few years I have noticed time and againthat taking things less than seriously often defuses rage and incredulity. Sadly, at a national level we seem to havelost our sense of humour, everyone seems to take themselves, and life itself, far too seriously.
This seems to be a new age of management consultants, spin-doctors and gurus covering all of life's afflictions. Travel on any morning commuter train and you can observe people with furrowed brows studying their latestoutpourings. Thursday morning is particularly fascinating as hordes focus on analyses of the previous day's PMQuestion Time. To us it is simply a half-hour of childish abuse tossed back and forth between a red-faced porkerand a croaky bantam, but an army of soothsayers turns it into the equivalent of coded messages from Goddelivered by saints for whom the interests of others are all that matter. Ye Gods, how have we managed to reachthis level of naivety?
We couldn't help noticing the uproar over a joke, albeit a weak one, read from an autocue on 'Have I Got News ForYou' by Jo not so Bl(r)and. In today's serious society the reference to Prince Harry snorting cocaine was a mortalsin, an affront to all that is decent in 2013 Britain. It was a joke for heavens sake. The reaction tells everythingabout today's overly serious times for, just a few decades ago, the nation rocked at Spitting Image, which carriedinferences by the minute. No one took seriously the idea that Thatcher used a men's toilet or that Hattersleysprayed saliva by the bucketful.
Perhaps we need, to quote the new-age sages, to regroup and to sort what is worth taking seriously and what isn't. An example of something which we do still tend to laugh at but which is anything but funny is the dubious characterof the private companies into whose hands the coalition is placing many of our essential services.
When G4S failed to turn up for Olympic duties the stand-up comics saw it as the perfect subject for endless tales ofprivatised armies oversleeping on the day of a battle, or privatised policemen using their emergency radios toenrich William Hill. In fact the implications of such companies being entrusted with vital service provision is lessthan funny.
Today we read of a South African prison run by G4S being under investigation for allegedly using forced injectionsand electric shock treatment to subdue inmates. The claims come just weeks after the South African governmenttook over operations from G4S after finding the firm had "lost effective control over the prison" in the wake of aseries of stabbings, riots, strikes and a hostage taking.
A member of the prison hospital staff has alleged that inmates were injected with antipsychotic drugs Clopixol,Risperdal, Etomine and Moecate. Thse can cause memory loss, muscle rigidity, strokes and other potentiallylife-threatening side effects. A video shot by the emergency security team shows an inmate being injectedinvoluntarily. He can be heard shouting "No, no, no", while five men grab him, twist his arms behind his back anddrag him to a room. A former G4S employee has told the BBC that "we went overboard, so to say: you go andshock them individually in a segregation unit just to make sure they could be afraid of us".
He added that; "The management was very happy with the results and with some of the incidents . If it was duringthe week then the official was there at the centre and they would respond with us and we did these things withthem, in their presence. Yeah, we stripped them naked and threw water over them so the electricity could worknicely". The allegations are denied by G4S but the British law firm that secured compensation for Kenyan victimstortured by British colonial forces has been instructed to investigate the claims against G4S in the UK. Sapna Malik,partner at Leigh Day, says that the "allegations raised are shocking in the extreme and require urgent and thoroughinvestigation". Are our services in safe hands? - 10-29-2013
by DBenson - Dennis Benson - http://dennisbenson.net
We have no idea as to the validity of all this, but the point we are keen to make is that privatising such services asprison control is potentially dangerous. Private companies are preoccupied with profit, and staff are regularlyrecruited on the hoof and at the lowest possible wages. Training is regarded as costly, corners are cut.
One would like to imagine that any indication of a suspect culture is immediately investigated by our governmentdepartments. But we doubt it. The obsession with the private sector has pervaded Westminster corridors and mindsare closed.
Most things that politicians do can be laughed off but privatisation of services that involve control of prisoners or care of patients is not one of them! OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THOUGHT FOR TODAY; " Many a man may look respectable, and yet be able to hide at will behind a spiral staircase!".P G Woodhouse ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
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