NHS – Correct a 70-year-old Design Fault. The Future must not be the Day before Yesterday.

“Care in Europe is safer than NHS, death rates reveal” The Times 2.4.2015 page 35 – WHY NO COMPARISON WITH GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND THE NETHERLANDS?In 1948 when the NHS was created, no-one foresaw the future of health care and its escalating cost.  No-one anticipated what it would be like today.

1. The number of people in 2018 alive, well beyond retirement age. Life expectancy for one in three born in 2015 to live to over 100? A growing demand dual-registered residential care for the elderly along with social care. Our NHS is a victim of its success.

2. The range of new treatments and drugs available every year, their cost and the cost of the scanners and conformal radiation-therapy supporting them? Extending life does not come cheap, nor prolonging mobility. I know. I have been a beneficiary.

3. At a time of food rationing did anyone anticipate that obesity and consequential diabetes would be a major health problem along with alcoholism and smoking, and that on a Friday and Saturday evening 60% of admissions to A & E would be alcohol related?

3. Did anyone expect that the overall cost would be in the region of £100 billion annually, not very different from the entire tax receipts from employers’ and employees’ National Insurance payments?

It is far too simplistic to say that more money will solve today’s problems or that ending private sector involvement will improve health provision.

Free at the point of need” is a great concept. It should not be abandoned, but it should be tweaked. It should be insurance based, not taxation based, self-funded by those able to pay the premiums and by the State for those unable to do so.

Don’t look at the USA to validate this, look to Germany, France, Holland & Switzerland. You don’t have to invent the wheel, just find it.

Compulsory National Health Insurance would replace National Insurance, with the State offering a basic insurance package with other insurance companies competing, together driving down costs in their market place.

People would continue the premiums after they stop working, their demand for it increasing with age; and you could include insurance for residential care in old age to head off having to find money to pay for it at the time.  Sadly, there will always be some who will need that.

Those who keep themselves fit and healthy with exercise, weight control, cycling, &c. could reduce their premiums with no claim bonuses. Those who are obese, smoke, take drugs, cycle carelessly, are taken by ambulance to A & E at a weekend sozzled, would pay more. Why should others foot all the bill for their self-indulgence?

Those who want to choose their surgeon, their hospital, the date of their operation, or a private room could pay more. Those who don’t, don’t.

If everyone can’t have these options that is no good reason why no-one should have them.

Your health. You choose.

On the other hand, as now, when you need the best, for say heart surgery or cancer therapies, all insurance packages must offer the same top standard of care. Equality where it matters.

This requires a new five-way partnership between health providers, patients, their employers, Insurance companies and the State.

You would share responsibility for your own health with the State and it would pay you to keep healthy and ease the pressure on the NHS.

The NHS would no longer be a political football, with the Treasury measuring funding against competing demands and the exigencies of the times. And all the better for that.

Other countries on the Continent of Europe adopt something like this policy. You never hear about their crises, do you?

The future must not be the day before yesterday.

NEW THINKING FOR A NEW CENTURY

When is Anti-Zionism Anti-Semitism? When it is OTT. Jeremy Corbyn’s Banana Skin?

The UK is not anti-Semitic. Once maybe. Some maybe.

There is a record of anti-Semitism in the UK chronicled in Trials of the Diaspora – A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius running to 811 pages, but since the end of War – so many then seeing the aftermath of  the Holocaust with their own eyes, many soldiers seeing Belsen Concentration camp when it was liberated and many others including school children visiting Auschwitz, since the trial of Eichmann, and with TV reportage of State bestiality organised from Wannsee –   most Jews have not experienced anti-Semitism at all; the reverse in fact, they have been made to feel welcome. The virus absent.

European secularism has probably helped. No worry to atheists or agnostics whether it was Jews or Romans who killed Christ 2,000 years ago, whether he was a freedom fighter or “Son of God”. And no big deal whether God promised Israel to the Jews. Simply a concern for peace in a war-torn region.

No profound annoyance that the survival of Jews challenged their exclusive right of access to God in Christian Europe or to Allah in the Muslim world. Hating their parents underpinned centuries old prejudice and persecution, wishing Jews weren’t there at all.

Their rationality an antidote to prejudice. In simple terms, seeing why Jews, like everyone else, defend themselves as best they can, at lowest personal cost, when their existence is threatened. Survival in their DNA. Understanding that

Then in the 20th Century the Jews finally get their country back. And in 1948 and to this day Arab countries, seeing it, correctly from their own narrow point of view, as an existential threat to their centuries-old feudal theocracy, fight an on-going war to remove it, making the Jews a scapegoat for their own out-dated ways it threatened.

 This is why criticism of Israel goes way over the top with the virus of anti-Semitism infecting it. Name a country that doesn’t think of its own best interests.

While Sunnis and Shiites slog it out in a maelstrom of death and destruction, when poison gas is used, when beheading and stoning are current modes of public execution for apostasy and adultery, when homosexuality is seen as a crime and any criticism of Allah a blasphemy, and throat-slitting in the name of Allah totally legitimate, no public demonstrations against any of that barbarity, none, but only when more Palestinians than Israelis die in the latest skirmish, or when Israel builds a wall to keep out terrorists. There is no proportionality here. Only prejudice.

How many civilians and their children have Western countries bombed in wars to defend their existence? Remember 1,000 bomber raids in World War II. Remember Hiroshima.  I repeat:

There is no proportionality here either.

 There is no realisation that Israel does not want Tel Aviv and Haifa to look like the ruins of Aleppo and Mosul. Having taken 2,000 years to get back to Israel, no wish to be driven back to the diaspora. There is no realisation why there is a reluctance on the part of Israel to go to bed with Palestinians when they still keep a knife in their pyjamas.

 By the way if you support BDS <Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions> you wear the same striped pyjamas.

This is the message preached by 52-year-old Dr.Haltham al-Haddad, Salafist with a doctorate in Islamic Law: “Israel is one of the worst terrorist states in history…We should pay the price for victory from our blood…. Allah wants to see people who die as martyrs. Jerusalem belongs to all the world’s Muslims. We should focus on its liberation and forget any possibility of reconciliation with the brutal, racist, despotic Zionist occupation…. My solution for the Israelis is to leave Palestine and to go back to their own countries…. Palestine will never belong to them.” <The Times, 8 October, 2018>.

You are intelligent. Do you think Israel would want Dr. al-Haddad to be their next-door neighbour?

You should read Uprooted: How 3000 Years of Jewish Civilization in the Arab World Vanished Overnight by Lyn Julius. Israel has absorbed up to 850,000 Jews made unwelcome in Arab countries where for years NAZI racial, anti-Semitic ideology drip-fed into their culture. Those immigrants to Israel, for certain, have no wish to go back. Nor those whose families were murdered in the Holocaust. Tears of sadness. It was not enough.

Such a pity that Islam is not a harbinger of hope with Arab countries opting for an unambiguous peace not war during the last seventy years; with oil riches at their disposal they could have offered a good future to the Palestinians now penned up in Gaza. Muslims of the world deserve better.

It is of course so easy to think that if Israel was not there, peace would reign in the Middle East. And so crazily wrong too. So easy to dream up solutions from the comfort of your own armchair without visiting Yad Vashem, a necessary pre-requisite if you want Israelis to listen to anything you say. Instead recognise that Israel is a huge gift to the world.

 There is an answer. It may be difficult for secularists to see it. Make God Inclusive. And it is there in the 2002 Alexandria Declaration by the leaders of the world’s three great faiths Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Unpick 2,000 years of faith-based, internecine tribal rivalries.

In the name of God or Allah, Shalom Aleichem (שָׁלוֹם עֲלֵיכֶם)- As-salāmu ʿalaykum (و علیکم السلام.) Peace be with you. It is such a simple message.

You need an idea to beat a dogma not a gun.

Please copy to your friends and colleagues

War, Bloodshed and Anti-Semitism – Is God Exclusive or Inclusive?

The destroyed old Mosque of The Prophet Jirjis in central Mosul, Iraq, on July 27, 2014. (AP)

 

For 2,000 years God has been Exclusive and rival faiths have fuelled war, bloodshed and anti-Semitism. We must surely move on. Our world should no longer have to centre itself on the killing fields of Bible-lands. While it can still take its bearings from there, what goes on there should be no more than a Meridien line on the surface of the globe in the overall vastness of the Universe.

The Universe is Infinite. God, its Maker must also be infinite. God is One to the power of One; there must be an infinite number of ways to find God, each one precious to its owner, each one respectful of all the others, each one pointing to peace. In short, God is Inclusive.

 

Mutuality of Respect is the key

 

Whether you are a believer or not respect is a two-way street. It must be mutual to be real. Over the centuries religious zealots – and political zealots too – haven’t heeded this. Centuries of disrespect a big part of today’s problems. Slavery, Terror, the Gulag, ethnic cleansing, the Holocaust, pogroms, all forms of discrimination the result.

Their zealotry is akin to idolatry, the only difference being that they worship themselves.

In the words of Kahlil Gibran, their “passion unattended is a flame that burns to its own destruction.”

Meanwhile the Caudron in the Middle East is still ablaze

Aleppo, Mosul, Palmyra, chemical weapons, Arab tribe warring with Arab tribe. Gaza. Israelis, with a collective memory – don’t ignore the consequences – of 2,000 years of discrimination and persecution, culminating in pogroms in Russia and the Holocaust in Germany and in the vast enforced exodus of 850,000 from Arab lands since 1948 doing whatever they deem necessary to save it happening again, for the first time with the wherewithall to do that.

And, as ever, anti-semites, with the backing of their naive excusers, perverted, myopic and totally disproportionate in their fault-finding.

 

In 2002 leading clerics from all three faiths were united in their call for peace with an Inclusive God.

 

The Alexandria Declaration

“In the name of God who is Almighty, Merciful and Compassionate, we, who have gathered as religious leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish communities, pray for true peace in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and declare our commitment to ending the violence and bloodshed that denies the right of life and dignity.

According to our faith traditions, killing innocent in the name of God is a desecration of His Holy Name, and defames religion in the world. The violence in the Holy Land is an evil which must be opposed by all people of good faith.

We seek to live together as neighbours respecting the integrity of each other’s historical and religious inheritance. We call upon all to oppose incitement, hatred and misrepresentation of the other.”

 

But why is this not being echoed every day in churches, mosques and synagogues around the world?

 

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