Friday, 9 April 2010

The Dangers of Centralised Power - Part 1

I was reminded of the great Swine Flu non-pandemic of 2009 and the hundreds of thousands of deaths that didn't ensue, despite the World Health Organisation's prognostications.

And an observation in the comments stirred something in my brain:

Well, at least someone did well out of it – the company who got the multi-million pound contract from the Government to produce the vaccine.

Ironically, this comment was made by Letters From A Tory, who no doubt will be doing his very best to make sure that the Tories get to decide which contracts get signed with the government for the next five years and is doubtlessly confident that his tribe is populated by noble, faultless people who will make the right decision every time.

But back in the real world, the reality of it is this: people make bad decisions all the time. I've been divorced twice. I've made loads of terrible decisions and in almost all the cases, I can hand on heart say that my motivation was good. In some cases, even noble.

The good thing about my bad decisions is that they may have affected people, but at the very worst (and it was probably my very worst decision ever) it affected a few dozen people.

Nobody died, or was even hurt. At worst, they were angry, inconvenienced and discomforted. So with the "power" that I had, the worst decision that I took affected less than 40 people and did them no material harm.

Let's look at what happens when you centralise power, though. A while ago, a number of councils decided to invest our money in Icelandic saving schemes. In doing what seemed like a very good idea at the time, they fucked up royally and threw away billions of our money. Services had to be cut, taxpayers had to be squeezed even harder, thousands of old, poor and disabled people who depend on council largesse certainly suffered as a consequence.

The faceless bureaucrats who made the decision are still there, still making more nobly-motivated bad decisions.

Now look further up the scale. The British government signed a contract with no "get-out" clause to buy tons of vaccine off the back of this scare. I heard something like a billion Pound Sterling was involved. I've also read scare stories about the side effects of the vaccine. It may not be statistically significant, but if just one person died because of that bad decision, that's a terrible cost. And if that was a billion Pounds of our money that was cynically thrown away, think about how many Inclusive Diversity Outreach Co-ordinators schoolz-'n'-hospitalz it could have funded. And of course, the person making that decision is still doing that job, making more bad decisions for the greater good.

So, a decision which directly cost you a night's beers or a tank of fuel could also have killed someone. Which seems like a better deal, a night out or a corpse? It's not a difficult choice is it?

The faceless, unaccountable bureaucrat who made that bad decision was probably bounced into it by the panic created by another unaccountable quango and the no "get-out" clause was probably in exchange for a better price. So, the decision was made for perfectly valid, noble reasons, but it was an incredibly bad decision.

Now look further up the scale: we have the United Nations and the European Union, both of which are accruing decision-making power to themselves. Now imagine the potential impact of and EU-wide or UN-wide bad decision. Look at the EU and their shit "low-carbon" lights, packed with poisonous mercury, inconveniencing half-a-billion people. Look at the swine flu thing (WHO is part of the UN), where millions of people around the world got ripped off via their governments and probably dozens or hundreds of people died taking the vaccines.

The greater the centralisation of power, the more people suffer from each bad decision.


Dippyness. said...

Spot on. Gov., was warned not too stock up on THE most expensive vaccine. As for Tamiflu, paracetamol was shown to be equally effective in all but the some of the most serious cases. Even those reacted well with a variety of other cheaper antibiotics.
It was panic & great marketing from the drugs company.

EU? I dread their powers.

Mitch said...

There was talk about making people take this damn vaccine by law probably because no sane person wanted it.
Could you imagine the scene of armed police/soldiers injecting people at the point of a gun.No government would survive such scenes but they talked about it anyway.

Kingbingo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kingbingo said...

Yes, you are on this one absolutely correct.

But the politicians have had it drummed into them by the media that the public are enraged by the 'postcode lottery'. All politicians are scared of the terrible 'pl' not confined to one party.

Hannan and Carswell have an answer though in their The Plan. I'm pleased to see that fairly large chunks of that book have been lifted in official Tory policy. I just hope the rest of it will be too in a couple of Tory terms.

Steve Antony Williams said...

Ok some people are genuinely selfish 100% of the time, or even evil. However, people do make mistakes and at the time they thought they were doing the right thing. Maybe it was the right thing ? Let's face it, what you do might not be pleasant or desirable but it's the lesser evil .... Divorced twice is not great but it might have been absolutely necessary under the circumstances and the only viable alternative.

People generally do what they think is the right thing to do. Hindsight unfortunately is a "better" science than "prediction".

As for the swine flu vaccine, I smell a backhander.

John R said...

Obo, good article.

Apart from the centralisation and gradual migration of powers to higher and higher levels (eg council to governemtn to EU to UN) the other thing that really gets to me is the loss of democratic control that happens at the same time.

At the highest level, no-one elects the UN or EU. We can't choose our representatives or get rid of them when they turn out to be complete arseholes.

When you consider safe seats and low voter turnout even the national government is only really elected by a few of us, similarly the local council...but at least we have the opportunity.

These two things together, centralisation and unnacountability, reduce common folk to irrelevance.

And they wonder we hate and despise them all?

Shug Niggurath said...

Great pair with your earlier 'Death by a thousand cunts'.

Enjoyed these. Cheers.

Sperm Lewis said...

David Icke is on the money with this one.

His page got cachéd for some reason, but here it is.

I don't suggest you read it all (it is rather long and perhaps a little deranged) but his claim is that the problem is not swine flu - it's the vaccine!!! Meat of it is:

"I mention this because, as readers of my books will know, a CIA scientist told me in 1997 that microchips developed in the secret government-military research projects were even then small enough to be injected by hypodermic needles in vaccination programmes. With nanotechnology, no one would know."

Chalcedon said...

Bastards wouldn't give me the flu vaccine I wanted. It was only for those with allergies to egg protein. But it was the best of the 3 vaccines the NHS bought. So I said "bollocks" I'll just be ill for 10 days. Never happened of course!