30 Jun 2009

Sociopolitical Analysis

Listening to The Reith Lectures on Radio 4 at the moment, and quite impressed by Prof Michael Sandel's lateral application of phillosophy to sociopolitical matters.

He mentions re USA something I think is pertinent to democracy here. In Iraq there are more out contracted millitia and companies than there are American Troops. He states that the USA never had a debate over whether they should out-contract public services.

This is an area in UK social policy I have had much issue with in recent years. While I do not know if we out contract the army, certainly there is evidence to suggest that a government that runs it's self as a market business, as Thatcher and Blair did, has led to a severe decline in public services due to external agencies cutting costs to make the cheapest bid.

Examples include;

The Education System. In Gloucestershire the schools are run by external companies leading to a rise in NEETs and reduction in acheived qualifications.

The Care Industry. Anyone who has caught recent BBC programmes on carers will be aware of the abysmal services to those with care needs, from elderly disabled being left alone for 48 hours to undertrained and immature staff.

Public Transport; it really goes without saying that our public transport in this country is atrocious.

At what point did the British Public agree to allow cheap and shoddy services to replace the services provided by elected representatives? And how are we going to change it?

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