Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Need A Pension? The Doctor Will See You Now

It may be difficult for new readers of this blog to imagine, but I write about many different lifestyle issues apart from tobacco - in a tabloid style, so I'm told - on these pages. The problem in the past few weeks is that we have seen so much arrant nonsense from anti-smokers that it's been almost impossible to drag myself away and comment on anything else.

Rather odd, really, as they had been deadly quiet for months before that. Maybe it's the link with July and their annual defence of the 2007 ban, or perhaps they're getting a bit worried, I dunno.

Whichever it is, this article in the Guardian reaches the very pinnacle of pompous tobacco control naïveté.

Call for councils to remove £1bn in pension funds from tobacco firms

NHS chief wants local authorities to disinvest from 'destructive industry'

"I am shocked by the size and extent of south-west local government pension investments in the tobacco industry and I am sure many of those contributing to the funds, as well as those receiving local government pensions, will be as well", said Dr Gabriel Scally, the NHS regional director of public health for the south-west.

"If it were my pension contributions being invested in an industry whose only product line killed people in the numbers that die from tobacco, I would be absolutely horrified. As a doctor I think it would be completely unethical to have any part in it", Scally added.
As a doctor, Scally, I think it's rather fucking unethical of you to think that you should have any say in financial matters whatsoever.

You're a doctor, not a financial adviser. I expect you to be very good at fixing people when they are broken. If, however, I'm looking to invest some cash for my old age, you're the very last person I'd consider consulting ... because you're a doctor. In fact, having read your words above, I don't even believe I'd be comfortable seeking your medical advice either, po-faced loon that you are.

That's the way of the world, you see, Scally? You chose a life in a white coat, pension fund managers however, are trained in exploiting the best financial markets for the benefit of their investors. Note that they don't pontificate on how best you should do your job, so what in heaven's name qualifies you to dictate how they should do theirs?

Oh sorry, I forgot to end that last sentence with 'you arrogant bastard'.

Here's a little lesson for you in how pension fund managers operate. They invest in companies because they are profitable and that is all they should be considering. Just yesterday we see one of those you - in your financial wisdom - decide is a bad investment doing rather well, for example.

People seeking a decent pension want as good a return on their investment as possible, it's not for medicos to decide their conscience for them. In fact, I'm sure regulatory bodies would have a stern word or two for any investment fund which wasn't doing their damnedest to maximise returns for their investors.

Scally - and Vivienne 'denormalise alcohol' Nathanson who is also mentioned in the piece - are also on very thin ice if urging pension investors to object to how their money is spent. Because at least those investing have some semblance of choice.

Scally and Nathanson, on the other hand, are paid out of enforced taxation to spout this crap, and if we refuse to pay because we really object to our money being given to their ilk - which I do, vehemently - we would be imprisoned.

So, tell you what. I'll take your moral objections as to how voluntary contributions are invested seriously, the day you tell ASH (for starters) to give the hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money - taken by force - back to the exchequor. Till then, shut the fuck up.

As for the Guardianista mentality exhibited in the comments, the calls for pensions to shed stocks in News International, armaments, big tobacco and others (BP would right piss them off too, I suspect) are hilarious. How do they think pension payments are going to be met without hugely profitable industries like these in fund portfolios? After all, the Guardian and their readers squeal like stuck pigs when council workers are asked to pay more in.

Sorry to burst that bubble, but pine nuts, air purifiers and cranberry juice shares just won't cut the pension mustard.


Anonymous said...

"If it were my pension contributions being invested in an industry whose only product line killed people in the numbers that die from tobacco, I would be absolutely horrified. As a doctor I think it would be completely unethical to have any part in it", Scally added.

Following on from this then, let's disinvest in cars and motorbikes as their "only" product lines kill and maim people in large numbers too. This argument takes us down yet another slippery slope.

John Gray.

Eddie D said...

THE leader of a Scottish council yesterday failed in an attempt to withdraw its £27 million investment in tobacco companies.
Michael Foxley, who is also a GP, argued that the pension fund investment went against Highland Council policies to improve health. He said the cash should be put into equally profitable, but more ethical interests.

However, this motion was ruled incompetent by Michelle Morris, the authority's assistant chief executive, on the basis of legal advice.

It stated that the council was not entitled to exclude investments on ethical grounds and doing so could leave it open to legal challenge.


Anonymous said...

All teaching of doctors now must concentrate purely on the evils of smoking. No matter what ails you if you do or have smoked that is the problem.
I was reading about some poor sod the other day who's granny had gone to hospital with cancer. She was grilled about smoking but when she swore that she have never smoked in 90 odd years she was virtually called a liar.
For the record two friends of mine have died early from cancer. Neither smoked and one didn't even drink.

Magnetic said...

DP, thus spake Scally-wag, the froth-mouthed Inquisitor of the Eugenics Pontificatorum. The self-installed medical elite has determined that it should be in charge of all of society’s functions. These light-allergic, reason-aversive reprobates have become “god” and have discerned that all connections to the devil (i.e., Big Tobacco) must be severed, including pension funds.

What has happened to the medical establishment? What has happened to medicos that once had some insight into the foibles of the human condition, themselves included? What happened to medicos that saw themselves as helping - medically, to the best of their ability, their fellow travelers along life’s multi-dimensional journey? Some must still be there, albeit fairly silent. The vocal lot has become pompous, haughty, sanctimonious, dictatorial gits with the bedside manner and social graces of an oaf (apologies to oafs). They are suffering a “god complex” that is usually manifested in the eugenics mentality. They have delusions of grandeur, delusions of infallibility, delusions of omniscience, delusions of benevolence, and are megalomaniacal. The medicos have become a dangerous lot – again – barging their way into areas that they obviously have no competence. They now see their [social engineering] “mission” as Saving® (i.e., coercion) the moronic multitudes from their “deleterious” lifestyles.

And it’s not as if there aren’t serious medical problems within the medical establishment that medical administrators could better spend their time. Iatrogenesis is rife and has been so for decades. Adverse drug reactions, medical errors, substandard treatment of the bed-ridden kill and maim far, far more per annum than the statistical “tobacco toll”. In medical terms, iatrogenesis should be a profound, central concern. Yet this catastrophe is swept under the bed-pan (extra large), as it were; much of the damage is not owned up to if it can be avoided. Administrative protocols within the medical establishment are not particularly health enhancing. Their primary motivation is avoiding lawsuits. The Hippocratic Oath has also been brutalized and then run over multiple times by a late-model Mercedes. It is the [intentional] vanquishing of, particularly, the maxim “first do no harm” that allows the establishment to venture into destructive social engineering, claiming that a level of harm (usually poorly understood) is acceptable in the interests of the “greater [eugenics-defined] good”. There was a similar assault on the Hippocratic Oath in pre-Nazi Germany.

This is just the medical catastrophe in motion; there is contortion galore in the primary function of the medical establishment. If we then factor-in the considerable damage done by deranged social engineering ventures, e.g., propaganda/denormalization and fear/hate-mongering, the medical establishment is currently in a sinister phase. The situation is extraordinarily perverse. And the Eugenics Inquisition can get far nastier.

Magnetic said...

Contemporary antismoking (and anti-alcohol, dietary prescriptions/proscriptions, and physical exercise) is a eugenics assault, i.e., it represents the little-known behavioral dimension of eugenics.

Contemporary antismoking was begun (Godber/WHO Blueprint) and continued by the standard eugenics [physicalist] personnel: physicians, biologists, statisticians, behaviorists. It represents a typical obsession of eugenics. It involves the [deranged] eugenics belief of the “primacy” of physicalism and aspirations to societal rule. It involves standard eugenics methodology – propaganda/denormalization and fear/hate-mongering.

May I direct readers to the comments section of the following link where there are a number of comments (Magnetic) that highlight the eugenics continuity from late-1800s USA to the present.


Magnetic said...

DP, congratulations (belated) on your efforts (and everyone involved) last weekend. It is no small matter.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that pension fund trustees are under a legal, as well as ethical duty, to obtain the highest possible returns on their investments. They could be sued and/or prosecuted for malpractice if they allowed any other strategy, to the detriment of the fund.

It is rather worrying that this doctor has so little regard for the legal responsibilities of others. It belies a rather cavalier attitude to ethics, from one who ought to be acutely aware of such issues.

Anonymous said...

@anon 18.22 - I believe you're right..... but wouldn't you just love to see The Righteous collectively set up their own exclusive pension fund, invested in Dung Fuel and Immortality R Us and watch their pensions go down the pan ;)