It’s only when some group is trying to force its shit on everyone else that the twin charade of “engagement” and “consultation” is invoked. Seriously, whenever you hear that you’re about to be consulted or engaged with, abandon all hope, because it means some decision about you has been made without you and you’re now about to be told what it is.Quite.
This came immediately to mind on reading BUPA's most recent 'International Healthcare Study'. From page 20.
• The majority of respondents in seven of the 12 surveyed countries say that it is the responsibility of each individual to ensure that they keep well. However, in five countries, either a majority or sizeable minorities say that the government or the state should take most responsibility.Now, if you were to suggest to our politicians that they should emulate the policies of China, Brazil or Saudi Arabia towards their citizens, they'd probably laugh in your face. Maybe even give you a slap round the chops for being so stupid, or recommend that you talk to a shrink.
• The view that the government or state should take most responsibility for keeping people well is most strongly held in China (56%), followed by Brazil (52%), Hong Kong (44%), Thailand (43%) and Saudi Arabia (38%).
• Individuals’ responsibility for their own health is rated lowest in Brazil (40%) and China (40%), followed by Saudi Arabia (42%), Hong Kong (48%) and Thailand (49%).
• In the UK, the overwhelming majority (88%) say that individuals should take most responsibility. Respondents in Mexico (83%), the US (82%), New Zealand (78%), Spain (77%) Australia (76%) and India (73%) rate this almost as highly.
Yet, here we are with a vast majority of our country heavily opposed to the idea that government should dictate our choices for us - in common with other developed western democracies also mentioned - being hectored by politicians who are aspiring for the same obedience enjoyed by some of the most vile administrations in the known world.
Now, try to find some ideological reason to shoot the messenger if you like, but BUPA are in the health business and as much signed up to consensus attitudes on health choices as the Department of Health. The difference is that their business relies on listening to their customers, whereby government would prefer it if we kept our traps shut and didn't make too many waves.
88%! That's truly overwhelming, and not in the wishy-washy, '51% sort of think they might agree if asked questions couched in a way which suits the publicy-funded bodies who draft the questions' kind of way.
So here we have a situation whereby Westminster have decided that they'd like to run our lives for us, and claim popular support despite the fact that we'd - almost to a man/woman - prefer it if they just provided education and then left us alone.
Oh, they'll consult us first, naturally. But we know that's the equivalent of being told your kid really will take his/her plate out next time, honest. In other words, bollocks.
Decisions are made in SW1 and you're just an annoying irritance to be manipulated before they do what they want anyway. The 88% of us who wish they would just go hang themselves are little more than an irrelevance.
For politicians, that Chinese compliance rate is so to die for.