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Showing posts from June, 2010

That disused off licence in the parade? I'm turning it into a hospital.

One of things I’ve always observed about evangelists for the free market is that few of them like to take their case to its logical conclusion. If they did, they would see their arguments quickly collapse under the weight of their own incoherence. Think of a robot in a cheap sci-fi movie overwhelmed with conflicting data and starting to smoke.

Let’s take the Con-Dem plans announced last week for the creation of ‘free schools’, for instance. The principle of the scheme – modelled on similar ideas in the USA and Scandinavia – is to allow pretty much anyone to set up an educational establishment. Ideologically, the premise is that the state should no longer have a monopoly on schooling or curriculum and that unpopular schools should be allowed to go to the wall.

I’m not going to get into the technicalities of whether all this can be made to work on the ground, but I do have a question. If anyone can run a school, why can’t they run a hospital?

Before you laugh and tell me that hospit…

They won't feel our pain. Not for a while, anyway...

When David Cameron said in his set-piece speech yesterday that everyone is going to share the pain, he was talking through his old Etonian top hat. Some people will hardly notice the impact of the proposed cuts, whereas others will potentially have their lives turned upside down.

As the Prime Minister spoke, another story was hitting the 'weird' and 'offbeat' sections of the leading national newspapers. Three rundown garages in the celebrity enclave of Primrose Hill, north London, are being offered for sale at the staggering price of £1.25m. It's amazing what people will pay to buy a scrap of land next door to Gwyneth Paltrow and Jamie Oliver, isn't it? Having spent a couple of years on the Hill myself during the mid-90s (in a poorly converted flat on Ainger Road with a permanently broken boiler), I can vouch for the area's salubrious character. I really did sit in a beautiful laundrette with David Miliband and pop across the road to a cafĂ© where Alan Benne…