Britain has been celebrating the 70th birthday of the National Health Service (NHS) with services in Westminster Abbey, a specially commissioned symphony, eulogies from government ministers, and endless hagiographies on the BBC.
All that was missing was a May-Day-style parade down the Mall featuring T72s, Katyusha rockets, missile launchers, red flags, and Owen Jones leading the goose-stepping marchers of the Red Army Choir.
This isn’t about health and it never was about health. This is about left-wing triumphalism.
If the NHS was really about making people better it would never have been set up the way it was and would certainly have been dismantled many years ago. No, the NHS is just a life support machine for preserving the long discredited Soviet-era ideology of state control, enforced egalitarianism, communal misery.
The sooner that life support machine is turned off, the sooner the rest of us stand a chance of making a swift recovery from this 70-year-old horror show.
Sure there are many other good reasons why the NHS must die: that it kills thousands of its patients, leaves many thousands more in abject squalor and misery, wastes stupendous quantities of money, breeds inefficiency, covers up negligence and incompetence, and has some of the worst outcomes for serious health conditions anywhere in the civilised world.
‘Fascism’ is just a ‘smear’ used by the media to discredit ‘populism’, Steve Bannon has said in a wide-ranging interview in the Spectator.
Bannon – former senior advisor to President Trump and former Executive Chairman of Breitbart News – was talking to interviewer Nick Farrell, who asked him what he thought of claims that “populism is the new fascism.”
‘This is all theoretical bullshit. I don’t know. Populism, fascism — who cares? It’s a media smear of the populist movement.’
Donald Trump, I suggest, can’t be a fascist, as he does not want to replace democracy with dictatorship, nor is he left-wing, as was fascism.
‘The bigger threat we have got than socialism is state-controlled capitalism, which is where we’re headed, where we have big government and a handful of big companies. That’s what you’re seeing in technology right now with these massive companies. It’s the biggest danger we have.
Interviewer and interviewee were brought together by a shared interest in Mussolini. Neither shares his politics but they both find the Italian dictator “fascinating.”
Mussolini was perhaps the reason Bannon granted me an interview. It turns out he likes a book I wrote about the dictator years ago.
‘How many guys have you interviewed who have read your biography?’ he asked. ‘Am I the first?’
Had he really read it? ‘I have, definitely … I haven’t read all the old biographies but it’s the only modern one that treated Mussolini as … one of the most important figures of the 20th century. You put the juice back in Mussolini. He was clearly loved by women. He was a guy’s guy. He has all that virility. He also had amazing fashion sense, right, that whole thing with the uniforms. I’m fascinated by Mussolini.’
Bannon was speaking to Farrell on his European tour, where he has been speaking at a series of sell-out events and reporting on the recent Italian elections which Bannon described as “the most important thing happening politically in the world right now”.
So says Bill Gates in a dogmatic but somewhat confused interview with The Atlanticin which he simultaneously pours scorn on green tech solutions but insists that more of them are needed – on a scale bigger than the Manhattan Project – if we are to deal successfully with a problem whose nature he admits may well have been exaggerated by environmentalists.
Confused? You should be:
Here are some of things we learn about the mysteries of Gates’s mind.
Gates has no patience for climate change deniers – Republican politicians in particular – but is far too grand to explain why they’re wrong.
He didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it. “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.”
Gates made his fortune in what used to be one of the least regulated sectors of the US economy. But still he has little faith in free markets as a driving force for innovation.
“Yes, the government will be somewhat inept,” he said brusquely, swatting aside one objection as a trivial statement of the obvious. “But the private sector is in general inept. How many companies do venture capitalists invest in that go poorly? By far most of them.”
He thinks the forthcoming UN climate talks in Paris are largely a waste of space because they’re just not going to be radical enough.