Beliefnet
L'Ordre

Pour savoir qui règne sur vous, tout simplement savoir qui vous n’êtes pas autorisé à critiquer.

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.

Voltaire


One issue I would like to take the time to talk about more is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal. I already mentioned the TTIP in an earlier post in which I affirmed that I signed a 38 Degrees petition against the negotiations, but I would like to bring this subject up again.

Given the concerns about the privatisation of the NHS that have been raised by activists, I, like many other members of the public, believe the deal is far too important to be based on closed-doors decisions. Government secrecy or stifling of debate are inimical to democracy. Wherever a government has closed the doors, there is something not in the public interest.

My attention was drawn to this issue again by the outrageous remarks made by MPs towards 38 Degrees activists. MPs denounced the public itself as “arrogant” simply for distrusting the secret “expertise” that has been “bought in” by the government. The recording can be listened via my embedded tweet above, and I encourage all the support that can be mustered to help 38 Degrees expose and stop the TTIP before it creates more opportunities for private companies to inflict public harm. This issue isn’t even necessarily about the details in the TTIP deal, which I have not actually studied for myself. It’s about MPs who have lost the trust of the public, shouting their critics down in the name of secret privileges and “expertise” about the TTIP that haven’t been disclosed to the public. This sounds rather familiar to me – it’s the same “intelligence” and “secret evidence” fallacy that is used to justify criminal wars, repression, mass surveillance and violations of civil rights. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that this fallacy of secrecy is being recycled to call the public “arrogant” when we try to influence the decisions most affecting our very safety and security. Rather than presenting an argument to reassure the public, lawmakers and their apologists simply call the public “arrogant” or “naiive” and say we lack enough access to their secret information to criticise them. The fact these hooligans are making their decisions based on “secrets” is exactly why their decisions have no legitimacy. No-one should ever be impressed by secret “intelligence” or high-brow economic “expertise” on an issue that is going to hit society hard. Where the public is at risk, the public should be consulted before all other actors and its interests and concerns (even if they are unfounded) must be sacrosanct. The concerned public cannot be called “arrogant”; only the politicians can.

The outsourcing of work of great social responsibility, traditionally the domain of the state, to private entities, is a source of great public harm. Whether it is the outsourcing of what should be Jobcentre work to so-called work program providers, or the privatisation of the NHS , the outsourcing of any job of social significance to private entities – in whole or in part – harms vulnerable people. Giving the responsibility for helping vulnerable people to vulturous and evil profit-driven corporations drives people to despair, even suicide. A recent disallowance of incapacity benefit to a poor disabled woman by a private company tasked with assessing her case resulted in one such suicide, and it is my fear that more will come. Privatising any part of the NHS or even outsourcing a single NHS job will only worsen the potential for that kind of abuse and inevitable death. Such privatisation, like defunding the public services tasked with protecting vulnerable people, is murder.

Letting the NHS privatise, even to the extent that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has outsourced certain tasks, would be a disaster. Private entities battle not for welfare but for profit only, and cannot be expected to adhere to the same ethics as public-owned entities. While civil servants are required to be nonpartisan and adhere to a strict code of ethics and respect for confidentiality, private employees are not civil servants, and do not operate under the kind of ethics expected of civil servants. Private employees can be blatantly politically partisan, unfeeling for the public, intrusive and dismissive of privacy, arrogant, and selfish, and they can get away with it. This is why so much abuse happens when any task about helping the public is outsourced to a private firm. All have no reason to protect the public, and every reason to protect themselves and take advantage of members of the public like parasites. These companies know who they are, without me naming them. They will even neglect or murder vulnerable people, to fulfill their contracts and get their money off the government.

I regret the lack of time to write a more thorough or analytical post here. However, I will soon have a larger analysis on some major international subject, such as the Ferguson unrest in the United States, on my column at Press TV, at the start of December.

I am also working on a new fiction story collection. It will belong to the Search Beyond series. Try searching those words at Amazon, for all the science-fiction titles belonging to the series.


By Harry J. Bentham HJB Signature and stamp

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus