Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category
According to the Daily Mail and its ilk it has. Everyone on both sides of the political fence are up in arms about it on the basis that criminals do not have rights. Everyone on both sides of the fence who hate Europe are up in arms about it on the basis that the EU is trouncing our own democracy.
Here’s my take on the issue and I don’t think the world has ended. It might surprise many but I think the decision is pretty fair.
Just been watching Watchdog and Fiona Phillips talking about the situation in NHS hospitals with regards TV and telephones at the bedside. Whilst I hate her husband, she has a point about the situation.
Patients trapped in a hospital bed and bored out of their mind are having to pay over the odds just for basic entertainment and communicating with their family and friends. In 2000 Labour in the wisdom decided that rather than the NHS arrange such services for patients the best thing would be to offer it to private companies. That way it would be the patients paying for it rather than the NHS. Plus the NHS can take a percentage of the profits. A very similar situation to the car parking at NHS hospitals – the patient pays for it.
Patients have to pay nearly £3/day for access to the TV and phone access is charged at rates sometimes higher than mobile phones. And the access to the TV is not useful either. Sometimes even just to watch a half hour programme you have to pay for the whole day. Then the quality of the TV can be quite variable with audio sync problems, channels not working, remotes not working, etc. Then when you contact the service provider, at premium rates, they acknowledge the problem but won’t fix it straight away. If you are in hospital for any length of time, the charge builds to extortionate amounts very quickly. Well over £100 just for stays of a week or two. And this is for free tv too, not just for premium channels like Sky.
Phone access is bad too. This has got worse from 2008 when patients could bring in mobile phones into the hospital. This was brought about because of the complaints about the high charges. Because the service providers do not make so much money from the phones, they’ve had to increase their charges. So patients without mobile phones are at a disadvantage. Not exactly what should have happened when mobile phones were allowed. And it’s not because patients can’t afford a phone. There are still occasions when ill-informed nurses stop such access, or when hospitals more concerned about the money they get from the service provider refuse mobile phones in the wards.
Basically Labour made a mistake in 2000 just as the internet was starting and all the digital channels were being created and mobile phones were becoming ten a penny. As is usual, the government set up long contracts with no break clauses. When times changed and there wasn’t much of a market for TV and phone services there was no way to bring the system to a stop. That’s because the “stakeholders”, and no the patients aren’t the stakeholders, had no reason to stop it. The NHS hospitals didn’t want to stop it because they made money from the service. The service providers didn’t want to stop it because they had invested so much money because they were promised the service in perpetuity so spent over the odds on the infrastructure.
Generally if you are in hospital for some time, you are better off buying a smartphone and using the various video on demand services and the internet.
And the real kick in the teeth? Prisoners get their TV for free. Admittedly the don’t get mobile phones for obvious reasons, but they are generally better off than patients in terms of entertainment facilities.
Violetta Aylward was an agency nurse who turned off a patient’s ventilator nearly killing him and leaving him brain damaged.
This is known to be true as the act was recorded by a video camera in the patient’s bedroom. The camera was installed because the patient, Jamie Merrett, was concerned about the quality of care that he was receiving from the agency, Ambition 24hours, that was supplying nurses for him. It is not known if this was because of previous care by Violetta Aylward or other nurses supplied by Ambition 24hours.
Only days after the camera was installed, Violetta Aylward turned off his ventilator and then when she realised that mistake she had done tried desperately to switch it back on. She tried for over 20 minutes before paramedics who were called to the house took over and managed to switch the machine back on. However though it was in time to save his life, it wasn’t in time to save his mind. Jamie is now brain damaged due to the actions of Violetta Aylward.
Nurse Violetta Aylward was suspended in Janurary 2009 when the incident happened. It is assumed that she is still suspended to this day (October 2010). Why she was not arrested on attempted murder charges is anyone’s guess. The evidence is on the video. The fact that paramedics managed to save Jamie’s life is beside the point. Violeta was the prime causes of the accident that led to Jamie being starved of oxygen for over 20 minutes. Were the police involved at any stage?
The family of Jamie Merrett still have not received a proper apology for the poor quality of care since the incident. They are now effectively forced to take legal action themselves since no one has admitted resposinbility or liability. The agency that employed her are not guilty of murder, but they are guilty of misadministration and lax procedural rules for not checking that the nurses they supplied had the requiste training. They aren’t a small fly by night agency either. They are a massive national agency listed in the top 250 recruitment agencies by International Recruitment and have been around since 1996.
The NHS Wiltshite Primary Care Trust has said “We have put in place a series of actions to ensure that such an event will not occur again either for this patient or others.” Why didn’t they do this when Jamie wrote to them before the camera was installed about the lack of care. Why does it take a tragedy for an organisation to change or update their procedures. It shouldn’t need this trigger. What it does show is that the organisation is not bothered about the care of it’s patients. All they are bothered about is following their procedures and if anything happens to say “I just followed the rules”. Just the same excuses brought forth by those involved in the “Baby P” scandal.
The Merritt family’s case is highlighted in a BBC Inside Out West & Inside Out South programme.
Bit of an old issue (2008) but I need to up my post count so I may as well comment on anything and everything as my blog byline says.
This is about Lillian Ladele who was a registrar in Islington and who refused to carry out a civil registration because it was against her religion/beliefs. She was subsequently sacked and then took the council to the employment tribunal and won on the basis that she was discriminated against.
Firstly, civil partnerships are not marriages. Civil partnerships are a legal creation to allow people to take advantage of tax benefits offered by the state. Marriages are a purely religious event which are recognised by the state. So to refuse to perform a legal act because of your religious beliefs shows you to be a bigoted and narrow minded person, especially when the legal act has no religious connotations.
Secondly, what about the beliefs of the gay people who want to have a civil partnership in Islington. They would be offended if they had to rearrange their ceremony if Ms Lillian Ladele refused to perform for them.
So which offence trumps the other. Do religious rights come first before sexual rights. Or do sexual rights come first.
Why don’t we just remove all such offending situations from the law. If you are offended then feel happy because it also means that you can say what you think even if offends someone else. If you felt that you could never say or do something because someone “might” be offended you would always be looking over your back and you would always err on the side of caution. Is that freedom? Nope.
The “!=” in the title means does not equal in computer speak.
A quicky stream of consciousness post here.
Homeopathy is the practise of using a diluted upon diluted upon diluted upon diluted chemical with the expectation that even though it has been diluted to the point of nothingness the original chemical has transferred its molecular properties to the water. The scientific principles behind it are pretty much non-existent. Well, not pretty much. None at all. Especially when you take into account placebo effects.
Therefore the people who think that homeopathy works must have some faith in the medicine that they are using.
Now faith is a belief that is not based on proof. Exactly what religion is. Therefore you can deduce that is a religion and should be treated as such. Shops such as Holland&Barrett are therefore their temples and should be excluded from business rates and other commercial considerations. They can also use laws against religious hatred to protect them from the ridicule that they get from scientific people.
But then this leads on to other thoughts.
Faith explains why Christians and Muslims and Jews (other religions do exist) believe in their god(s). They have a faith that is based on nothing much more than something which makes them feel good. Some religions use moral superiority as the feel good factor, others use peace and goodwill, whilst others use to explain away all the random acts that nature instills on the world. And because their faith is based on nothingness (just like homeopathy’s nothingness) there is no way you can argue with them to tell them that their belief is stupid and illogical. Nor can you tell them that their faith is wrong and some other faith is the one and true faith.
All that you can do is accept that they have these weird faiths. They should be protected from persecution since physical harm is not to be condoned in any form. Maybe they should be protected from ridicule too, but I don’t think so. If their belief in their faith is strong it will naturally resist all attempts of abuse. Therefore any religious person who demands legal protection by such forms like religious hatred laws is a person who is unsure of their faith. Such people should be helped by their group to better understand their faith. They should not force their religion on others who don’t belive in it. Because asking a person of another faith (or non-faith) to stop the ridicule is basically telling the other person that they have to recognise the faith as something tangible – when it isn’t – it’s based on nothingness. It also requires the other person to acknowledge that the faith of the first person which is pretty much forcing the religion on the other person.
Free speech allows people to speak their mind, which also means people can have weird beliefs. It does not allow people to force their beliefs on others (who might not have any faith or an opposing faith). They can argue and debate, but as part of this give and take, they have to accept that ridicule is part of the debating process.
Ridicule can take on many forms. It can be as simple as jokes. It can also be as complex as the destroying the faith’s principle articles of faith in various manners. So destroying pastilles of Rescue Remedy because you can prove that they don’t actually contain anything other than sugar is just as valid as destroying a book because you can prove that it doesn’t contain any facts. A person who believes in homeopathy shouldn’t care that their precious pills have been shown to contain nothing as that is what they believe in. A person who believes in a god shouldn’t care that a copy of their precious book has been shown to contain nothing of fact as that is what they believe in – non facts.
The world is such a complex place with all manners and forms of faiths being mixed up and forgotten about and created that it is impossible to allow faiths to have any form of protection. It’s not like the past where groups could keep to themselves because there weren’t any forms of easy transportation or communication. Not allowing demonstrations of non faith also means that it could be denying one religion their form of belief. When you have Christians believing that Jesus is the messiah and Jews believing that the messiah hasn’t arrived yet and Muslims believing that Jesus is just a normal person you can see that conflict with religious hatred laws will arise straight off the bat. A Muslim laughing and joking about Jesus not being special could be locked up for religious hatred. A Christian taking the piss out of a Muslim for thinking that Mohammed is special when it should be Jesus could be locked up for religious hatred. A scientist laughing and joking about the Jews belief in the Old Testament could be locked up for religious hatred. In return a scientist should expect to be made a laughing-stock by religious people for thinking that the universe created itself and is made up of strings.
This is what free speech means. The right to be made fun of, to be ridiculed.
So it what longer than a quicky post, but it was a stream of consciousness going from homeopathy to faith to religion to religious hatred to free speech.
What is marriage? Is is a legal form of partnership between two people where their property rights are legally recognised and in which they can take advantage of their tax situation? Or is it a religious ceremony undertaken by two people to show their commitment to each other in front of their peers?
In modern times the two have been mixed up and this is starting to cause friction as human rights are being encouraged to be expressed. Marriage was introduced as a legal concept to allow and man and his wife to share their property with each other and their family. It was also introduced so that the state could decide who were allowed to marry and who weren’t. Originally this was the concensus of the society at the time. Since religion was a key part of society at that time, marriage was defined by relgious concepts and so only a man and woman could marry and they had to be of certain ages. Some places even stipulated that the couple had to have the same skin colour. Some places even try and stop a married couple from having children. Initially there were no problems because the law coincided with society’s views.
As society changed the laws didn’t. So we now get to the situation where marriage laws are tied in with the Christian marriage even though there are many different faiths and concepts accepted by society. Christian marriage doesn’t allow homosexual partnerships but society has changed to accept it.
To understand how to change it we need to understand the purpose of the State and religion. The State’s role is to administer society’s laws. The key points understood by any society is the right to life, the concept of property ownership, the need of a society to defend itself from others, and that no one should harm others. These are the basic tenets under which laws should be created. No more no less. To be able to adminster the state needs some money and it does this through taxes.
The purpose of religion is to allow groups of people to be controlled by authority figures. This is a variation of the caveman principle of tribal leader. This is because the human being is naturally part of a group in which there needs to be a leader. The other purpose of religion is to allow people to understand their world around them in simple terms and to accept such things as unfortunate events as “acts of god”. The human brain is not very good at coming to terms with random events and uses religion as a form of understanding it. Finally religion allows groups of people to define the way they live where they can be with like minded people. Be it with black caps, white towels, shaven heads, long beards, or what ever. Religion needs some money to create the temples and it collects them in the form of taxes and voluntary donations.
Marriage as a legal concept should not be any more than recognising that the couple in the marriage have made a contract to share their property. So any problems arising from breaking these contracts, such as inheritence and the sharing of tax, can be sorted out through a legal system. Generally a country needs a single legal system to ensure that everyone is fairly treated, but that doesn’t presuppose the existence of other legal systems which can be used if both sides of the argument freely care to use it.
Marriage as a religious concept is the understanding that (generally) a man and woman have made a commitment to each other for the rest of their lives. As part of this the relgious group allow the couple to have sex and to procreate to create more adherents to their religion.
Therefore if a couple are not part of a religious group that forbids a particular practise, then the state should not get involved in the marriage. It should allow any form of partnership and ensure that the property laws are upheld. It could mean that legal marriages between siblings are allowed as they show that they wish to make a contract in which their property (usually the home they live in) will be shared. It also means that homosexuals can legally marry to show that they wish to make a contract to share their property.
In both cases, if there are any children in the union (biological, adopted, guardianships, relatives, etc.) their rights are upheld by the state just like any other person. They are also allowed to take advantage of any property rights.
In order for this split in different marriages to take place the best course of action would be for the State to remove itself from the control of marriage. In effect marriage would be privatised and allowed to be administered by which ever group the couple belong to, be that religious or other.
As a liberatarian I’m all for the legalisation of drugs.
Its been shown time and time again that the war against drugs hasn’t worked. It costs a lot in police time in catching the drug addicts and dealer. It costs a lot to keep the drug addicts and dealers in prison. It costs a lot in insurance premiums to cover the burgalries and other crimes commited by the drug addicts desperate to feed their habit. It costs a lot for the families of the drugs addicts who have to cope with their family member’s habit.
The best thing would be to legalise recreational drugs. Recreational drugs could then be taxes like alcohol and tabacco. The quality of drugs could then be ensured just like alcohol has to have it’s strength displayed on the label. The age of the person buying it could also be checked. It could even be argued that users would have to register first and this would need a ID card type system. This would require an army of bureaucrats to manage which the state would love as they like to increase red tape. There would also be measures to ensure people didn’t go too far with their use of drugs. Just like there is with alcoholics. This is because drugs effect people in different ways. Some can take or leave it others go into a desperate cycle of despair. Just like alcohol makes some people talkative, others angry, others sleepy.
Now with all these benefits to having drugs legalised comes the question. How would it be legalised. The problem is the source of drugs. This is through criminals. I don’t mean criminals because they are drug dealers. I mean criminals who commit loads of other crimes and who use drugs as means to launder money, to make money to further their criminal careers, etc. Legalising it would effectively make these criminals legal and the public wouldn’t buy this one bit.
So then the legalisation of drugs would require a lead time to allow pharmaceutical companies to start making the drugs. And to stock pile them too. And there would have to be measures to ensure that no criminals got involved at this stage.
Then there is the issue of selling them. The public would not be keen on them being sold like cigarattes. Especially with cigarattes now being worse than crack cocaine in terms of the stigma associated with them. Look at all the people who are forced to stand outside to enjoy a legal drug. So no drugs sold through Tescos. Nor the corner shop. Because of the association with the criminal underworld places that sold drugs would need a lot of security. They would also not be in quiet residental streets. So it looks like such places will be in industrial areas or run down areas where the the local people aren’t so bothered about the clientel that visit the shops. Eventually they might be drugs shops in normal areas, but this is when the law is first changed and the public not so keen on the idea.
I realise that Portugal has legalised them. But it has only legalised the possesion of drugs. Rather than being sent to prison, drug users in possession of small amounts caught by the police (see they can still be arrested) go before a panel and encouraged to take therapy. It hasn’t solved the problem of drugs being sold by the criminal underworld. Nor have they fully legalised them and started to tax drugs. What they have done is ensure that needles aren’t shared and that drugs addicts don’t go underground. Basically instead of spending money on enforcement they are spending it on treatment instead.