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Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google

Dominic Re:Idea (481 comments)

Actually the NHS is one of the most efficient healthcare systems in the world - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10375877

Or at least it was, before this current Tory government started to destroy it and sell it all to their friends in the private healthcare sector. The more private sector involvement, the less efficient it is. That has always been and still is the case.

about a year ago
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Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

Dominic Re: A sad day (539 comments)

1. the amount you was entitled to buy was affordable, imagine 2.000 shares at less than one pound original outlay [the fully paid price was in the region of three pounds];

Spare money to buy shares (at *any* price) might be affordable for *you* - this does not mean it's affordable for most of the population, especially if you're talking about a meaningful investment. In any case, what does it actually mean to 'buy' shares in something you already owned?

2. if you mean "knock down prices" that the shares went down after the initial public offering, take care to correct the error. since many people in the general public and customer offer who were entitled to priority distribution bought the shares, the financial investors (me) got much less than they asked for. and the yield on the partly paid was in the region of 9%;

No, I mean the utilities being sold-off were massively undervalued. What would it cost to build a nationwide telephone network? A lot less than was charged for BT. This was true of all of the privatisations. The taxpayers have paid a lot more to build-up those industries than the state received when they were privatised.

"non profit" does not mean free, if I pad the water company with eight layers of management made out of political cronies, the end price of water will skyrocket.

This is the mantra of the free-marketers, that the private sector is somehow more efficient. And yet in reality we've seen costs go up in almost every privatised utility or service (water, trains, energy, health), and we find ourselves in bizarre situations like where taxpayers put more into the trains now, under a privatised system, than they did under nationalised BR, even though we've got the highest-ever ticket prices.

The free market is not some magic bullet. It works where there is actual competition and fails in other areas. Look at what's happening to the NHS - we're going from what is recognised as the most efficient healthcare system in the world to one 'opened-up to competition', a process that requires three more layers of beureacratic organisations and thousands more managers throughout the NHS dealing with contracts, bids, tenders and rubbish like that. None of it serves to help people actually using the NHS, but it does help Tory funders in private healthcare companies.

For a great example of what the 'privatise everything' train of thought leads to, look at energy. We sold-off everything, including all of the institutional technical knowledge. Now we want to build nuclear we basically have to pay whatever price a French government-run company demands, which would certainly be more than if we just admitted our free-market ideology was flawed and got the state to build it for the benefit of the people, rather than some corporation. How is this sensible?

about a year and a half ago
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Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

Dominic Re: A sad day (539 comments)

Privatising the water boards might have been a "fantastically good deal" if you had lots of money to invest in the shares, before immediately selling them. Lots of people did this of course, as they did with gas, rail and all of the other things built with the people's money and then sold for knock-down prices to foreign coroporations.

However, even the most ardent capitalist could never argue that privatising water was rational. What meaning is there to a market with no competition? If I want to have water piped to my house (and sewerage taken away) I *have* to pay Wessex Water, a Malaysian company, to do it. There's no choice. Yes, what they can charge is limited by some formula, but who cares? Nothing they do has any bearing on who I buy water from.

Before privatisation water supply in the UK was provided on a non-profit basis by democratically-elected representatives. Now it's done by companies granted a monopoly, millions flow out of the UK as a result. Wessex Water made over 72 million pounds profit after tax in 2012, and probably close to that since. And has this resulted in lower prices for consumers due to the oh-so-efficient private sector? No. In fact, prices have been rising faster than inflation since privatisation.

Hurrah for the free market and neoliberal ideology!

about a year and a half ago
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Stay Home When You're Sick!

Dominic Re:Come to work or else (670 comments)

Man, the US sounds like a nightmare. I don't know why 'socialism' is such a dirty word there - your lives would be immeasurably improved if you adopted even a tiny bit of it.

25 days holiday is standard here in the UK, and you don't 'use those up' if you get sick. The very idea of a total allowable number of sick days is bizarre, frankly.

about 2 years ago
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RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu

Dominic Re:Stallman bitches, film at eleven (597 comments)

It must be noted that not all peadophiles are adults.

Also, what might be considered peadophilia in overly socially conservative countries such as the US might be perfectly legal in other countries. You do realise the age of consent varies throughout the world? It's 13 in Spain, for instance. I know it's 18 in some states in the US, which seems ludicrously late to a lot of Europeans, so *maybe* Stallman is talking about have sex with a 16 year old (which is fine), or someone who is under 16 having sex with someone else underage.

about 2 years ago
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Federal Judge Says No Right To Secret Ballot, OKs Barcoded Ballots

Dominic Re:Freedom (584 comments)

Having been to a number of counts, I can assure you that there is very little opportunity for these serial numbers to be linked to voters. There are many, many people around the papers at all stages, from the moment you vote to after the election is decided. Linking the numbers can only be done with an order by an Electoral Court if fraud is suspected. The papers are destroyed 12 months after the election.

Of course, in theory someone *could* get hold of the numbers and counterfoils, but I would argue that the risk of this when voting in person is way, way less than using postal votes. Postal votes are easily the largest source of fraudulent and intercepted votes in the UK.

about 2 years ago
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Online Activities To Be Recorded By UK ISPs

Dominic Re:Riots (312 comments)

Their civil liberties promises were just about as true as their 'no NHS reorganisation' ones.

They lied to get elected, and they lied big - about pretty much everything. They don't care about the deficit at all, they only care about making the UK suit their ideology, i.e. neoliberal free markets with the government morally judging everyone and deciding who is 'worthy'. Same old Tories.

more than 2 years ago
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Online Activities To Be Recorded By UK ISPs

Dominic Re:The only answer (312 comments)

Or you could vote for the Green Party, who would stop all of this nonsense and actually have a chance to implement it.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Government Staff Caught Snooping On Citizen Data

Dominic Re:List of UK data loses (120 comments)

You realise that absolutely everything the Tories said to get elected was a lie, not just that? Same old Tories.

more than 2 years ago
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UK In Danger From Electromagnetic Bomb, Says Defense Secretary

Dominic Re:News! Defence sec. says spend money on defence! (268 comments)

Actually, our Health Secretary (minister) Andrew Lansley is cutting funding and systematically destroying healthcare, so no, not all ministers will argue that their area is the most important.

more than 2 years ago
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When Are You Dead?

Dominic Re:Private healthcare (516 comments)

No, that's not what I'm saying at all. The private companies shouldn't own any of it, just as here in the UK (although that is rapidly changing).

The UK's NHS is consistently shown to be one of, if not 'the', most efficient healthcare system in the world, and yet it's (currently) the one with the lowest level of private sector involvement among the developed nations. There is no evidence at all that private companies make things more efficient - in fact the evidence points the opposite way.

more than 2 years ago
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When Are You Dead?

Dominic Private healthcare (516 comments)

This is one of the many reasons why any private healthcare model is broken. As soon as there are financial incentives for anything the care of patients, both donors and recipients, is secondary.

I give blood and have a donor card. I do this willingly knowing that I am helping society. If my donated blood or organ was the source of profit for some company, would I donate? I don't know, but I can't see why some company should make a profit out of something I donated.

Private healthcare is a scourge. Nobody should be made bankrupt by illness, or even have to worry about it (financially). In the UK our NHS provides whatever you need, regardless of means - it's just a shame that the current government is in the process of destroying it as a reward to private healthcare companies who funded them at the last election.

more than 2 years ago
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The Pirate Bay On Track To Be Banned In the UK?

Dominic Re:Like a ratchet (309 comments)

UK taxes are by no stretch of the imagination 'excessive'. The poorest pay far more than the rich as a percentage of their income. We have a massively regressive tax regime, but then that's what you get when you have a government of millionaires and a public who are easily fooled into blaming the poor for everything.

more than 2 years ago
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The Pirate Bay On Track To Be Banned In the UK?

Dominic Re:Like a ratchet (309 comments)

If there isn't a candidate that represents you, stand yourself. What's stopping you? There is never a good excuse not to use your vote - if you don't vote nothing will change.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Green Lights HS2 High Speed Rail Line

Dominic Re:A good start, but... (329 comments)

...except that is exactly what they're not doing when the companies go bust, even when they are much more efficient when (briefly) run by the state.

The last government didn't do this either, despite a motion suggesting exactly this being passed by 2:1 at the 2004 Labour conference.

more than 2 years ago
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UK Green Lights HS2 High Speed Rail Line

Dominic Re:A good start, but... (329 comments)

Unlikely, seeing as the three largest parties don't support renationalisation of the trains.

more than 2 years ago
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Apple's Siri As Revolutionary As the Mac?

Dominic Re:Wildfire did that. (692 comments)

I used Wildfire until Orange discontinued it. It was excellent - a much more usable way to deal with voicemail. It really seemed like the future. Orange used to be pretty bleeding-edge until they were bought by France Telecom.

I paid something like five quid to activate it, but after that it didn't cost any more money, and I was on a very cheap contract for the time (Everday 50).

Wildfire and my StarTAC. It felt like being in Star Trek.

more than 2 years ago

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