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Crying Over Flowers and the Capitalist Anarchist

March 26th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Five years or so ago I found myself stuck for ideas for a birthday present for my father. Being a gentle and sensitive kind of man, and knowing that all men possess these traits however little they may show them, I decided to buy him flowers. When I gave him these his reaction shocked me. He was brought to tears, something he rarely allows. “Nobody ever gave me flowers before”, he said, obviously deeply touched by the gift.

I had not thought about that for a long time but this morning it all came back to me. The doorbell rang at nine o’clock and a voice on the end of the intercom announced “flower delivery”. I buzzed the driver in and waited at the front door, a few possibilities running through my mind. Who would buy me flowers? It could have been my grandmother – not a gesture she would normally make but within the realms of possibility. It could be my “lover” kept from me by the Atlantic ocean which surprisingly has not evaporated yet at the heat of our mutual obsession.

The thoughts kept me entertained until the driver arrived and asked me to sign before handing over a box from Marks and Spencer. Inside was a delightful potted arrangement of yellow roses, ivy and something else with yellow flowers I cannot identify. The tears started flowing as soon as I saw them, “nobody ever gave me flowers before”, I said to myself.

Inside the card was a brief message “Happy Easter from the Clerks fund”. I may not have admitted this before on this site but before discovering I was an anarchist Buddhist I spent some earlier years working as a stockbroker and investment banker. The recent hard times I have been struggling with have been made somewhat easier by the intervention of the Stock Exchange Clerks Fund who have been more than generous in supporting me with some practical issues such as buying the inversion table I use to help stabilise my back and a bed to replace the second hand futon I used to employ nightly in destabilising it.

So now I am completely thrown into confusion. As if it wasn’t strange enough being an anarchist supported by the Stock Exchange Clerks Fund, now they have wished a Buddhist happy Easter with flowers and made him cry. It’s been a tough week.

In another series of unexpected moments I have recently found myself in deep disagreement with communism and socialism through my experiences with the National Health Service. I have met many NHS doctors and consultants over the past couple of years and more than anyone would want to meet in a lifetime. Most of these consultations have been characterised by a lack of belief on their part that my problems are real. I am never sure if this is because of the denial of Child Sexual Abuse that is so normal in our society, the fact that the problems I have do not appear in textbooks or professional arrogance masking their fear of the unknown.

Whatever the reasons I have discovered that the NHS does not work. It is not lack of money at the heart of this problem it is lack of personal responsibility. The consultants are over-powered and over-paid. They have sycophantic wannabee doctors trailing on their coat tails licking up the trail of crap they leave in their wake. The nurses are under-powered and under-paid. The cleaners are too few and far between. The managers job is to jump through hoops created by central government which would be great except the hoops don’t help healthcare happen. Because outcomes do not reflect in resource availability nothing works at its best.

Because of the terrible state of this gigantic and unwieldy system I have found myself changing political spots on the issue to a greater extent than I would ever have thought possible. The only way to solve the problems of the NHS is to scrap it and move to a fully market system. If users paid at the point of use for all health services with a government insurance for those who could not pay the service would be much different. Bad doctors would not get or keep patients, badly run hospitals would fail. Responsibility for provision of services would lay fully with the owners and for their use with the paying patient. They do this in most other European Nations and most other European Nations have a higher standard of healthcare than Britain.

So the anarchist becomes a capitalist, once again, and it is his experience of one of the worlds “great” state monoliths that convinces him. And he gets his first ever flowers – from the Stock Exchange. Don’t you just love this weird world and all it’s weird glory?

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