Government and Doctors; Just another brick in the wall

There is something inevitable in the march of government to control every element of our lives.  Those who know me, know I am hardly an anarchist.  Yet I feel great distress when I see Parliament, the beating heart of our liberal democracy, “cracking down” as I see it written in the papers, on freedom.  Today it was reported in The Times that doctors, those evil ne’er do wells who scrounge on society to gain knowledge and experience so that, despicably, they might cure the sick and save lives, and thereby, cynically destroy the pensions of those who would have survived anyway, will be forced to enter into contractual obligations to work in the NHS for some time after qualifying.  This used to be called servitude, I fear.

Let us completely forget that these same people, whose typical earnings working for the NHS might double those of a London tube driver as they reach the top of their profession, are the highest performing academics in the land, who must give up at least seven years of their lives to impoverished study to reach their heady status.  Let us also forget that these folk may indeed have just a little more value to society than, well most politicians, lawyers and accountants.  Let us cast from our minds that doctors use their knowledge to heal us and our children. Oh… And let us also ignore the fact that the NHS is a monopoly employer, the only choice in the UK for a Junior Doctor to work, even now.  In doing this, we wage a righteous war on those who have the effrontery to consider that hard work, intelligence and achievement, along with helping society and humanity should ever be rewarded.  But what has this got to do with business?
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Libor Liberty

Today it was reported that a banker has gone to jail for fourteen years for fixing LIBOR. I cannot help but feel that somehow, something does not sit right here. Can a single individual truly fix the inter-bank lending rate? If so, should we blame him when he does so, or should we blame the system? Is it only me that sees this as having something of the scapegoat about it?

Banking is all about buying and selling money, and taking margins between the two. So, a banker will always do his best to get the best margin he can in any financial transaction; that is his job. Now it does seem that Mr Hayes may have gone out of his way to manipulate the system in a manner that is unacceptable, but he could not have done so single handed. Nor could he have done so if the system he was manipulating were sufficiently robust to prevent manipulation.
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Legislation, legislation, legislation

In case you have ever worried that Parliament does not do very much, take a look at the volume of legislation that afflicts us these days.  If you wonder why your best friend requires a copy of your passport before he will sit and drink a glass of wine with you, or why your partner will not let you eat your dinner until you have identified yourself with your postcode, the first line of your address and your date of birth, look to legislation.  Legislation was once the reluctant last choice for dealing with any issue, now the phrase “there ought to be a law against…” has been taken to heart by our leaders.

I remember reading that someone had worked out that in the ten years from 1997 to 2007, there were more new laws introduced by Parliament than had been introduced in the entire century from 1897 to 1997.  Perhaps that does depend on what you mean by a “new law”, but the point is quite clear.  In 1997, my books of tax legislation took up less than half the shelf space than they do today.

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