COMMENT: Westwell of Ely by Rosemary Westwell

Pope Francis

Pope Francis - Credit: Archant

You can’t be commercial and caring at the same time – or can you? On the 1st of April, you know, April Fool’s Day, East Cambridgeshire District Council has given itself permission, as far as I can see, to begin its own business.

When words such as ‘commercial’ and ‘profit’ come into the public service equation, alarm bells ring for me. So many times we have seen public services given over to commercial enterprises to see the bosses and shareholders of the businesses flourishing while the ‘customers’ who are supposed to be getting the services miss out – the trains and the care system are examples of this.

In the past, many NHS care homes were closed and contracts were given to private companies. Sure enough, the patients came last in their concerns.

On one occasion a carer was informed that the ward where the loved resided was to be closed. When the bosses were challenged that they were only doing this for themselves and their profit and not for the patients who would suffer from being shunted ‘somewhere else’, they denied this, only to say they were not being paid enough money – what’s the difference?

Some of the wording on the website of East Cambridgeshire District Council that announced this venture is worrying.

I mean, what does this say to you?; ‘The Company will make sure that each pound coin is not only well spent, but, where that pound coin can bring benefits, those are secured.”

To me, it seems like they are saying that if they have any money they will see that it is well spent and when they can afford it, if they ever can, after they’ve paid out a lot of our tax money on their behalf to ‘experts’ for advice and services, only then will we ordinary citizens and the services we need be considered.

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It sounds as if they are saying: ‘Tough if you want somewhere to live, you can’t have it because we can’t afford it.’

Also it appears that the chairman of this company, Dr Remington, has much experience on working on large financial projects worldwide, but it is hard to find out if he has had any experience of starting his own business from scratch and making a go of it – ie it begs the question what down to earth business sense has he?

He is reported to say that the council’s company ‘will … help to create a more confident, competent, commercially astute internal staff, … which will add to the overall effectiveness and capabilities of the Council in fulfilling their roles.’

I should hope that to ‘employ’ people to work for a company, they at least know what they are doing BEFORE they are employed, not learn what they need to know on the job!

Let’s hope there’ll be someone OUTSIDE this nepotistic council to check regularly that it is doing the right thing by the people it is supposed to serve.

Department of what?

Even the Department of ‘health’ seems to have a problem with equating care with costs. Even though 815,000 people have signed a petition to have ALL children under 11 given the meningitis B vaccination, the department, that we assume takes responsibility for our ‘health’, is refusing to do this because it would cost too much.

If I didn’t know better, I could suspect it of seeing that its sole purpose is to make the books balance rather than prevent the death of a number of our children.

The department is overlooking the cost of caring for sufferers who may survive. Has it considered the cost of caring for children who are brain damaged and have to lose limbs?

Has it not considered the costs of caring for these children? – Or is another department responsible for this, so it is ‘not their concern’?

Three cheers for the Pope

Irrespective of any religious persuasion I may have, I give three cheers for the Pope. He has had the courage to turn down ‘good’ money because he knows it must have been acquired by dubious, immoral means.

He told the wealthy prospective benefactors to take their cheques home and burn them. Wonderful! There should be more of this stance – there are more important things to humanity than money, especially ‘dirty money’.

At least we care for our dogs

It appears that our dogs are being well looked after at least. Apparently now vets offer to alleviate dogs’ toothache by giving them braces when they need them. Whatever next?