Command and Control Politics

images (163)This morning on BBC Radio4 Today Jeremy Hunt spoke in calm but bold terms about the changes that a Conservative Government would bring about in the NHS. He entirely ignored the point about previous broken promises and refused to be drawn on how much the changes will cost, but never mind! My friend Lisa Rodrigues had been on the programme earlier speaking about how the media needed to speak more responsibly about mental health. I met and got to know Lisa in her role as CEO of the Sussex Mental Health Trust. The work of the Trust that Lisa used to lead and the broader health infrastructure that Jeremy Hunt spoke about do not exist in isolation and depend for their effectiveness on the voluntary sector agencies which operate in the background. This was brought into focus by a tweet this morning from one of Lisa’s friends, GP Clare Gerada. She tweeted “Sadly , last week, I referred more patients to the food bank than I did to AE. ‘something profoundly wrong with the way we live today'” As we approach this General Election we could be seduced by the promises and assertions made by the Politicians who we like, clearly we will be repulsed by the rest of them! However our society is not built on a set of command and control relationships and the interdependencies which hold the ‘State’ and ‘Society’ together and ensure that there are foodbanks for people like Clare to refer to, or youth agencies that Lisa used to commission to deliver services are generally resilient but also easily capable of being destroyed. My experience of the last two Governments is that that despite the fine words on certain occasions, their grasp of the voluntary sector and what is needed to encourage society to open up its hands to create charitable endeavour is painfully inadequate. Sadly they all too often recruit advisers that are better at talking a good game than they are at delivering anything on the ground. As we anticipate a new Government let us hope it is one that can understand that health and all other issues will only be improved through a holistic approach.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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